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At times, the marriage of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver looked like a fairy tale come true. But the public record is replete with problems that would strain any union, and recent glimpses into their lives suggested something amiss with a couple who often waxed publicly about their love.

Since his two terms as California governor ended in early January, Schwarzenegger, 63, has hopscotched around the world, his wife nowhere in sight. Shriver, 55, posted three Twitter updates on April 26, their 25th wedding anniversary, without mentioning the milestone.

On Monday, they announced they were separating. "After a great deal of thought, reflection, discussion, and prayer, we came to this decision together," they said in a brief statement that could signal a private breakup rather than a public court battle.

In many ways, it was a pairing of opposites: Her uncle was the late U.S. president John F. Kennedy; his father an Austrian policeman. She was the rising star of a network TV news show; he was the pot-puffing star of Pumping Iron. He was a Republican with a soft spot for Republican former President Richard Nixon; her family was a pillar in the Democratic Party establishment.

In their statement, they said they would live apart, "work on the future of our relationship" and continue to parent their four children - Katherine, 21, Christina, 19, Patrick, 17, and Christopher, 13. The only word from the family Tuesday came in a tweet from Patrick: "Small speed bump ... luckily we own (H)ummers, we will cruise right over it. All will be okay."