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Sherlock stars Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington split after 16 years together

Gemma Strong

Martin Freeman and his longtime partner Amanda Abbington have ended their relationship. The Sherlock co-stars, who met in 2000 and are parents to two children, Joe, ten, and Grace, eight, both confirmed their split in separate interviews, with Martin telling the Financial Times: "I'm not with Amanda anymore. It's very, very amicable – I'll always love Amanda."

Amanda, meanwhile, was more candid about their separation in an interview with next week's Sunday Telegraph. Citing Martin's lengthy overseas filming commitments as a key reason for their split, Amanda said the pair had "realised we'd come to the end of our time together".

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Sherlock stars Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington have ended their 16 year relationship

"Martin and I remain best friends and love each other, and it was entirely amicable," she said. "There was no hostility, really, we just said that we couldn't live together anymore, so we put everything in place, he moved out to a flat in north London, I stayed at home and we've started a new chapter.

"It is sad and it is upsetting, because you think you’re going to be with someone forever, but you either do that or you break up, and we both came to the decision that splitting was best for us. We've been really lucky to make it such a clean break, especially for the kids."

She said that their resulting time apart, during which she had only spoken to Martin via Skype, cemented the decision. "You can't be away from people for too long, because you start to function on your own, and you get used to being separate [from] the person you're supposed to be with," he said. "You lose that connection and lose sight of it, in the end."

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The couple are parents to two children together, Joe, ten, and Grace, eight

Martin, 45, and Amanda, 42, met on the set of the film Men Only and, along with Sherlock, have appeared in a number of other TV and movie productions, including The Good Night and The Robinsons. They have kept their private life largely out of the public eye, but have made a few red carpet appearances together over the years.

News of their split is all the more surprising given that last December, Martin seemed to suggest the pair had finally walked down the aisle. "We might have married already," he commented during one interview. "I'm just saying – mind your own business. My job is public, why should my private life be public as well? We live in an age where you have to know everything and that is tedious."

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Martin and Amanda reunited this week to promote the New Year's Day episode of Sherlock

Similarly, Amanda previously admitted to the Guardian last year: "There's no point [in marrying]. I've got photographs of me in three different wedding dresses with him."

Despite their separation, Martin and Amanda reunited this week to help promote the highly-anticipated New Year's Day episode of Sherlock. The new series sees their characters, John and Mary Watson, introduce their baby daughter, Rosamund Mary Watson. 

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