Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber hinted at trouble in their relationship over recent months

By Stephanie Petit
Updated September 27, 2016 02:30 PM
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Credit: Alessandra Benedetti/Corbis via Getty

Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts may have smiled in selfies just weeks before announcing their split after 11 years together, but there were some signs of trouble in the couple’s relationship in recent months.

In an interview with TV Week just three days before news of the breakup broke, Schreiber admitted that he and his longtime girlfriend found it difficult to allocate time to spend together.

“That has been one of the things that have been really, really hard for Naomi and I. To find time for each other and to make time for each other,” the 48-year-old actor said. “I think that is what makes a successful relationship.”

Distance was a factor in that struggle. While Watts and the couple’s two sons, 8-year-old Alexander (Sasha) Pete Schreiber and 7-year-old Samuel Kai Schreiber, lived in New York, Schreiber spent much of his time in California shooting his show Ray Donovan.

During a June appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Schreiber confessed that being on the opposite side of the country from his family was complicated.

“This is the first time we did that,” he said. “The kids are at that age where you kind of want them to have continuity with friends and school. You’ve got to put them first at a certain point, and the back and forth, I think, can get tough,” he said, adding that the situation is “hard on me most.”

Watts, 47, also shared with L.A. Confidential earlier this year that she and Schreiber had tried to work out their schedules so one of them is working while the other is at home with the kids. She said they, like many other couples, were constantly working on their relationship, and their high-profile careers added more pressure.

“Relationships are hard whether you’re famous or not,” she said at the time. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have to work on it. Being an actor doesn’t change anything. I’m sure it’s the same if you’re a doctor or a couple of lawyers. You have high-pressure jobs, lots of hours, stresses that come at you unexpectedly – and you have to figure out how to be present in the midst of it all.”

Watts was also notably absent from this year’s Golden Globe Awards, where Schreiber was nominated for a third consecutive year. However, she did wish her partner luck on Instagram.

“Good luck tonight to this one!!” she captioned a photo of Schreiber with their two sons.

Watts and Schreiber announced their breakup in a joint statement to PEOPLE on Monday.

“Over the past few months we’ve come to the conclusion that the best way forward for us as a family is to separate as a couple,” read the statement.

“It is with great love, respect, and friendship in our hearts that we look forward to raising our children together and exploring this new phase of our relationship.”

“While we appreciate your curiosity and support, we ask the press to be mindful of our children and respect their right to privacy.”