By Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau are separating after 18 years of marriage.
In statements posted to Instagram on Wednesday they each say that “after many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate.”
“As always we remain a close family with deep love and respect for each other and for everything we have built and will continue to build,” they wrote.
“For the well-being of our children, we ask that you respect our and their privacy.”
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement the couple have signed a separation agreement “to ensure that all legal and ethical steps with regards to their decision to separate have been taken, and will continue to do so moving forward.”
The statement said Canadians can expect to still see the family together and that they will vacation together next week.
Grégoire Trudeau has played a less visible role in recent years, rarely travelling with the prime minister on official trips. They were seen together publicly at Canada Day events in Ottawa last month.
Trudeau, 51, and Grégoire Trudeau, 48, were married May 28, 2005, at a ceremony in Montreal.
They first met as children when she was a classmate of his youngest brother, Michel, and reconnected as adults when they co-hosted a charity gala in 2003.
They initially lived in Montreal, where their son Xavier, 15, and daughter Ella-Grace, 14, were born. They moved to Ottawa as a family in 2010, two years after he was elected MP for Papineau in Montreal.
Their nine-year-old son Hadrien was born in Ottawa.
Grégoire Trudeau was a Quebec entertainment TV personality but stepped away from that career after their move to the national capital.
Trudeau is the second prime minister to announce a separation while in office.
His father, Pierre Trudeau, separated from wife Margaret in 1979 and the two divorced in 1984.
Kim Campbell was divorced before becoming prime minister in 1993.