Russia's President Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila say they have divorced, ending years of speculation. They jointly announced their seperation on state television after a ballet show at the Kremlin.
Russia's had of state and his wife, Lyudmila Putin, confirmed on Thursday that they had divorced. Vladimir Putin told Rossia-24 television that they practically never see each other.
Lyudmila, who has been rarely seen in public in recent years, said their two children had grown up and her ex-husband was "drowned in work." Their daughters, Maria and Yekaterina, have also remained shielded from public view.
It was really our joint decision, Lyudmila said. "I really do not like publicity. Flights are difficult for me and we practically do not see each other."
"We have very good relations," she added. "And, the children, he really cares for them. And the children feel this."
Neither gave any details about their current private situations.
Joint appearances rare
The couple's last public appearance dates back to May 2012 when Putin was inaugurated for a third presidential term in office.
In 2010 Lyudmila prompted speculation by appearing on television not wearing a wedding ring. The president in recent years has made foreign visits alone.
The pair married in 1983, when Vladimir Putin was working as a KGB intelligence agent. The-then Lyudmila Shkrebneva was a flight stewardess. They met in Putin's home city of Leningrad, now Saint Petersburg.
Putin was posted as a spy to the city of Dresden in the-then communist East Germany in 1985.
Divorce is common in Russia. Nearly 700,000 pairs dissolved their marriages in 2009, according the UN childrens' organization, UNICEF.
ipj/pfd (dpa, AFP, AP)