James Nesbitt has split from Sonia Forbes-Adam, his wife of almost 20 years.

The 48-year-old actor and Forbes-Adam have two daughters together, Peggy and Mary, aged 16 and 11.

A spokesperson for the couple confirmed the news to the MailOnline, saying: "James and Sonia are living separately and have been for some time. They are on the best of terms and ask that the family’s privacy be respected."

The pair's separation was reportedly caused by Nesbitt's hectic work schedule, which saw him spending the past two years working on Peter Jackson's Lord Of the Rings prequel which was primarily based in New Zealand.

A friend of the couple said: "There have been no affairs or cheating. They simply made a rational decision to separate and have actually been living apart for quite a few months now.

"Obviously, their primary concern is for their children. Jimmy has moved out but is close by and sees the girls all the time."