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AFTER more than eleven years together, Hollywood couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have announced their separation.

In a statement released to ET, the pair confirmed the sad news and asked for privacy. “Over the past few months we’ve come to the conclusion that the best way forward for us as a family is to separate as a couple. It is with great love, respect, and friendship in our hearts that we look forward to raising our children together and exploring this new phase of our relationship,” it read. “While we appreciate your curiosity and support, we ask the press to be mindful of our children and respect their right to privacy.”

Schreiber, 48, and Watts, 47, had been together since 2005, though they never married. They have two children together — nine-year-old Alexander (whose nickname is Sasha) and seven-year-old Samuel. Earlier this year, Schreiber adorably described her as a “ray of light” while remembering the moment he first saw her at the Met Gala in 2005. He told Esquire he had felt out of place at the fancy event - until Watts walked in.

She said, ‘What are you doing later on — you want to go dancing?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah’,” he told the mag. “So I went down to this club that she told me to meet her at, and of course she was there with Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro, and I’m kind of standing around like a bump on a log, waiting for my turn.” With all the movie stars hovering around Watts, Schreiber said he felt “very embarrassed being there, and self-conscious”. Worried he wouldn’t impress her, he told Watts: “I’m sorry, but I gotta go home”. But Watts didn’t let it end there. “She chased me outside and said, ‘Don’t you want my digits?’,” he said.

Needless to say, he took her “digits”. Their first official date was near Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan’s West Village, where they ate cupcakes on a park bench.

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