Chelsea owner Abramovich splits from wife

Russian billionaire and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and his partner, gallerist Dasha Zhukova, have separated, a spokesman for Abramovich confirmed to AFP.

“After 10 years together, the two of us have made the difficult decision to separate, but we remain close friends, parents, and partners in the projects we developed together,” the two said in a statement sent to AFP Monday by Abramovich’s spokesman John Mann.

Abramovich, 50, is Russia’s 12th richest businessman, according to Forbes magazine, with a fortune of $9.1 billion. He has owned Chelsea football club since 2003.

The statement on Monday did not make clear whether Abramovich and Zhukova, 36, are married, although this has been previously reported.

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Abramovich and Zhukova have two children together, a son and daughter.

In the couple’s joint statement, they said that “We are committed to jointly raising our two children.”

Abramovich divorced his second wife Irina Malandina in 2007 after a marriage lasting 16 years. They had five children together. Abramovich’s first marriage was brief, from 1987 to 1991 with Olga Lysova.

Zhukova founded a popular contemporary arts centre and gallery in Moscow, Garage, which is located in the city’s Gorky Park, as well as collaborating with Abramovich on the New Holland arts centre in Saint Petersburg.

The couple said that “we will also continue to work together as co-founders of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and the New Holland Island cultural center in Saint Petersburg.”

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