June 28, 2018 04:41 PM

Although their marriage is coming to an end, Alexis Bellino and her estranged husband Jim Bellino are holding each other “in the highest regards as spouses, and especially as parents” amid their divorce.

Following news of their divorce filing last week, the estranged couple, who wed on April 16, 2005, released a joint statement on Thursday, explaining the reasoning for their split after 13 years of marriage.

“It is with heavy hearts that we inform the public of our mutual decision to end our marriage — but it’s important to us that you know we made this choice together, with love, and as the best decision for our children’s future,” the Real Housewives of Orange County star, 41, and her husband said.

“We hold one another in the highest regards as spouses, and especially as parents. We have agreed on 50/50 custody of the children, and we ask that you respect our privacy by not theorizing about the reasons for our divorce,” the statement continued.

“In recent days and weeks, there has been a lot of negative discussion about our marriage and why it is ending. Outside of the news of our decision to part ways, there is nothing provocative, alluring, or sordid about the dissolution of our marriage. Quite to the contrary, we strongly support each other just as we have since the beginning of our relationship,” reads the statement.

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The parents of three — they share son James and twin daughters Melania and Mackenna — admitted in the statement that they drifted apart over the course of their marriage.

“Our marriage was a good one, but we were never perfect people or spouses — no one is, and in this respect, we were a lot like millions of other married people. And, just like millions of other married people, we simply grew apart over time — there is no ill will or bad blood between us — and maybe that’s why absurd rumors about our marriage and future together began when we filed for divorce,” they wrote.

The statement concluded, “We ultimately want you to feel happy for us, respect our privacy during this difficult time, and pray for our mutual benefit as we weather this storm. To the fans who have supported us since the beginning, we’re grateful for how you cheers us on — we ask that you continue to cheer as our lives and the lives of our children change and ultimately improve as a result of this difficult decision.”

Jim filed for divorce last week citing irreconcilable differences, according to TMZ. Jim, 56, requested joint legal and physical custody of their kids as well as spousal support, the outlet reported; he listed “TBD” as their date of separation.

Alexis joined the cast of the Bravo reality series in 2009 and left in 2013. At the time, she told PEOPLE in a statement that she had “made the difficult decision not to return for season 8.”

She said at the time, “Although Bravo made me a very generous offer and I’m thankful to have had this experience, I will be leaving the show behind to focus on my family and other opportunities.”

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