The Oscar winner and his wife recently announced they were separating after 22 years of marriage

By Mia McNiece
December 18, 2019 08:30 AM
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While Colin Firth and his wife Livia tried their best to keep their marriage intact, sources say in the end, they realized it was time to move on.

On Dec. 13, the duo revealed that they are separating after 22 years of marriage. “They maintain a close friendship and remain united in their love for their children,” a rep said in a statement.

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Those who knew them best weren’t exactly shocked by the development—especially after the drama that transpired when the ultra-­private couple admitted in 2018 that Livia, 50, had had an extramarital relationship with Italian journalist Marco Brancaccia, while she and Colin, 59, were separated between 2015 and 2016.

Livia accused Brancaccia of stalking her after their 11-month relationship ended and, together with Firth, sued him in an Italian court for carrying out a “campaign of harassment.” (Brancaccia denied the accusations, and the case was settled out of court in July 2018.)

“Things never really came around for them [after that],” a film industry source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “No matter what was decided when they stayed together after her affair, nothing could erase that betrayal. It was time to move on, even though they had a solid family relationship and really wanted to save it.”

For more on Colin Firth, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.

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The pair, who met on the set of the 1996 BBC drama Nostromo, wedded in 1997 and have two sons, Luca, 18, and Matteo, 16. (Firth is also dad to an adult son, Will, with ex-girlfriend Meg Tilly.)

“They love their sons and respect and care for each other, but it was just time,” says the source. “They want to protect their privacy and just move on.”

*With reporting by Linda Marx