Actor Martin Freeman has secretly split from his partner and co-star Amanda Abbington.
The couple – who were together since 2001 and have two children – quietly went their separate ways earlier this year.
Revealing the break up in an interview with the Financial Times, the 45-year-old admits: ‘I’m not with Amanda any more. It’s very, very amicable — I’ll always love Amanda.’
When pushed further on whether he thought his huge success in recent years on films such as The Hobbit played a part in the break up, he replied: ‘To a certain extent, yes. Not as much as it might have done, and not as much as maybe I would have hoped it had.’
Martin first met Amanda, 42, on the set of 2000 movie Men Only and they went on to have a son, Joe, 10, and a daughter, Grace, eight.
They went on to work together on separate occasions, including 2003’s The Debt, Swinging with the Finkels, The Robinsons and The All Together.
His shocking admission comes as the couple are set to return to screens as man and wife in the BBC hit crime drama, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s eccentric detective.
There will also be a new addition to the cast – Freeman’s Dr. Watson and Abbington’s Mary Morstan become parents to a daughter.
MailOnline has contacted Abbington’s spokesperson for comment.
The split is especially surprising as just last December, Martin suggested that they had finally walked down the aisle, quipping: ‘We might have married already…
‘I’m just saying – mind your own business. My job is public, why should my private life be public as well? We live in an age where you have to know everything and that’s tedious.
‘If people make a fuss over me I think “Get out more”’.
It appears that his other half was just as blasé about tying the knot – she joked that there was ‘no point’ as she already had snaps of them in wedding attire from Sherlock.
She told The Guardian last year: ‘There’s no point [in marrying]. I’ve got photographs of me in three different wedding dresses with him.’
Like her partner, Amanda was also keen to focus on keeping the attention on their professional, rather than their private, lives.
Heaping praise on her partner’s achievements, she said: ‘I think Martin and I bounce off each other very well. He is one of my favourite actors.
‘He’s so easy to work with and so creative. He brings something different to every single take. He is so on top of his lines that he can dig down and find a different angle every time. That really keeps you on your toes. Both characters go on a wonderful journey, and to do that with Martin was such fun.’
The pair have kept their relationship out of the spotlight despite Martin’s ever-rising fame.
But Amanda has let more slip about their home life during interviews than Martin.
She revealed that they had contrasting views on where to live, with the actor preferring to be in London, while she preferred their base in Hertfordshire.
Amanda admitted: ‘Martin’s more of a townie, but when I was a kid trips into London would be a real magical thing, and I want ours to have that same feeling.
‘And it helps the family maintain their normal routine.’
‘He has to come back and tidy the house and do the washing, and it keeps your feet on the ground.’
From his breakthrough role in The Office, he has become one of Hollywood’s most unlikely go-to Brits, beating countless others to the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s prequel to Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit.
The part has catapulted his stardom and his wealth, with him now boasting an estimated £10million fortune.
Ironically, it was money – or lack thereof – that dragged the couple into the spotlight in 2013 when it emerged Amanda had filed for bankruptcy.
Despite their joint income and living in a £900,000 house together, it was revealed she had been declared insolvent at London’s High Court over an unpaid tax bill.
While many critics claimed Martin should have helped Amanda out, the actress insisted she was solely responsible for her own finances.
She told the Radio Times: ‘It’s fine, it’s being sorted out. It was a big mistake and I’m sorting it out right now.
‘It’s being paid off now. I would never want to go through this again. But I’m paying it off.’
She concluded: ‘I hate the fact that it happened. I don’t understand how some people can go bankrupt three or four times – it was the worst year of my life.’