The controversial couple, who wed when she was 16, have separated after less than three years of marriage

Credit: Tibrina Hobson/Filmmagic

Doug Hutchison and his teen bride, Courtney Stodden, have split after two and a half years of marriage.

The couple caused controversy when they wed in 2011, because aspiring country singer Stodden was just 16 – 35 years younger than her husband.

“Courtney and Doug have announced they will become legally separate,” her rep tells PEOPLE. “They live in separate bedrooms in the same home for now.”

Stodden – who recently appeared on Big Brother in the U.K. and reportedly flirted with a fellow contestant on the reality show – was seen walking the couple’s dog with former Lost star Hutchison in L.A. on Monday, but neither of them were wearing their wedding rings.

“As you know Courtney was married at a young age. Now, at 19, she’s interested in exploring life as an unmarried single young adult – with the freedom to explore her independence,” her rep explained to the Daily Mail.

The rep added that Hutchison supports Courtney 100 percent and will be co-managing her career, while they will be sharing custody of their dog, Dourtney.

“We love each other very much, want for each other’s happiness, and will continue being the best of friends for life,” the pair said.

Reporting by MONICA RIZZO