October 23, 2000 12:00 PM

During his sold-out concert in Atlantic City Oct. 8, Paul Anka performed all the old love songs from the ’50s that made him a teen idol. But on this night, the plaintive “Lonely Boy” seemed the most appropriate for the 59-year-old Canadian-born singer—no longer wearing his wedding band—in light of wife Anne’s decision a week earlier to file for a legal separation after 37 years of marriage.

The action by the former model surprised many. After all, Anne, 58, was the subject of his 1974 hit “Having My Baby” (written when she was pregnant with their daughter Alexandra, 33. Their other children, Amanda, Alicia, Anthea and Amelia, range in age from 31 to 23). “They have shown nothing but love and respect for each other,” says song-writer-producer Walter Afanasieff, who has worked with Anka for five years. But another friend says Anne “finally got fed up” and ordered him out of their Beverly Hills home months ago. Anka’s publicist Paul Bloch insists the pair are still living under the same roof (they also have a home in Las Vegas), and Anka himself notes that divorce talk is premature. “We’re all going to be together on Thanksgiving,” he says. “They remain,” Bloch says, “the best of friends.”

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