Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on state-run TV tonight that he and his wife Lyudmila are getting divorced.
From Russia Today:
It was our joint decision, our marriage is over,” President Putin said in the interview to Russia24 state channel. The announcement was made at the Grand Kremlin Palace, where Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin attended the Esmeralda ballet.
Asked to confirm if that was a divorce, Lyudmila Putina, who was standing by the President’s side, told the media “Yes, you can say that, this is civilized divorce.”
“I do not like publicity, and the flights are complicated for me. We love our children, we are proud of them and see each other often,” Lyudmila Putina.
However, Mrs. Putina said “they will always be friends”.
“I am grateful that he supports me,” she said.
Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin have been married for 30 years, since 1983. They have two daughters – Maria, 27, and Ekaterina, 26.
Rumors of Putin’s affairs over the years have included spy Anna Chapman and gymnast Alina Kabayeva.
In his 2000 book First Person, Putin talked about his great love whom he’d planned to marry before he met Lyudmila.
“Some intrigue or other” got in the way of that relationship, he said, and calling off their wedding was “one of the most difficult decisions of my life.”
“I felt like a real creep,” Putin said. When pressed by the interviewer on whether he wanted to talk about it, Putin replied, “No, I don’t.”
Lyudmila told the same interviewer for the book that she “spent three and a half years courting” Putin.
“Within three or four months I had decided he was the man for me,” she said.