Fairytale Hollywood couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced they were calling it quits after five years of marriage, ending an unexpected love story dogged by tabloid rumors.
"Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children," Amanda Lundberg, Cruise's representative, told AFP on Friday. "Please allow them their privacy to work this out."
"This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family," said Jonathan Wolfe, the attorney representing Holmes. "Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest."
Cruise, who turns 50 on Tuesday, wed Holmes, 33, in a storybook Italian castle in November 2006 after declaring his love for the former "Dawson's Creek" star live on "Oprah" -- famously hopping on a couch in the studio.
It was Holmes's first marriage and Cruise's third. They have a six-year-old daughter, Suri.
The "TomKat" split comes just 10 days after the "amicable" parting of US actor Johnny Depp and French singer/actress Vanessa Paradis, and will doubtless lead to renewed chatter about the pressures on Hollywood couples.
Holmes has admitted to having a teenage crush on Cruise, even saying she had put up a poster of the "Top Gun" star in her bedroom.
After a whirlwind courtship that culminated in a proposal under the Eiffel Tower in June 2005, what followed resembled a fairytale -- at first.
Fireworks lit up the night sky above the 15th-century Odescalchi castle near Rome when Cruise and Holmes tied the knot on November 18, 2006.
Glitterati from the worlds of cinema, sports and music were on hand at the sprawling estate perched above the lakeside town of Bracciano as Holmes offered her hand to the "Mission Impossible" star, who has three Oscar nominations.
Italian media reported that American Scientology leader David Miscavige officiated at the event, arguably the most high-profile Scientology wedding to date, in a ceremony that lasted no more than 15 minutes.
Reports at the time said that under the prenuptial agreement, Holmes -- who converted to Scientology -- would receive $3 million for every year of the marriage plus ownership of a California mansion if they split.
But it remains to be seen how the stylish, dark-haired duo -- often snapped at glittery events alongside soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria -- will handle the custody of their daughter, who has been called one of Hollywood's most fashionable youngsters.
According to the website TMZ.com, Holmes wants sole custody.
Citing unnamed sources, the website claims Holmes filed for divorce mainly over Cruise's ties to Scientology, "fearing that Tom would drag Suri deep into the church."
"We're told the couple had been arguing over Suri -- that she's now of the age where Scientology becomes a significant part of her life," it said.
Tabloids, shadowing the couple since the get-go, have speculated for some time that the relationship was on the rocks after the pair was not seen together for months. Cruise has also won two lawsuits alleging he is gay.
In an interview with Playboy magazine in May, Cruise said he would be spending his birthday shooting a film in Iceland -- without his significant other.
"My family, my wife, they understand. It's who I am," he said.
Addressing rumors about his private life, he added: "You just have to keep going and remember that. The other stuff? I hear it, I read it, I get it. But life is not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody."
Born in New York state in 1962, Cruise was raised by his mother and barely knew his father who left early on. That didn't change his feelings about family.
"I always wanted to be a father, a husband," he told Playboy.
Cruise, still one of Hollywood's most bankable stars as shown by recent box office smash "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," was married to Australian actress Nicole Kidman from 1990 to 2001. The couple had two adopted children, 19-year-old Isabella and 17-year-old Connor.
He was also married to American actress Mimi Rogers from 1987 to 1990 and had a three-year relationship with Spanish star Penelope Cruz after splitting up with Kidman.
Holmes, who was born and raised in Ohio, appeared in "Batman Begins" (2005) and starred alongside Adam Sandler in the critically panned 2011 romantic comedy "Jack and Jill."
News of the divorce set off an avalanche of messages on Twitter, many sarcastic in nature.
"Mimi Rogers 1956; Nicole Kidman 1967; Katie Holmes 1978 - my supercomputer analysis says Tom Cruise's next wife was born in 1989," said one, signed HAL_9000.