Catherine Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas Separate to "Work on Their Marriage" (There's Still Hope!)

The A-list couple hasn't been photographed together since April. Zeta-Jones' rep confirms they are taking time apart, but neither has filed for divorce

Tabloids have been whispering about it for months. They've taken separate vacations. And solo walks down the red carpet. But are Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones really splitting up? 

People magazine is now reporting that it's true: "They're taking a break," says a close friend of the couple.  

Zeta-Jones' rep confirmed the news, saying in a statement: "Catherine and Michael are taking some time apart to evaluate and work on their marriage," Reuters reports. There will be no further comment, the spokeswoman added.

The news is surprising, because the high-profile pair has been together for 13 years, practically an eternity for a celebrity relationship. If their 25-year age difference -- he's 68, she's 43 -- was going to undermine their love, surely it would have happened already. But according to another one of their friends, it's happening now: "Stress has taken a toll on their marriage."

There's certainly been a lot of it lately. In 2010, Douglas was diagnosed with late-stage throat cancer and underwent aggressive treatment. The following year, Jones sought her own healing, for bipolar II disorder, and returned to a hospital in 2013 for further treatment. Also since 2010, Douglas' son Cameron has been serving a drug-related prison sentence (for possession and conspiracy to distribute) and has had his jail time extended for possessing drugs in prison. In the midst of all this, the pair have been working and raising the two children they have together, Dylan, 13, and Carys, 10.

Earlier this summer, Douglas spurred controversy when he allegedly told a British newspaper that oral sex had caused his throat cancerThough he scaled back his statement a few days later, his comments did not go over well with Jones. It's possible that this was the proverbial last straw.

Still, after 13 years together and so many struggles, there must be a lot of love still there. And there is one sign of hope: neither has filed for divorce yet. 

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.

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