Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner's Marriage Was in Trouble Before Third Sexting Scandal, Source Says

Abedin has also been seen in public recently without her wedding band

Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Huma Abedin’s marriage to Anthony Weiner was showing signs of trouble for months before she announced they were separating in the wake of a third sexting scandal on Monday, sources tell PEOPLE.

Abedin had stopped wearing her wedding and engagement rings – even as the couple continued to share a Manhattan apartment while raising 4-year-old son Jordan, a close friend tells PEOPLE.

Another source says that in recent months, Abedin began offhandedly referring to Weiner in casual conversations with colleagues as “Jordan’s dad” or “Jordan’s father” rather than as “Anthony,” as she always had when mentioning her husband.

“A separation has been brewing for sometime,” the close friend says.

Politico quotes a source as saying that the Abedin and Weiner have already been “essentially separated” for about a year.

Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton‘s closest aides, issued a statement announcing her split from Weiner just hours after the New York Post published a report Sunday night alleging that her husband of six years had sexted a new woman, a divorced Trump supporter in her 40s.

The exchanges allegedly included a suggestive pic of Weiner in his bulging boxer shorts next to his son Jordan.

In a statement to the Post, Weiner denied any wrongdoing, saying that he had been friends with the woman in question “for some time”: “She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate.”

This is the third time Weiner has been embroiled in a sexting scandal. The first, in 2011, cost him his U.S. House seat when he was forced to resign over his initial lies that his Twitter account had been hacked. The second, in 2013, cost him front-runner status in the New York City mayoral race.

Following the second scandal, during which Abedin appeared in public alongside her embattled husband and publicly forgave him, a friend explained to PEOPLE why she stuck with Weiner.

“It would have been perfectly logical if she said, ‘I’m out of here.’ Any woman could have understood that,” Abedin’s friend, businesswoman Rory Tahari, said at the time. “Huma has a very strong moral character, and she made a commitment for better or worse. She never wanted Jordan to say to her, ‘Why didn’t you do everything you could to help Dad?’ ”

However, there were still signs that Weiner might not have been fully chastened into changing his ways. In late 2014, amid reports that he was planning to open a restaurant, the former congressman emailed a female PEOPLE reporter out of the blue with this suggestive one-liner: “What’s cookin?”

Abedin and her son are currently in the Hamptons with the Clintons, in the middle of three days of pre-planned fundraising there.

Politico’s source described the timing of Abedin’s escape from New York City as fortuitous – not linked to Monday’s headlines. “She wasn’t fleeing the media. But it worked out for the best, being surrounded by her family and her friends,” the source told Politico. “It’s a difficult day but she’ll get through it.”

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