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Ex-Beatle McCartney blames media for marriage split

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his second wife Heather Mills are to separate after four years of marriage, the couple confirmed in a statement today, blaming media intrusion into their private life.

McCartney, 63, and former model Mills, 38, who married in a lavish wedding ceremony in Ireland in June 2002, said the constant attention had made ''it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship''.

''Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways,'' the statement said.

''Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much.'' The couple, who have a two-year-old baby girl called Beatrice, met in 1999 at a charity event, a year after the death of McCartney's first wife, photographer Linda Eastman, from breast cancer.

''We hope, for the sake of our baby daughter, that we will be given some space and time to get through this difficult period,'' the statement added.

The announcement follows weeks of speculation in British newspapers about the state of the couple's relationship.

The Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday that the split had come about because the singer could no longer cope with the couple's bitter rows.

''He and Heather were getting on so badly it became impossible for them to sleep under the same roof,'' the paper quoted an unnamed friend of the musician as saying.

McCartney's first marriage, which lasted 29 years, was said to be one of the happiest in showbusiness and they rarely spent a night apart. He was heartbroken by her death.

His friendship with Mills, who was born the year before Paul and Linda's wedding, blossomed after he said she had helped him to recover from the pain of losing his first wife.

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