Putin, wife go for 'civilised divorce'
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his 29-year marriage to his his wife, Lyudmila, was over -- after removing his wedding band as they...
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his 29-year marriage to his his wife, Lyudmila, was over -- after removing his wedding band as they watched the ballet together. The 60-year-old and his 55-year-old wife broke the news of the end of the 29-year marriage in an obviously staged TV interview after a night at the ballet on Friday. Before the ballet at the Kremlin Palace, Putin was pictured wearing his wedding ring, but he must have removed it during the performance because he was not wearing it by the time he left and was interviewed. Asked on Rossiya-24 television about longstanding rumours that the Putins no longer lived together, the 60-year-old Putin said: 'That is true.' Lyudmila said it had been a "our common decision. And our marriage is over due to the fact that we barely see each other." Asked whether they were divorced, Lyudmila said it was a "civilised divorce". But neither clarified whether they were legally divorced and Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said he did not know. The obviously staged interview made no mention of Alina Kabayeva, a 30-year-old former gymnast who is rumoured to have been Putin's mistress for years. Miss Kabayeva, who is alleged to have given birth to Putin's lovechild, is now a politician after retiring from a glittering career in gymnastics in which she represented her country at the Olympics twice. Rumours about Putin's alleged affair with Miss Kabayeva first surfaced five years ago when a Russian newspaper owned by the oligarch Alexander Lebedev reported that Putin wanted to marry his gymnast mistress. Putin angrily denied the story, and the newspaper was closed down shortly afterwards, which many attributed to Putin's rage. Further stories later emerged claiming that Miss Kabayeva had had a baby by the president, but both sides denied them. � Daily Mail