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A split for Pitt, Aniston; Now just friends

Hollywood glamour couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have split, Pitt's publicist confirmed Friday.

"We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate," the couple said in a joint statement released by Pitt's publicist Cindy Guagenti. "For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration."

The couple didn't indicate if they planned to file for divorce, and Guagenti declined to comment beyond the statement, which also said, "We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another."

The separation, first reported on People magazine's Web site, comes 4{ years after the pair's Malibu wedding and after months of speculation that their marriage was in trouble.

Aniston has recently been photographed in public without her diamond-studded wedding ring, according to People, although the magazine said the couple had spent the New Year's weekend together on the Caribbean island of Anguilla with Aniston's former Friends co-star Courteney Cox and her husband, actor David Arquette.

Pitt, 41, and Aniston, 35, have been together since being set up on a blind date in 1998. They were married in a lavish wedding on July 29, 2000, on a Malibu estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Some 200 people attended the event, which included four bands, a gospel choir, fireworks and tens of thousands of flowers.

Aniston is perhaps the most recognizable star of Friends, the ensemble show that concluded a 10-year run last year as one of television's highest-rated comedies. She also has starred in such films as Along Came Polly, Bruce Almighty and The Good Girl.

Pitt, long one of Hollywood' most bankable film stars, is currently seen in Ocean's Twelve. Other film credits include Ocean's Eleven, Fight Club, Meet Joe Black, Seven Years in Tibet, Sleepers, 12 Monkeys, Legends of the Fall, A River Runs Through It and Thelma & Louise.

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