Brace yourselves, Notebook fans: Nicholas Sparks and Cathy, his wife of 25 years, have separated.

That's according to People, and confirmed by the 49-year-old writer himself: "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." As recently as October 2013, he was still citing his wife as his novelistic inspiration. Via the New York Daily News:

In fact, Sparks admits that his muse is his wife Cathy, who he's been married to since 1989.

"Every morning when I wake up and see my wife. That is the kind of love that I write about in the novels," he said.

But Sparks did tell People back in 2003 that he prefers not to dole out marriage advice: "There are people who are probably much better at marriage than I am—they've lasted a lot longer. I could probably learn from them."

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So if you're a fan, prepare for fewer books about first love that never, ever dies (i.e., The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, I'll stop or we'll be here all day), more books about divorced middle-aged couples finding bittersweet love (i.e., Nights in Rodanthe). Or maybe he'll work through it all by killing characters in ever-more creative, gruesome ways.

Image via Getty.