December 08, 2003 12:00 PM

With their baby due in less than two months, The West Wing‘s Mary-Louise Parker and her boyfriend of eight years, Big Fish star Billy Crudup, should be putting the finishing touches on the nursery. Instead, the parents-to-be are in the awkward position of awaiting their first child’s arrival as exes. Reps for both actors confirm the split. “This has been rough for Mary-Louise,” says a source close to Parker, who appears in the new HBO film Angels in America. “To get pregnant together, and both wanting it, and now for this to happen—it’s been very difficult.”

Crudup’s spokesman Simon Halls says that the couple, who met in 1996 as costars in the Broadway drama Bus Stop, quietly ended their relationship several months ago. As for a New York Post report that Crudup, 35, left Parker, 39, to be with actress Claire Danes, their reps refute the claim. “Claire has been friends with Billy for 10 years,” says her spokeswoman Ina Treciokas, adding that Danes, 24, is still dating her longtime boyfriend, Aussie rocker Ben Lee.

What’s certain is that the ex-couple must now prepare for parenthood—separately. Halls says they are committed to remaining friends: “They have a baby to bring up together.”

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