Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie are to divorce, it was reported today.
The Sun newspaper said that the couple will announce the split imminently.
Film director Ritchie (40) and Madonna married seven years ago at a lavish ceremony in Scotland.
But rumours have been circulating within the Press that their relationship was increasingly under strain.
The Sun reported that a recent escalation in rows has led to Madonna and Ritchie communicating via their personal assistants.
The paper reported that Madonna had wanted to wait until the end of her Sticky and Sweet global tour before announcing the split.
But the date has now been brought forward with both parties wanting a divorce finalised before Christmas, the paper claimed.
Ritchie has broken off from filming in France to fly back to the UK to inform his parents of the split, it added.
He will now move out of the couple’s London home and move into the Wiltshire mansion owned by the pair.
A source told the Sun: “Despite huge attempts to patch things up they both know deep down that divorce was on the cards. It wasn’t a matter of ’if’ but ’when’.
“They tried hard over the last few months but their fighting was getting out of control.
“The final straw came before Madonna started her US tour. They had a screaming match and Guy told her she had become a dead weight around his neck, dragging him down all the time.”
Just weeks ago, the couple had made a very public show of affection in what was seen as a move to end speculation surrounding their marriage.
Madonna walked down the red carpet with Ritchie at the world premiere of his latest film in London’s Leicester Square.
Madonna had made a surprise appearance at the event after the stars of Ritchie’s film RocknRolla met with fans and the Press.
Wearing a short black Stella McCartney dress with jewels down the front, the singer walked had walked arm-in-arm with Ritchie and posed for photographs.
Prior to the Leicester Square appearance, Ritchie had stamped on suggestions that his marriage was over with a public show of support at his superstar wife’s 50th birthday party.