Fern Britton and Phil Vickery announced they were splitting up after 20 years of marriage, sending shockwaves across the showbiz world.
Fern shared the sad news on Twitter last night and said: “After more than 20 happy years together, Phil and I have decided to go our separate ways.
“We will always share a great friendship and our lovely children. We would appreciate it if our privacy is respected at this time. Thank you for your continued kindness and support.”
Phil shared a very similar message about the split on his own Twitter account.
He wrote: “After more than 20 years together Fern and I have decided to go our separate ways. We will always share a great friendship and our lovely children. We would appreciate it if our privacy is respected at this time. Thank you for you kindness and support.”
The couple appeared to have a marriage envied by many but over the two decades they have been together author Ferne has openly spoken about their relationship, reports Mirror Online.
In light of the split, some of her past comments could highlight some of the issues that have torn them apart such as family friction, lack of lust and busy schedules.
Fern was previously married to Clive Jones and shares three children with him, as well as sharing a daughter with Phil.
And last year she spoke about the problems she has trying to keep both fathers happy.
Speaking to Prima Magazine she said: “It’s very difficult as the mum when you’re trying to keep two dads happy. From one side you get, ‘What do you mean they’ve gone off in the car?’ and the other one’s going, ‘What do you mean she had a party while I was away for the night?’.
“It’s difficult. But then I remind myself that both dads are very good and the kids are lucky to have two of them.”
Clashing work schedules
Fern and Phil celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last year but in the run-up spent very little time together.
Fern shared that it was because of their busy working schedules but did emphasise that they had a “solid bond” and were “best friends.”
Speaking to Good Housekeeping she said: “We haven’t seen much of each other in the past year, as I have been on tour with Calendar Girls and he has been filming, but our solid base is absolutely there.”
“He is an incredible man and he does make me laugh a lot. He has always been my best friend and he always says I’m his best friend, too, which is amazing.”
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Kids leaving the nest
Fern also said that since her kids have grown up she has found a new lease of life.
She said: “I talk to a lot of my friends who are in their 50s and early 60s, and we’re all feeling the same. The children are getting sorted and we can stop being quite so responsible as adults.
“We have to be responsible to an extent, but we can go back to who we were at the beginning, before we did all the responsible things we needed to do. It’s re-powering. We’re re-powering.”
Lack of time together
Only in 2018, Fern explained that the couple like to have “freedom” from one another and that sometimes Phil would tell her he will be out for half and hour when in fact he does not return for days.
During a candid chat with The Mirror, she said: “We have let each other have our freedom,He’s a man who has always got to meet a man about a dog.
“He says, ‘I will be half an hour’. That might be a couple of days. We don’t crowd each other and we are happy with that.”
Lack of lust
During the same interview, the bubbly personality also suggested that their bedroom antics were not that fiery as she revealed that having a hot drink in bed is better than being intimate.
The Seaside Affair novelist added: “Sex is great but a cup of tea is great, too. There’s nothing nicer than getting into bed with a cuppa and having a hug and a chat – that’s love.
“Lust is great, but when you really love someone and you trust each other, and you’re in bed together drinking tea and chatting, that is a true relationship.”
Presenter Fern and This Morning chef Phil married in 2000.
They first met on the set of BBC Two’s Ready Steady Cook and started dating.
They tied the knot after her divorce to TV executive Clive Jones was finalised.
They went on to have a daughter, Winnie, who is now 17.
Fern is also mum to twins Jack and Harry and daughter Grace, from her previous marriage to Clive, from 1988 to 2000.