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Downton Abbey ‘s Hugh Bonneville has split up from his wife Lulu Williams after being married for 25 years, with insiders claiming the separation has left Lulu in despair.
A source told The Sun: ‘It is clear that Lulu feels as if 20-odd years of marriage counts for nothing.’
It comes just days after Bonneville, 59, attended Downton Abbey co-star Michelle Dockery’s wedding ceremony without Lulu, 55.
A spokesperson for Bonneville confirmed that the couple had separated after living together for 25 years at their home in West Sussex.
Bonneville and Lulu were last seen together in public at the Old Vic Theatre in London for a gala in April.
Bonneville still wore his gold wedding ring while attending the Coronation Concert in May
Bonneville and Lulu were last seen together in public at the Old Vic Theatre in London for a gala in April
But speculation grew after Bonneville attended the wedding ceremony of Michelle Dockery and Jasper Waller-Bridge last week with neither his wedding ring or his partner of 25 years
Hugh Bonneville and Lulu Evans at the Viceroy’s House, film premiere, London, UK – 21 Feb 2017
Actor Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Williams pose for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film Paddington in London, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014
Lulu often accompanied her husband to premieres and film sets and her recent absence sparked rumours the pair were having troubles.
The actor, famous for his role as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, had never shied away from expressing his love for Lulu, having previously called her his ‘bedrock’ and ‘anchor’ and crediting his wife for being the backbone of their household.
Bonneville was spotted flashing a grin at Dockery’s lavish wedding to Jasper Waller-Bridge – the brother of Fleabag creator Phoebe – without his wedding ring just last week.
A spokesperson for Hugh told The Sun: ‘Hugh has been away from home filming a lot this year. He has lost a bit of weight this summer, he was looking trim, tanned and relaxed.’
The heartbreak comes just five years after the couple renewed their vows at Graceland chapel in Las Vegas.
The pair met as teens but reconnected later in life and got together in their 30s, thanks in no small part to Hugh’s mother Patricia.
Hugh has said: ‘Lulu was running a marquee company… my mother rang her to hire some chairs or something and said, ”Do you remember Hugh?”
‘It did infuriate me that I had to give full credit to my mum for reintroducing us.’
Bonneville and Lulu later tied the knot in November 1998.
Hugh Bonneville and Lulu Williams attending the world premiere of Downton Abbey, held at the Cineworld Leicester Square, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday September 9, 2019
Actor Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Williams, attend on day four of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon
Cast member Hugh Bonneville and his wife Lulu Evans (R) arrive on the red carpet for a screening of the movie ‘The Monuments Men’ at the 64th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin on February 8, 2014
Lulu regularly joined her husband while on set, including in 2013 while he was filming The Monuments Men with George Clooney.
Bonneville also admitted in 2009 that his wife helped him to lose weight after saying he was as ‘fat as a pig’.
While appearing as a castaway on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he selected Mama Cass’s 1968 hit Dream A Little Dream as a tribute to Lulu.
The couple enjoyed entertaining their friends at weekends and walking their two Tibetan terriers, Teddy and Sasha.
During the pandemic, Lulu and her husband – who she nicknamed ‘luvvie’ – both were volunteer marshalls at their local NHS vaccine centre
In previous interviews Bonneville claimed he was ‘completely indebted’ to his wife for the way she supported him throughout his career while looking after their son Felix, 20, who himself has enjoyed success on the screen.
‘Lulu’s priority has been to be a bedrock for Felix and me and I’m completely indebted to her,’ he said.
Lulu regularly joined her husband while on set, including in 2013 while he was filming The Monuments Men (pictured at the movie’s UK premiere in Leicester Square) with George Clooney
Bonneville has played Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in the BBC period drama since it launched in 2010 – a role for which he has won a Golden Globe – and revealed that the Royal Family are among the popular series’ many fans.
He was later appointed Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex by the Royal Family in 2019.
His first major film role was in Frankenstein as the right leg of Robert De Niro’s character the Monster.
More recently he has starred in two Paddington movies, and has been signed on to appear in the third installment, which has entered into production.
Next Sunday he is set to perform at the Battle of Britain Royal Gala at the Royal Air Force Club in London.
He said of the appointment: ‘It’s nice because it’s in my county where I live and I do quite a lot of stuff like visiting schools and reading a lot of Paddington. It’s really the same thing, but just with a badge. I’m very honoured.’
He was seen wearing his gold ring while attending the King’s Coronation Concert on May 7 – again without Lulu.