Minister Michael Gove and his wife Sarah Vine are to divorce after 20 years of marriage.
The Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster, 53, and the Mail on Sunday columnist, 54, are “in the process of finalising their divorce” after marrying in 2001. They have two children together.
A spokesperson for the couple said they had “agreed to separate”, with a friend adding that there was “no one else in involved”.
“They will continue to support their two children and they remain close friends,” they said in a statement.
“The family politely ask for privacy at this time and will not be providing any further comment.”
Ms Vine, who met Mr Gove when he was working as arts editor for The Times in 1999, recently wrote about the difficulty of being married to politicians.
She wrote in her Sunday column that the Hancock affair had made her “think about the nature of political marriages… and how rarely, if ever, they manage to thrive under the pressures of public life”.
“These women are still more or less the same person they were when they got married, but their politician men are not,” she said.
“Climbing that far up Westminster’s greasy pole changes a person.”
A friend of the couple said of the split: “This is a difficult and sad decision for Michael and Sarah after 20 years of marriage.
“It is an entirely amicable separation and there is no one else involved.
“They have drifted apart over the past couple of years but they remain friends. Their absolute priority is the children.”
Mr Gove and Ms Vine are seen as hugely influential within the Conservative Party, with Ms Vine godmother to one of David Cameron’s children.
The two women are reported to have fallen out after Mr Gove’s decision to back the Vote Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum.
Mr Cameron was forced to resign after the UK voted to leave the EU.