“It was unraveling throughout the last year,” says a source close to both camps. “They were living separate lives and coming together every now and then for the cameras.”
Adds a Madonna pal: “There had been problems for a while.”
According to sources, trouble spots were Madonna’s friendship with New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez, Ritchie’s feelings about Kabbalah, and the couple’s differing views on fame and adoption. “It wasn’t just one thing,” explains the source. “They just lost their connection.”
Though Madonna, 50, released a statement over the summer denying a romance with Rodriguez, the singer’s pal says their relationship did contribute to the trouble.
“He was a factor in a long list of problems that they had been having over the past year or two,” says her friend. “But it wasn’t the reason. If she wanted to move past that she would have, and Guy would have too.”
The couple certainly differed on their devotion to Kabbalah: “Guy was never into the Kabbalah thing, but Madonna knew that,” says the source. Over the years (and as recently as this summer) Ritchie, 40, often attended services with his wife and kids, but in an August interview with the magazine supplement of the U.K.’s Observer, the director said he wouldn’t describe himself as a follower of the mystical Jewish teachings.
“I like to think I’m an objective guy,” said Ritchie. “I have sympathies with many philosophies, and I think it’d be a mistake to be a follower of anything, really.”
Ritchie also didn’t always want to be a part of Madonna’s high-profile world. “She would try to get him to come to things, and he resisted,” says the source. “She was more about being a celebrity and he was more low key. He wanted to live in London and live a normal life but that’s impossible when you’re married to Madonna.”
Madonna’s pal agrees. “She was always first when it came to her husband or herself, and that really took a toll on Guy. There was only so much he could put up with.”
As devoted as they both are to children Lourdes, 12, Rocco, 8, and David, 3, according to the source, Madonna’s decision to adopt David from Malawi was met by some resistance from her husband.
“From what I understand Guy really didn’t want to adopt David,” says the source. “He felt like they should focus on their marriage because they were having problems then, too. But Madonna insisted. And what Madonna wants, Madonna gets.”
Because of the long history of problems, the source says both sides have come to terms with the split: “They’ve both cried and dried their eyes. They’re over it. They’ve had time to come to grips.”
• Reporting by JENNIFER GARCIA