"Thanking you for your support."
Naga Chaitanya and wife Samantha Akkineni have announced their separation.
The acting couple shared the news in a joint Instagram statement on Samantha’s account on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
It read: “To all our well-wishers.
“After much deliberation and thought Chay and I have decided to part ways as husband and wife to pursue our own paths.
“We are fortunate to have a friendship of over a decade that was the very core of our relationship which we believe will always hold a special bond between us.
“We request our fans, well-wishers and the media to support us during the difficult time and give us the privacy we need to move on.
“Thanking you for your support.”
The pair first met on the set of the Telegu romcom Ye Maaya Chesave (2010).
At the time, Samantha was in a relationship with actor Siddharth while Naga was dating Shruti Hassan.
They then worked together on the Telugu action film Autonagar Surya in 2011 by which time they had already split from their respective partners and soon began dating.
Naga and Samantha quickly became the power couple of south Indian cinema, affectionately known as ChaySam.
The couple got engaged in a private ceremony in Naga’s birthplace of Hyderabad in January 2017.
They then tied the knot in October 2017, having two ceremonies.
However, rumours of them breaking up began circulating shortly after this.
Suspicions about trouble in the marriage most recently arose after Samantha missed the 62nd birthday celebrations of her legendary actor father-in-law, Nagarjuna, in August 2021.
Rumours of their split became rife after Samantha replaced Akkineni with her maiden name Ruth Prabhu on her Instagram profile.
In a statement, Nagarjuna said of the split:
“With a heavy heart, let me say this! whatever happened between Sam and Chay is very unfortunate.
“What happens between a wife and husband is very personal.”
“Sam and Chay are dear to me.
“My family will always cherish the moments spent with sam and she will always be dear to us! May God bless them both with strength.”
Their split comes just days before their fourth wedding anniversary.
Samantha established her award-winning career in the Telegu and Tamil film industries with her debut Ye Maaya Chesave.
She has since starred in 52 films including action-comedy Dookudu (2012) opposite Mahesh Babu which became one of the most successful Telegu movies of all time.
Meanwhile, ex-husband Chaitanya made his Telegu debut with action film Josh (2009) and is soon due to appear in Laal Singh Chaddha.
The film, which stars Aamir Khan, was due to be released in 2021 but has been constantly postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is now set to hit theatres on Valentine’s Day 2022.