Nicholas Sparks and wife of 25 years separate

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Nicholas Sparks And Wife Cathy Split After 25 Years Of Marriage

For one of the most prolific romance writers, there won't be a "happily ever after."

Nicholas Sparks -- the author of "The Notebook," "Walk To Remember," "Message in a Bottle" and many other popular romance novels -- is separating from his wife of 25 years.

The 49-year-old bestselling author told PEOPLE, "Cathy and I have separated. This is, of course, not a decision we've made lightly. We remain close friends with deep respect for each other and love for our children. For our children's sake, we regard this as a private matter."

Nicholas Sparks Divorce
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Nicholas Sparks and wife of 25 years separate
HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 05: Writers Nicholas Sparks and wife Cathy arrive for the Premiere Of Relativity Media's 'Safe Haven' held at The TCL Chinese Theater on February 5, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
Nicholas Sparks, producer of "Safe Haven" and author of the novel upon which the film is based, poses with his wife Cathy at the US premiere of the film on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
From left, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm, actor Hill Harrow, author Nicholas Sparks and his wife Cathy pose for a photo at a fan lunch at the inaugural Nicholas Sparks Celebrity Family Weekend on April, 20, 2012 in New Bern, North Carolina. The weekend includes a celebrity golf tournament, a 5K run, boat tours, a family fun night, and a screening of Sparks' new film The Lucky One. The weekend’s proceeds will benefit the Nicholas Sparks Foundation, which supports global education initiatives for youth through the Epiphany School in New Bern, NC, wounded warriors through Hope for the Warriors, and assistance dogs for people with disabilities through Paws With a Cause. (AP Photo/ Nicholas Sparks, WhoSay)
Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Cathy Sparks, Nicholas Sparks attending the Los Angeles Premiere of ''Safe Haven'' held at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 5, 2013. 2013.(Credit Image: © D. Long/Globe Photos/ live news)

Back in 2013, Sparks sat down with HuffPost Live and explained how his wife inspired many of the strong female characters in his stories.

"I married a woman who loves a lot," he said to host Nancy Redd. "Certainly every female character I've ever crafted is a lot like my wife. They're intelligent and loyal, they're funny. And most of all, they're not wishy-washy women. They're good, solid women."

Nicholas and Cathy sparks married in 1989 and have five children between the ages of 12 and 23; three sons and two daughters.

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