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Witherspoon and Phillippe split

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon and "Flags of Our Fathers" star Ryan Phillippe are separating after more than seven years of marriage, their representatives said Monday. Witherspoon, whose marriage reportedly had been on the rocks for some time, is the latest best-actress Academy Award winner to suffer marital woes. In January, two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank split from husband Chad Lowe. "We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate," their publicists said in a joint statement. "They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time."

Witherspoon, 30, and Phillippe, 32, reportedly met at her 21st birthday party before working together on the 1999 film "Cruel Intentions." They married in June of that year and have two children, 7-year-old daughter Ava and 3-year-old son Deacon. The publicists gave no more details about the split but the celebrity Web site TMZ.com, which broke the story, reported that Witherspoon has contacted the divorce lawyer who represented Jennifer Aniston, Roseanne Barr and Lisa Marie Presley. TMZ quoted one unidentified source as saying the breakup was not triggered by any single event but rather by "cumulative" circumstances.

In the past 10 years, six of the nine Academy Award winners for best actress ended up splitting from the husbands or boyfriends they thanked on Oscar night: Witherspoon, Swank, Halle Berry, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt. (The exceptions are Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Nicole Kidman, who was unattached when she won.)

Witherspoon established herself as a major box-office draw as star of the 2001 comedy "Legally Blonde" and scored a follow-up hit with "Sweet Home Alabama." She went on to win a best-actress Oscar earlier this year for her role as Johnny Cash's country-singing sweetheart June Carter in "Walk the Line." Phillippe is currently starring in Clint Eastwood's latest film "Flags of Our Fathers" as Navy Corpsman John "Doc" Bradley, one of the U.S. servicemen who raised the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi during World War Two. ("Flags" review)

Newly disclosed court documents show Witherspoon recently settled a lawsuit she brought in June accusing Star magazine of falsely reporting that she was pregnant with her third child. The court papers did not reveal terms of the settlement. "The true facts are that plaintiff (Witherspoon) is not pregnant, does not have a baby bump and has not otherwise gained weight such that she has had to resort to wearing empire waist dresses," the lawsuit said.

Tag: Reese Witherspoon Ryan Phillippe star split

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