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January 23, 2015 08:15 PM

Patrick Dempsey’s divorce after 15 years: Was it a surprise or a long time coming? Subscribe now for instant access inside this Hollywood split, only in PEOPLE.

Patrick Dempsey and his wife, Jillian, are divorcing after 15 years of marriage.

“It is with careful consideration and mutual respect that we have decided to end our marriage,” the couple tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. “Our primary concern remains the wellbeing of our children, and we ask with profound gratitude that you respect our family’s privacy at this very sensitive time.”

Dempsey and his wife, a makeup artist, have three children: Talula, 12, and twin sons Sullivan and Darby, 8 next month.

The Grey’s Anatomy star, 49, was in Daytona Beach, Florida, for a 24-hour racing event when his wife filed for divorce. “She was the one to encourage me to go and drive,” Dempsey told PEOPLE in 2007.

“Her influence was profound. Jill just gets me to believe in my dreams – and act upon them,” he said at the time.

Radar Online was the first to break the news of the couple’s divorce.

Reporting by JULIE JORDAN

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