July 21, 2003 12:00 PM

As the Golden Gate City’s golden mates, Sharon Stone and Phil Bronstein were fixtures on San Francisco’s social scene. But whispers began to fly about their marriage in recent months as Bronstein, the executive editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, started making solo appearances around town. Stone, meanwhile, seemed content to be off in Europe shooting the drama A Different Loyalty. Filming in Malta in June, the star treated herself to frequent in-room massages and fresh-fruit deliveries at the luxe Xara Palace Hotel. Says a source: “She wanted to be able to do her own thing and relax.”

Now Stone will be doing her own thing, minus Bronstein, for good. The couple, who wed on Valentine’s Day in 1998 and have an adopted son, 3-year-old Roan, announced an “amicable” split on July 3. The news came on the heels of a recent Good Housekeeping interview in which Stone declared, “Sure, Phil can get testy,” but “he is just so full of the bigness of life.” For a while the macho Bronstein, 52, who had been married twice before, seemed like a perfect match for the acerbic Stone, 45, whose first marriage to TV producer Michael Greenburg ended in 1987. The pair stuck by each other through Bronstein’s 1999 heart angioplasty, the bizarre ’01 Komodo-dragon encounter (see box) and Stone’s near-death brain hemorrhage later that year. But they often were apart, with Bronstein in the newsroom—”He’s a workhorse,” says a former colleague—and Stone on location or in Los Angeles, where she owns a home and was recently spotted nearby having a drink with actress Rosanna Arquette and briefly chatting with pal Adrien Brody.

Divorce papers filed by Bronstein suggest that he may plan to challenge an existing prenuptial agreement, which reportedly grants him a $1 million settlement (Stone’s fortune when the pair wed was a reported $11 million). Bronstein also has filed for joint custody of Roan. “They will attempt,” says Bronstein’s lawyer Nordin Blacker, “to work it out.”

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