Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, are separating, the couple have announced on Instagram, with a statement that appeared to mark the end of their 18-year marriage.
Trudeau, 51, and Grégoire Trudeau, 48, were married in late May 2005.
On Wednesday they simultaneously posted the statement on their Instagram pages, saying the decision to separate came after “many meaningful and difficult conversations”.
The prime minister’s office said the two had signed a legal agreement.
“They have worked to ensure that all legal and ethical steps with regards to their decision to separate have been taken, and will continue to do so moving forward,” it said.
The couple first met as youths in Montreal when she was a classmate of his youngest brother, Michel. They reconnected as adults in 2003, while Grégoire Trudeau was working as a TV entertainment reporter and they co-hosted a charity gala.
They have three children: Xavier, 15, Ella-Grace, 14, and Hadrien, nine.
When Trudeau was first elected prime minister in 2015, Grégoire Trudeau had a high public profile, meeting with international leaders, dignitaries and community organizers and joining her husband on foreign trips.
Vogue ran a glowing profile of the two in 2016 issue, which said that Trudeau “shocks some with his public displays of affection toward his wife”.
She also worked on a number of causes including advocacy for gender equality and mental health. She has two books due for publication: Closer Together: Knowing Ourselves, Loving Each Other, scheduled for release in April 2024, along with a picture book slated for 2025.
In recent years she has played a less visible role, and rarely travelled with her husband on official trips.
The two of them traveled to London in May for the coronation of King Charles and were together when the US president, Joe Biden, visited in late March.
Trudeau gave a news conference on Monday and took a ride on the Toronto subway that night, but has had no public appearances scheduled for the last two days.
“They remain a close family and Sophie and the prime minister are focused on raising their kids in a safe, loving and collaborative environment,” said the statement. “The family will be together on vacation, beginning next week.”
His office requested respect for their privacy.
Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the first Canadian prime minister to become a single parent through separation, after initially separating from Margaret Trudeau in 1977.
She officially filed for divorce in late 1983; a few months later, Trudeau announced his retirement from politics.
The senior Trudeau served as prime minister from 1968-1979 and again from 1980-1984.
The details of Trudeau and Grégoire Trudeau’s separation and custody agreement have not yet been made public.
Trudeau was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008, following his father’s footsteps by becoming a star Liberal MP and then head of the government. But since taking office in 2015, his image has been somewhat tarnished by a string of scandals, skyrocketing inflation and voter fatigue.