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Reports: Former Chancellor Schröder splits from fourth wife

German media have reported that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has separated from his fourth wife. The former Social Democrat politician led Germany from 1998 until 2005.

A number of German media outlets, including the mass-circulation Bild daily and the Hannoversche Allgemeine newspaper reported on Friday that former Chancellor Schröder had parted company with his wife of more than 17 years, Doris Schröder-Köpf.

According to the reports,

Schröder, 70, who was previously also the premier of the state of Lower Saxony,

was already looking for a flat in the state capital, Hanover.

Schröder-Köpf, 51, is the former chancellor's fourth wife, with whom he has two children, aged 10 and 14, both of whom they adopted from Russian orphanages.

Observers said the break-up did not come as a complete surprise, as the couple had often turned up alone to social functions in the past.

'Private issues'

There was no immediate confirmation of the break-up from either the former chancellor or his wife. Contacted by the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, Schröder's office in Berlin declined to comment on the reports, or the cause of the split, saying these were "private issues."

However, the paper cited other media reports, which indicated that Schröder had in the past complained that his wife's career was taking up too much of her time, forcing him to take on a bigger role in running the household and looking after their two children.

Schröder-Köpf launched her own political career in 2013, winning election as a Social Democratic member of the Lower Saxony state assembly. Schröder married Schröder-Köpf in 1997, after leaving his third wife for her.

Since being voted out of office in 2005, Schröder has returned to practicing law, as well working in private industry,

among other things serving as the chairman of Nord Stream pipeline consortium.

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