[LOS ANGELES] Romance novelist Nicholas Sparks, whose bestsellers about ever-lasting love have been spun into a series of popular Hollywood films, is breaking up with his wife of 25 years.
"Cathy and I have separated," Sparks, who turned 49 on New Year's Eve, said in a statement released Tuesday through his Los Angeles publicist.
"This is, of course, not a decision we've made lightly. We remain close friends with deep respect for each other and love for our children," he added.
"For our children's sake, we regard this as a private matter." The couple married in 1989, seven years before Sparks found literary fame with his debut novel "The Notebook," which went on to become a 2004 movie starring Ryan Gosling and Gena Rowlands.
Other novels by Sparks that reached the silver screen include "Message in a Bottle" starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright, and "Dear John" with Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.
Sparks, who lives and works in North Carolina, has identified his wife, born Cathy Cote, as a source of inspiration.
"Every morning when I wake up and see my wife - that is the kind of love that I write about in the novels," he told the New York Daily News in 2013.
The couple has three sons and two daughters.