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ENTERTAINMENT

McCartney and wife to separate

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Heather Mills and Paul McCartney were married in 2002.

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Paul McCartney
Great Britain

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills McCartney, have announced that they are separating after four years of marriage.

A joint statement issued on behalf of the couple Wednesday, blamed media attention for the split,

"Having tried exceptionally hard to make our relationship work given the daily pressures surrounding us, it is with sadness that we have decided to go our separate ways," it said.

"Our parting is amicable and both of us still care about each other very much but have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives, and we have actively tried to protect the privacy of our child," the joint statement said.

The couple have a two-year-old daughter, Beatrice Milly.

"Separation for any couple is difficult enough, but to have to go through this so publicly, especially with a small daughter, is immensely stressful.

"We hope, for the sake of our baby daughter, that we will be given some space and time to get through this difficult period."

McCartney, 63, and anti-landmines campaigner Mills, 38, married in 2002, four years after the pop legend's first wife Linda died from cancer.

McCartney, who was knighted by the British queen in 1997, is one of the world's richest rock stars, with a personal fortune put at $1.4 billion in 2004.

The Liverpool-born musician and songwriter made his name with the Beatles, alongside John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, penning classics such as "Yesterday," "Hey Jude" and "The Long and Winding Road."

His 1969 marriage to his first wife, photographer Linda Eastman, was seen as one of the most successful in show business. The couple performed together in the band "Wings" and famously spent only a handful of days apart.

He married Mills, a former model who had her left leg amputated below the knee after she was hit by a motorcycle in 1993, in a lavish ceremony at an Irish castle.

McCartney's second marriage is widely reported to have caused friction with his children from his first marriage, who include fashion designer daughter Stella.

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