Their public displays are just a PR stunt as the couple plan their split in private


Guy Ritchie rushed to be by his wife’s side in America at the end of June as news of their divorce plans reached fever pitch, but things weren’t as amicable as they attempted to portray with their awkward photo ops.

‘They’re getting divorced at the end of the year and are just back-pedalling because they’re worried that the PR situation is getting out of hand,’ says our source.

‘When someone blabbed to the press that Madonna had consulted lawyers, the reaction wasn’t meant to be so hysterical. She was testing the water to gauge the public’s reaction.

‘Nothing formal’s supposed to happen until after her world tour’s over. They’re annoyed at being forced into putting on a public show of unity.’

The movie director’s been taking counsel from his good friend Marco Pierre White, who tellingly has custody of his two boys.

Guy, 39, refuses to let the children – Lourdes, 11, fathered by Carlos Leon, Rocco, 7, and Malawian adoptee David, 2 – be hauled around the world on tour with him getting very little access.

This is the biggest sticking point in the divorce battle – Guy isn’t interested in having half of Madonna’s £210 million fortune and property-wise he only wants to keep their £9 million country estate in Ashcombe, Wiltshire.

It’s bad timing that Madonna’s estranged brother Christopher Ciccone releases his book Life With My Sister Madonna this week. In it, he says his sibling loves herself and her career more than her marriage.

Just how long can Guy and Madonna carry on playing happy families?

Another source tells Now that Guy has absolutely no intention of staying in New York for more than a couple of weeks as he has to be in London to publicise his latest film Rocknrolla, which is due out on 5 September. He’s made it clear to work associates that no family matter will ruin the chance of his new movie being a success.

See the full story in Now magazine dated 21 July 2008 – out now!