Update: Both Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli were quick to squash internet rumors that infidelity led to the demise of their marriage. They told People in an exclusive statement: “There are rumors out there which are completely untrue and hurtful to our family. We just want to make it very clear — there are no third parties involved.”
Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli’s split after 11 years of marriage came as a surprise to fans, but some celeb watchers say it was not totally unexpected.
According to E!, the now-estranged couple has been plagued with rumors of trouble since last year, including reports that they had planned to split last July and were even living separately.
Around that time, Facinelli walked the red carpet for his film “Breaking Dawn” with his daughter, Luca. Noticeably absent was his wife, who had been by his side for openings of previous installments of the “Twilight” franchise.
“He said he just wanted to celebrate this time with his daughter,” E! News correspondent Jason Kennedy told ABCNews.com. “But at the time, there was speculation that there was trouble in paradise. And you didn’t see them out in public much after that.”
Then, on Monday, Facinelli once again brought Luca to the premiere of his latest movie, “The Hunger Games.”
The next day, Facinelli, 38, and Garth, 39, released a joint statement through their representatives: “While we have decided to end our marriage, we both share the same deep love and devotion to our children. We remain dedicated to raising our beautiful daughters together. We ask for privacy and respect during this time.”
“Some people were shocked, others not so much because they saw some of these warning signs,” Kennedy said.
The timing of the breakup could be awkward with the family appearing in a new reality show. “Jennie Garth: Little Bit Country” chronicles the family’s move to a California farm, and is scheduled to air next month on CMT. Marital troubles will likely be part of the story line.
As for the root of the troubles, celebrity watchers tamped down speculation circulating on the internet that Facinelli had an affair.
“It’s the kind of report that comes out when any couple announces their separation,” Justin Ravitz, Us Weekly’s senior online editor, told ABCNews.com.
Reps for Facinelli and Garth did not respond to requests for comment.
Ravitz wondered how much Facinelli’s busy schedule with the “Twilight” franchise and his recurring role on “Nurse Jackie” may have played in the relationship’s demise.
“Obviously they spent more time apart because of that,” he said, “with Jennie being more stationary in Hollywood, being a mom and shooting projects locally.”
Garth, is best known for her role on “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
“The ‘Twilight’ saga put him on the map. He’s at an all-time high with his career,” Kennedy said. “And when you have three daughters, someone’s got to be a mom and Jennie stayed home.
One of Hollywood’s more low-key couples, Garth and Facinelli mostly stayed below the radar. When they made public appearances, it was usually with their three daughters, Luca, 14, Lola, 9, and Fiona, 5. “They always gave the impression of being a happy, unified family,” Ravitz said.
“This was a couple that kept to themselves, they were the antithesis of the Hollywood couple,” Kennedy said.
According to a theory, written about in the New York Times, which predicts how long celebrity marriages will last, Garth and Facinelli should still be together. Not only did they have a long courtship — they met on the set of the TV movie “An Unfinished Affair” in 1996, and married in 2001 — they managed to stay out of the tabloids.
“Who really knows what happens behind closed doors,” Kennedy said. “In the coming days we will probably know more. Hopefully, it can stay amicable. Let’s just hope they stay focused on those beautiful daughters.”