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Kate Winslet heads to Mexico after announcing separation from husband Sam

16 MARCH 2010

Theirs was widely considered to be one of Hollywood's strongest marriages.

So the announcement on Monday that Kate Winslet and her director husband Sam Mendes have decided to separate came as a big shock to many people. 

In an apparent move to escape media attention, the British actress has jetted to Mexico with her two children, nine-year-old Mia and son Joe, who is six.

Pictures of Kate and her kids have emerged enjoying a ride on a speedboat, while Sam, who directed his wife in 2008 drama Revolutionary Road, is believed to be staying in New York.

Last week, the 34-year-old beauty was pictured attending the Academy Awards on her own, an appearance in keeping with the couple's revelation their marriage in fact ended earlier this year.

Kate and 44-year-old Sam – both born in Reading - wed in a private, low-key ceremony in the Caribbean in May 2003.

For Oscar-winner Kate, it was her second time down the aisle; she was also married to Jim Threapleton, with whom she had her daughter, from 1998 until 2001.

Friends of the couple have echoed the official statement released by the couple, saying that the "split is amicable and is by mutual agreement."

The pair had not been seen in public together since attending Wimbledon last summer, and the actress said Sam was at home "babysitting" when she attended the 2010 Baftas and Academy Awards alone.

Kate had taken the last 12 months off following her success with The Reader to spend time with her family, and a source told the Daily Mail that she is devastated by the spilt.

Last year, Kate won a Golden Globe for her work in Revolutionary Road, which saw her reunited with Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

In her acceptance speech she thanked her husband for pushing her so hard, saying: "Thank you for directing this film, babe, and thank you for killing us every single day and really enjoying us actually being in such horrific pain."

"But I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I loved every second of working with you and it's made me love you more."

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