Their marriage "was unraveling throughout the last year," a source tells PEOPLE

By People Staff
Updated October 22, 2008 04:00 PM

Behind Madonna’s steely exterior is a woman who is suffering over the end of her nearly 8-year marriage to Guy Ritchie, PEOPLE reports in its latest cover story, on sale Friday.

“She’s cried plenty over this,” says a source close to the singer, who has been living in New York with children Lourdes, 12, Rocco, 8, and David, 3, while she embarks on her North American tour. “Her kids keep her strong.”

As for Ritchie, who was photographed in costume on his Sherlock Holmes movie set the day of the Oct. 15 divorce announcement, a London pal says he is “doing okay. He is throwing himself into his filmmaking.”

Sources disagree over whether it was Madonna or Ritchie who decided to announce the split, but many close to the couple say it was a long time coming. Says a source close to both camps, “It was unraveling throughout the last year.”

For the complete story – including the name-calling, the last outing together and the A-Rod factor – pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday