Fern Britton has split from her husband Phil Vickery.
The 62-year-old television presenter has announced she is ending her 20-year marriage to celebrity chef Phil, 58, but that they will ‘always share a great friendship’.
The news comes just one month after the passing of Fern’s father, actor Tony Britton, who died, aged 95, three days before Christmas.
Over! Fern Britton has split from her TV chef husband Phil Vickery [pictured in 2017]
On Twitter, both Fern and Phil wrote matching statements which read: ‘After more than 20 happy years together, [we] have decided to go our separate ways. We will always share a great friendship and our lovely children.
‘We would appreciate it if our privacy is respected at this time. Thank you for your continued kindness and support. [sic]’
Fern and Phil share 18-year-old daughter Winnie, whilst the Ready Steady Cook presenter also has twins Harry and Jack, 26, and Grace, 23, with former husband Clive Jones.
The couple tied the knot 20 years ago in 2000, after Fern had split from Clive in the same year following a 12-year marriage.
On Twitter, both of them wrote matching statements which read: ‘After more than 20 happy years together, [we] have decided to go our separate ways. We will always share a great friendship and our lovely children’
Happier times: The pair are pictured together in the summer of 2017
They met on This Morning when Fern hosted the show alongside Philip Schofield – who now hosts with Holly Willoughby – and the star previously said she never thought she would find love again as a mother of three children.
Their announcement was met with support from their followers.
One fan replied to Fern, posting: ‘Oh Fern that’s so sad! Sending you lots of love and happiness to you and the family ❤️’
Another posted: ‘Oh Fern, I’m so sorry to hear this especially so soon after losing your dad. Take good care of yourself.’
Sad news: Their announcement was met with support from their followers
This was followed by: ‘@Fern_Britton U and @philvickerytv are both amazing people and I wish u both the very best for the future.’
Another mourned the news, posting: ‘So sorry. Always thought you two would be together forever.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that Fern. Hope you’ll be ok. You’ve had a tough few months so I hope the coming ones aren’t so tough ❤️,’ came another tweet.
Two years ago, Fern spoke about her and Phil’s marriage, suggesting she would rather have a cup of tea than have sex.
Where it all began: They met on This Morning, before Fern passed the hosting torch to Holly Willoughby. She and Phil are pictured on Fern’s last day in 2009
Honest: ‘Sex is great but a cup of tea is great, too. There’s nothing nicer than getting into bed with a cuppa and having a hug and a chat – that’s love,’ she told Good Housekeeping in 2018 [pictured in 2008]
‘Lust is great, but when you really love someone and you trust each other, and you’re in bed together drinking tea and chatting, that is a true relationship.’
Fern added that she would give Phil his space to do what he wants. She said: ‘He goes and has a pint with his mates, he works, or he’s with the pigs [he’s a keen farmer], and he does what he loves. If he’s happy, I’m happy. He doesn’t stop me from doing anything either.’
She revealed that Phil would also affectionately call her a ‘cockroach’ in relation to her sturdiness and impressive ability to bounce back from career pitfalls.
Fern recalled, in a previous interview: ‘One day at work, someone said, “Phil Vickery fancies you.” And I went, “Remind me – which one is he?”‘ [pictured in 2017]
‘I’ve had a lot of very tough stuff personally and professionally, and my husband, bless his heart, says to me, “You’re like a cockroach. People try to kill you but you never die”‘, she said.
‘He walks past me singing, “I get knocked down, but I get up again…” Isn’t that lovely? I think, “Well, if he has faith in me, why don’t I have faith in myself?” And my children have faith in me, too.’
Speaking previously about the start of their romance, Fern said: ‘The boys were four; Grace hadn’t even started toddling.
Lost love: Fern described Phil as her ‘life’s great love… a really amazing husband, partner, friend’ [pictured in 2015]
As they were: ‘I’ve had a lot of very tough stuff personally and professionally, and my husband, bless his heart, says to me, “You’re like a cockroach. People try to kill you but you never die”‘, she said
‘I remember thinking at the time that nobody was going to take a 40-something woman with three kids.
‘Then, one day at work, someone said, “Phil Vickery fancies you.” And I went, “Remind me – which one is he?”
‘Eventually, I kidnapped him, put him and his dirty washing – he was single at the time – in my car and drove him home. The next day, he baked me his irresistible gooseberry crumble.’
Loss: Fern’s actor father Tony Britton died aged 95 in December
Breaking the news: Fern broke the news three days before Christmas
RIP: Actor Tony and wife Ruth are pictured with their newborn daughter Fern in 1957
Fern described Phil as her ‘life’s great love… a really amazing husband, partner, friend.’
The past month has proven a difficult time for Fern, who announced her father’s death in December.
She said: ‘Our father, Tony Britton, died early this morning. Great actor, director and charmer. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’
The actor starred in classic British films including Operation Amsterdam, Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Day Of The Jackal.
He also appeared alongside Nigel Havers and Dinah Sheridan in the BBC sitcom Don’t Wait Up between 1983 to 1990.
Sadly missed: Tony and Fern are pictured in September 1995