Dancing on Ice judge Ashley Banjo and his wife Francesca Abbott have announced their split after 16 years together.

The pair, who share two children, Rose and Micah, revealed that they separated nearly 18 months ago and feel that it is now the time to share the news publicly.

In a lengthy statement, shared on both of their Instagram accounts, the couple said that their priority will be be their two young children and they will continue to be best friends to each other moving forward.

Announcing the news, the statement read: "After much thought and consideration we both feel now is the time to share some personal news.

"Nearly 18 months ago we took the difficult decision to separate. After being together for over 16 years, since we were teenagers, this is not a decision that has been taken lightly.


"It has not been easy and the processing of the situation has not been fast by any means. But we feel that as we approach the new year it is time to share this news with others.

"Our main focus will always be our beautiful children. Every decision that has been made is to make sure we can continue as a loving family and give the very best of ourselves as parents.

"Raising Rose and Micah in a healthy and happy environment is the most important thing to both of us.

The pair, who began dating when they were teenagers, explained that they had moved in "different directions" as the lengthy statement went on: "Sometimes after so many years people just move in different directions, but we do so lovingly and we continue to try and be both the best parents possible and the best of friends to each other.

"We have always been private with our personal lives, so we kindly ask that everyone please continue to respect that privacy. We won't be making any further comment on the situation."

The pair concluded: "Thank you… Lots of Love Ash and Chess x."

Ashley and Francesca got engaged in 2014 and tied the knot in 2015.

Diversity dancer Ashley once opened up about their first date, revealing that he took her to the Science Museum in London.

He wrote on Instagram: "14 years ago I couldn't drive, so I took this girl on a date to the science museum to try and make her laugh and impress her with how much I knew about the nerdiest subjects possible instead."

The couple's son Micah was born in 2020, joining older sister Rose, who arrived in 2019.

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