Despite "remaining the greatest of friends we have decided to spend some time apart," they say

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 24, 2005 01:00 PM

Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson and her longtime partner Arpad Busson, “have decided to spend some time apart to consider our future,” the couple announced Friday.

Macpherson, 41, and the 42-year-old Swiss financier – who are the parents of two sons, 7-year-old son, Flynn, and, 2-year-old Aurelius Cy Andrea – said no third party was involved in their separation and insisted that they remain “the greatest of friends.”

“We have had, and in many ways continue to have, a wonderful relationship, which has produced two beautiful children,” they said in a statement.

As PEOPLE has reported, the Sydney, Australia-raised beauty began dating Busson, known as “Arki,” in 1996 and they shared a lavish four-story Georgian house in a leafy London suburb.

Born Eleanor Gow, Macpherson – known as “The Body” – was married previously to photographer Gilles Bensimon, who was 20 years her elder. Macpherson was a bride at age 20, and divorced three years later.