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Marymount - International School Rome

Francesco Totti and Ilary Blasi split after 20 years

Break-up follows months of rumours.

Italian TV presenter Ilary Blasi announced the end of her 17-year marriage to AS Roma legend Francesco Totti in a statement on Monday night, Italian news agency ANSA reports.

"After 20 years together and three wonderful children, my marriage to Francesco is over" - read the statement from Blasi - "However, the separation process will remain a private matter and I will not be making any further statements."

"I invite everyone to avoid speculation and, above all, to respect the privacy of my family", concluded Blasi's statement.

Totti also appealed for privacy, particularly in relation to his children, telling ANSA: "I tried to overcome the crisis of my marriage but today I understand that the choice of separation, although painful, is unavoidable."

The break-up follows months of speculation that the celebrity couple were on the verge of separating, fuelled by rumours that Totti was having an affair.

In February the pair took to social media to deny Italian news reports that their marriage was over, with Blasi sharing a video of the family enjoying a meal at a restaurant in Rome.

Totti, who played for AS Roma for 28 years as well as being capped 58 times for Italy, lashed out at the "fake news", reminding the media that when children are involved "they must be respected".

Totti, 45, and Blasi, 41, were married in a high-profile ceremony at Rome's church of S. Maria dell'Ara Coeli in June 2005.

The couple have three children: Cristian, Chanel and Isabel.

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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia