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Aniston, Pitt separating after 4 years of marriage

Statement to People magazine made no mention of divorce

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Fans are stunned at news of Hollywood power couple's split
Brad Pitt
Jennifer Aniston

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- After more than four years of marriage, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have decided to formally separate, according to the office of Aniston's publicist, Stephen Huvane.

People magazine, which first reported the split, quoted the couple as saying that "this decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration," and is not "the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media."

"We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another," they said in their statement to People, which is owned by Time Warner, the parent company of

Their statement made no mention of a divorce.

Pitt, 41, and Aniston, 35, began dating in 1998. They were married in July 2000 in a lavish ceremony in Malibu, California.

Aniston was recently photographed not wearing her wedding ring, leading to tabloid speculation of marital trouble. People magazine reported that the couple spent New Year's weekend vacationing together on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, where they were photographed in affectionate poses.

Aniston is best known as one of the six stars of the long-running NBC sitcom "Friends."

Pitt has appeared in more than 30 films, including "Fight Club," "Interview with the Vampire," "Seven," "Ocean's Eleven" and "A River Runs Through It." His latest movie, "Ocean's Twelve," is currently in theaters.

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