Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila have appeared together on state television to confirm publicly that they have separated and their 30-year marriage is over.
They spoke about the split to Rossiya-24 TV during an interview after they had both attended a ballet performance in the Kremlin.
Asked about the long-standing rumours that the couple no longer lived together, the president said: “That is true.” He went on: “All my life and work is public, absolutely public. Some like it, some don’t. There are people who are not very compatible with publicity. So, it was a common decision.”
The couple have made only rare appearances together in recent years.
“Our marriage is over. We practically do not see each other. My husband is fully occupied with his job, our children have grown up, they live their own lives,” said Lydumila Putin.
Neither clarified whether their marriage was legally dissolved, although Lyudmila said it was a “civilised divorce”.
Putin’s spokesman said they separated a long time ago and he did not know if the divorce had been formalised.
The news confirms rumours circulating for a long time and removes a big question mark about the private life of a president who has increasingly touted traditional values and championed the conservative Russian Orthodox Church as a moral authority.
The announcement came just over one year into Vladimir Putin’s third term as president.