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Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and his wife separate

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich stands with his Russian model girlfriend Daria Zhukova before the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow May 21, 2008. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File photo
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich stands with his Russian model girlfriend Daria Zhukova before the UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester United at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow May 21, 2008. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, 50, the owner of Chelsea soccer team, and his wife, gallery owner Daria Zhukova, 36, have separated, the couple said in a statement on Monday.

"After 10 years together, the two of us have made the difficult decision to separate, but we remain close friends, parents, and partners in the projects we developed together," the statement said.

Abramovich had two previous marriages. The couple met in 2005 and were married a few years later, according to the Wall Street Journal newspaper.

Zhukova and Abramovich, who is ranked number 139 in the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest people, have two children together.

(Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Christian Lowe and Catherine Evans)

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