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Confirmed: Madonna and Ritchie to divorce

Madonna's spokeswoman said Wednesday that the singer and her husband, Guy Ritchie, will divorce after 7 1/2 years together.

A statement e-mailed to The Associated Press from Liz Rosenberg said that the couple had agreed to divorce, and requested the media maintain respect their privacy.

The statement, co-signed by Ritchie's representative, said the couple had not agreed to a settlement.

Citing unnamed sources, The Sun and Daily Mail said the couple hoped to have a divorce finalized by Christmas. The Sun said that Madonna, 50, had wanted to wait until her latest world tour wraps up in Brazil in December before announcing the split.

The singer will perform concerts Wednesday and Thursday in Boston as her "Sticky and Sweet" tour continues.

Barbara Charone, Madonna's spokeswoman in London, declined comment on the reports. Ritchie's mother, Lady Amber Leighton, told reporters the family wouldn't be making any statement to the media.

This is the second time this year that the superstar couple's marriage has come under the media microscope. Over the summer, Madonna was linked - unfairly, she said - to the breakup of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez and his ex-wife Cynthia.

In July, Madonna's U.S. publicist released a statement that said the singer and Ritchie had "no plans to divorce."

Madonna and Ritchie married in December 2000 at a Scottish castle. The couple have two children: Rocco, 8, and David Banda, 3, who was adopted from Malawi in 2006. Madonna also has a 12-year-old daughter, Lourdes, from her relationship with personal trainer Carlos Leon.

The couple are reportedly worth some $525 million, the bulk of that belonging to Madonna. Ritchie has an estimated $35 million fortune. They own homes in London, Los Angeles and New York, and a 1,200-acre retreat in Wiltshire, England.

Alan Kaufman, head of family law for London firm Finers Stephens Innocent, said he would be surprised if Madonna and Ritchie hadn't come to some arrangement before they were married.

Kaufman, who isn't involved in the case, also said he doesn't expect the case to end up in court because the couple would likely prefer to come to a private agreement both custodially and financially.

"They both had substantial assets and don't really need any money from each other," Kaufman said.

"This is not like the McCartney divorce," he said, referring to the acrimonious split between former Beatle Paul McCartney and Heather Mills earlier this year.

Associated Press Writer Katy Daigle contributed to this report.

In this Sept. 1, 2008 file photo, British director Guy Ritchie, left, and his wife Madonna arrive for the world premiere of his film 'Rock n Rolla' in London. British newspapers said Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are splitting up. The Sun reports the American pop star and British movie director want a divorce finalized by Christmas. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, file)

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