Speculation is rife that Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie are heading for a split soon after it emerged that the couple have sought advice from divorce lawyers.
While the 49-year-old pop diva has approached Fiona Shackleton, who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his high profile divorce case with Heather Mills, Ritchie has sought help from a lesser-known legal firm in London, Forsters, the Daily Mail reported today.
"Guy and Madonna are at breaking point and have both separately talked to lawyers. Their friends have not ruled out all hope but the situation is dire, to say the least," an unnamed source, close to the couple, was quoted as saying.
In fact, rumours of a divorce have been doing the rounds since last month after Madonna and Ritchie, 10 years younger than her, who were at the Cannes Film Festival, did not look like two people 'who were very happy in each other's company.'
"She [Madonna] looked frail and pale, like someone under tremendous strain, and he seemed utterly miserable," a source reportedly said.
Rumours have also been fuelled by Hollywood-based online gossip Perez Hilton, who wrote on his blog: 'We refused to believe the rumours, but there's no denying it at this point. Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting a divorce.'
However, another source, who is close to Madonna's best friend, Gwyneth Paltrow, has insisted that the pair are 'still happily together.'
Both Madonna and Ritchie have declined to talk to the media about their 'fractured' marriage.