Signs of an explosive split between actors Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans started to trickle in on Monday. First, a series of now-deleted tweets from Evans announcing “sad news” and that she was being “mentally tortured”. Then a reply to a follower admitting she had “lost [her] mind”.
The bombshell tweets have since been removed from Evans’ account - she later alleged it was her husband who deleted them - but today, the separation was officially confirmed via a joint statement: “'As you can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for our family and we remain committed to our children,” the couple told MailOnline. “Thank you for respecting our privacy.”
The news will come as a shock for fans of the Hollywood couple, who have been married for 13 years and together for two decades. But some say there have been clues for a while now: Gruffudd made hints about marriage problems during an interview last year and his father has since told reporters there have been issues between the pair for some time.
From how they first met to Monday’s Twitter meltdown, this is what we know so far.
How did they meet?
Evans and Gruffudd first met on the set of 102 Dalmatians in 2000, when the model-turned-Vampire Diaries actress was in a relationship with Pablo Picasso's grandson Olivier.
She reportedly dismissed the Welsh actor at first - he is two years her junior - but later broke off her engagement to Picasso and moved into a flat in Kilburn, north-west London with Gruffudd and his best friend, the actor Matthew Rhys.
Gruffudd said: “It wasn’t love at first sight, but it grew by working together and being around each other. The day before we met, Alice’s mum died and her life had been turned upside down.”
The Welsh actor, best known for his roles in Fantastic 4 and Horrible Bosses, offered Evans stability after her mother’s death and he has since gushed about their “fantastic relationship”.
“When we first got engaged, there were a lot of people who were like, ''Oh actors who are married can get quite difficult because there's too many egos involved.'' But we've just had a fantastic relationship,” he told an interview with Who.
How long have they been together?
The pair have been together for two decades and married for 13. They wed in a small ceremony in Mexico in 2007 and Gruffudd since said marrying made their bond grow even stronger.‘
“Until I got married I didn’t think it was possible to elevate our relationship any higher, I thought it was already perfect,” he later said in an interview. "But marriage did elevate it.’
The couple went on to have two daughters, Ella, 11, and Elsie, seven, both of whom were conceived through IVF after Evans discovered she had a low antral follicle count at the age of 38.
"She has her dad's big brown eyes but not his unfeasibly long tongue, thank goodness. I know how lucky I am. I won the lottery," Evans wrote in the Daily Mail at the time.
“I get to kiss goodnight to the two most precious human beings I've ever met. My goal now is to get the word out. Don't wait until it's too late.”
In 2018 Gruffudd came out in support of his wife after she spoke of a “sinister” encounter she experienced with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, in which she alleges he propositioned her and invited her to join him in a hotel bathroom.
"I just wanted to hold her hand and walk her through it," Gruffudd told The Sunday post, despite reportedly previously advising Evans not to go public about Weinstein. "She's an extraordinary woman, fiercely strong and bright and one of the bravest people I know.'
He then told The Guardian last year: “I was very proud of Alice. Because women were not being believed. She wanted to say, 'No, this is definitely his modus operandi. This is how he behaves. I've witnessed it.' So she wanted to present the case, help bolster the case.”
Were there signs the relationship was in trouble?
Talk of problems in the marriage began last year when Gruffudd told The Guardian he and his wife had “struggled” to make time for each other because of work commitments.
He said in an interview: “I think we've struggled the past four years, making time for each other because physically we're apart.”
Recently, the actor has spent long stints away from his family filming TV drama Harrow.
Evans posted a picture of their daughters welcoming her husband home in March and when he returned from filming the third series of TV drama Harrow in Australia last summer, she posted a picture of them cuddling back at home, captioned: “He’s back and he’s grumpier than ever (shhh!).”
What did Evans post on Twitter?
Rumbles of trouble between the couple began late on Monday night, when Evans took to Twitter to post a series of extraordinary statements.
“Sad news,” she began the first tweet at 10.25pm. “My beloved husband/soulmate of 20 years, Ioan Gruffudd, has announced he is to leave his family, starting next week.
“Me and our young daughters girls are very confused and sad. We haven’t been given a reason except that he ‘no longer loves me’. I’m so sorry.”
The original statement was then deleted, with Evans alleging that it was her estranged husband who had accessed her account to remove the tweet.
Later that night came a second Twitter statement: "Hi there. I didn't delete the tweet from a few hours ago about him leaving. He did. From my account...
“And hell yes when I am being gaslit and mentally tortured then hell yes I will wash my linen in public”.
This tweet was also then deleted, but Evans later responded directly to a follower who told told her it was a “weird” thing to be posting on Twitter. “Why? I have lost my mind,” she wrote.
A second follower replied to say that “stating it publicly” was a form of acceptance, to which Evans responded: “This is exactly why. And than you. Six months of harassment: yes/no/maybe. I cannot live like this anymore'."
It is unknown whether the couple would have gone public with their split if it wasn’t for Monday’s Twitter meltdown, but today they were forced to release a statement.
“'As you can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for our family and we remain committed to our children,” they told MailOnline. “Thank you for respecting our privacy.”
A friend of Evans has since told reporters: "Obviously there is a lot of trouble there and obviously he’s keeping a lid on it. She’s probably very upset to go so far publicly with it.
"There is a feeling that there’s probably another person involved.
“Alice is quite a smart cookie, so her going public might be her way of trying to smoke somebody out, if you get my drift, and create a bit of scandal to expose any infidelity.”
A second friend of Evans’ told MailOnline she was “not at all surprised” to hear the marriage had imploded so extraordinarily given Gruffudd’s flirty reputation and Evans’ obvious misery.
Meanwhile Gruffudd's father has weighed into the reaction around the split, claiming their relationship had been on the rocks for some time.
From his home near Cardiff in South Wales, retired headteacher Peter Griffiths, 72, told MailOnline: "As a family you are aware of these things going on.
"I have spoken to Ioan and we are of course incredibly sad but I do not want to go into too much detail.
“We are very sad, particularly for our two granddaughters. It is just very sad, but these things do happen and marriages do end.”