The many, many rumors are true: Reuters reports that everyone's favorite shirtless Russian president is getting divorced from his wife Lyudmila after 30 years of wedded bliss. No word yet on when we'll get some more photos of their mysterious daughters. Perhaps now the floodgates will open and a secretive family past will pour forth – all funneled through the National Enquirer, of course.
According to Lyudmila, it was a choice the two made together because "we barely see each other." She also says she dislikes the publicity and that "flying is difficult for me" (this will become important later). Putin's spokesman didn't actually know whether they were legally divorced or just saying they were divorced which seems like something you might want to clear up with your boss before talking to the press. They will, however, remain friends.
The Putins have been dodging divorce rumors for years. In 2010, Putin was rumored to dating and even to have secretly married Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva and was seen without his wedding ring. He has also been linked to ex-spy Anna Chapman, who seems sort of like a character from a James Bond novel/film. Previously, Putin's spokesman has said that he's not photographed often with Lyudmila because of his "immense workload."
In 2011, people thought Lyudmila – who was previously a flight attendant and is a linguist – might have moved into a monastery, either to become a nun or because Putin had sent her there, the way "Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great had once done with inconvenient women in their lives." Think about that for as long as you like.
Here's the couple in happier times, with President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, with whom you may be familiar:
And with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie. They're so good at greeting dignitaries together, how did this love die?:
Maybe they weren't spending enough time together because when they went to these fancy gatherings, Putin would spend the whole time chatting with dudes in ridiculous outfits and Lyudmila would just have to sit there in a less impressive chair and hold the flowers:
This is like Tipper and Al all over again.