James Nesbitt supported by his estranged wife Sonia and their daughters at premiere

Standing on the red carpet with his wife and daughters by his side, James Nesbitt was every bit the proud family man at the Berlin premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The British actor had every reason to smile. The show of unity comes two months after James confirmed that he and Sonia Forbes-Adams had spilt after 19 years together, suggesting the couple could be heading for a reunion.

In October, a spokesman confirmed that James, 48, and Sonia — parents to Peggy and Mary — had decided to split.

"James and Sonia are living separately and have been for some time. They are on the best of terms and ask that the family's privacy be respected."

The separation was thought to be caused by James's hectic work schedule filming the J R R Tolkien film. The star, who rose to fame in Cold Feet, spent two years in New Zealand working on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings prequel, in which he stars as Bofur.

At the time, a friend told the press, "There have been no affairs or cheating. They simply made a rational decision to separate and have actually been living apart for quite a few months now.

"Obviously, their primary concern is for their children. Jimmy has moved out but is close by and sees the girls all the time."

Originally the couple, who met on a world tour of Hamlet in 1989, decide to relocate to New Zealand with their girls so they could all be together.

But in an interview at the time, James suggested that the move had been tough on his family.

"Kids at a certain age don’t necessarily want to be dragged to the other side of the world, but they’ve certainly been made to feel very welcome; they are loving the schools," he said.

"To be part of that is an adventure, not only professionally but for all of us personally as well.

"We’ve been made to feel incredibly at home. We are very aware that we are part of something significant and, hopefully, very large.'