New Girl star Zooey Deschanel and her producer husband Jacob Pechenik have announced that they have split after four years of marriage, deciding they are "better off as friends".

In a joint statement to US celebrity magazine People, Deschanel and Pechenik said: "After much discussion and a long period of contemplation we have decided we are better off as friends, business partners and co-parents rather than life partners. 

"We remain committed to our business, our values and most of all our children. Thank you for respecting our privacy at this time."

Thirty-nine-year-old Deschanel and 47-year-old Pechenik met on the set of the film Rock the Kasbah. They married in summer 2015 and have two children together, daughter Elsie, aged four, and two-year-old son Charlie.

Deschanel was previously married to Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard.