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Goodbye friend: Keira Knightley and actor beau Rupert split after five years

13 JANUARY 2011

Celebrity heartache - the breakups of 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley and her boyfriend Rupert Friend have called time on their romance after five years together.

The actress' father confirmed the break up – which is believed to be a mutual decision - this week to a British newspaper.

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TV and theatre actor Will Knightley told the Sun: "Yes, they have broken up.

"But that's the way things go, unfortunately. The only option is to get on with things.

"They were together for quite a long time and it is always hard breaking up. She's focused on her work."

Since meeting on the set of Pride and Prejudice in 2005, the couple have conducted a very private romance away from the public eye.

Kiera's close friend Sienna Miller recently praised their relationship.

"They live a wonderful life. They read books and discuss topics and cook for their friends. It's the kind of life I aspire to," she said.

Fiercely protective of her private life, Keira has steadfastly refused to talk about Rupert in interviews.

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But friends of the couple say the pressures of being in the public eye have largely contributed to the split.

Keira herself has often expressed her dislike of being in the public eye. Indeed, when she took a year off acting after 2007 film Atonement she said she wasn't sure if she was "going to return to acting at all".

"It's very strange," she said at the time. "Because you're meant to be very grateful. - [celebrity] is supossed to be everything you've ever dreamt of. But it's b*******."

And last month she reiterated how difficult it is coping with the attention of the press during an interview with Vogue magazine.

"I was told very early on that if I didn't go out to openings and parties and events I would be left alone. I didn't, and they still didn't leave me alone," she said.

"I knew it was part of the deal in the life I had signed up to, but the fear of it has never left me.

"I'm still not good at being recognised. I wear scruffy clothes and hats and keep my head well down."

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