“After many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate,” they said.
The two married in 2005 and have three children together: Xavier, 15, Ella-Grace, 14, and Hadrien, nine.
“As always, we remain a close family with deep love and respect for each other and for everything we have built and will continue to build,” they said. “For the well-being of our children, we ask that you respect our and their privacy.”
The family is about to go on vacation together next week, according to a separate statement sent out by the prime minister’s office.
It said the two have signed a legal separation agreement.
“They remain a close family and Sophie and the prime minister are focused on raising their kids in a safe, loving and collaborative environment. Both parents will be a constant presence in their childrens’ lives and Canadians can expect to often see the family together.”
The Trudeau children will continue to live at Rideau Cottage on the Rideau Hall grounds in Ottawa. Sophie will move to a residence elsewhere in the city, though she’ll be a frequent presence at Rideau Cottage.
Gossip about the Trudeau marriage had circulated in Ottawa for several years, but the discord in their personal relationship never made headlines.
Wednesday’s announcement will distract Canada’s political class and comes just a week after Trudeau unveiled an overhaul of his Cabinet team in a move touted as a reset of his government’s economic agenda.
Grégoire Trudeau had been notably absent from major public events in July, including the major Cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in the capital and a social dinner for NATO leaders and their spouses at the military alliance’s summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
The closest sign of discord over the years might have been an interview with journalist Laura Stone in 2015, when Grégoire-Trudeau was confronted about something her husband said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada’s national public broadcaster, about his memoir.
Trudeau was asked about extramarital affairs — something he denied.
Grégoire Trudeau laughed at the idea of their private lives being open and exposed.
“I can tell you right away that no marriage is easy,” she then said. “I’m almost kind of proud of the fact that we’ve had hardship, yes, because we want authenticity,” and added that “we’re both dreamers and we want to be together for as long as we can.”
Canadians followed every development in the romance. Trudeau proposed Oct. 18, 2004, on what would have been his father’s 85th birthday.
“There was champagne and oysters,” he told an interviewer, “and I got down on one knee.”
The engagement was front-page news in Canada.
They married in May 2005, in what Chatelaine magazine described as “a sweet and appropriately understated fairy-tale wedding.”
At the time, Trudeau spoke only hypothetically about a future life in politics. “It’s certainly a good ways off,” he said at the time. Asked for her take, Grégoire Trudeau said she had faith she’d adapt.
Just after the October 2015 election swept the Liberals to power, Vogue profiled Canada’s new prime minister. Few remember the article; but everyone talked about the jaw-dropping photo of the two embracing that accompanied the piece.
The caption that accompanied a portrait by Norman Jean Roy said: “Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau (in an Oscar de la Renta dress), says of their first date, ‘At the end of dinner he said, ‘I’m 31 years old, and I’ve been waiting for you for 31 years.’”
Trudeau insists he intends to lead his party into a fourth campaign, and party insiders say that vote won’t come until 2025 — the scheduled date of the next federal election, when a governing deal with the left-wing New Democratic Party expires.
But the timing of the next election is ultimately up to the prime minister and can send voters to the polls whenever he wants.
The impacts of such a deeply personal and life-changing event on the prime minister’s ambition or desire to govern are immediately unclear.
Trudeau’s parents, former prime minister Pierre and Margaret, went through a divorce during the elder Trudeau’s final months in office in 1984. They had separated years earlier in 1977, three elections and approximately nine years into Pierre’s run in office.
Justin Trudeau has been in power for almost eight years, and has also won three elections.
In a 1979 memoir, “Beyond Reason,” Margaret Trudeau described marrying a prime minister in dramatic terms. “A glass panel was gently lowered into place around me,” she wrote, “like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light.”
Grégoire Trudeau has a book of her own in the works. “Closer Together” is touted as “a deeply personal journey toward self-knowledge, acceptance and empowerment.”
The book, a memoir punctuated with journaling prompts and interviews with wellness experts, is scheduled to be published in April by Penguin Random House Canada.
Advance material about the book promises that Grégoire Trudeau will explore questions that matter most for growth. “What do we need from our relationships, and what can we contribute to them?” for example.
And another: “How can we let go of what doesn’t serve us and nurture what does?”