Is it over for Madonna and Guy Ritchie? British papers report that the singer has consulted with a divorce lawyer.
According to the U.K.’s The Times and the Daily Mirror, Madonna is talking to Fiona Shackleton, who represented Paul McCartney in his contentious divorce from Heather Mills. Shackleton was also Prince Charles’s lawyer in his divorce from Princess Diana.
A representative from Shackleton’s firm would not confirm that Madonna had visited the high-profile divorce lawyer.
Madonna’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg, says she has “no comment at this time.”
A source close to Madonna, 49, says “there’s been no [divorce] filing yet.”
But there have been signs of trouble. The couple have rarely been seen together publicly this year, and Ritchie, 39, was not in attendance when Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.
When rumors of a split surfaced at the time, Rosenberg said in a statement: “I am delighted to confirm that Mr. and Mrs. Guy Ritchie remain happily married … All is well and wonderful in the Ritchie household.”
The couple met in 1998, married in December 2000 and have two sons – Rocco, 7, and David, 2, whom they adopted together last year. Madonna has a daughter, Lourdes, with ex-boyfriend Carlos Leon.
The Times also reports that Ritchie consulted with his own matrimonial lawyer at the firm Forsters. A spokesperson for the firm would not confirm or deny the meeting, saying only: “We are not instructed in this matter.”
Ritchie has been in Europe, while Madonna is currently based in New York. “Madonna is in rehearsals for her upcoming tour, which kicks off Aug 23 in Wales,” says the source close to her. “She has been rehearsing in a New York studio for weeks.
The Daily Mail quotes a source close to Ritchie as saying, “Guy’s totally relieved to be away from Madonna right now … as far as he’s concerned, they need space and time apart.”
• Reported by K.C. BAKER and SIMON PERRY