Seal and Heidi Klum have put an end to the speculation about the state of their marriage by releasing a joint statement confirming their plans to separate:

“While we have enjoyed seven very loving, loyal and happy years of marriage, after much soul-searching we have decided to separate. We have had the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart. This is an amicable process and protecting the well-being of our children remains our top priority, especially during this time of transition,” the statement reads.

Klum, 38, and Seal, 48, began dating in 2003 when Heidi was pregnant with daughter Leni, who is the biological child of Italian businessman Flavio Briatore. Seal was present at Leni’s birth, and he legally adopted her in 2009.

The super model and Grammy-winning singer, who married in 2005, are parents to Leni, 7; Henry, 6; Johan, 5; and Lou, 2.

“We thank our family, friends, and fans for their kind words of support. And for our children’s sake, we appreciate you respecting our privacy,” they said. –kathleen cross