Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, spent Thursday evening at the ballet. Afterward, the couple went on live television and announced that they are getting a divorce. RT with the details (and translation):
“It was our joint decision, our marriage is over,” President Putin said in the interview to Russia24 state channel. The announcement was made at the Grand Kremlin Palace, where Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin attended the Esmeralda ballet.
Asked to confirm if that was a divorce, Lyudmila Putina, who was standing by the President’s side, told the media “Yes, you can say that, this is civilized divorce.” … However, Mrs. Putin said “they will always be friends.”
The couple have been married for 30 years, but rumors of marital problems had long swirled about Russia’s first couple. According to the BBC, the already media-shy Lyudmila had avoided the public spotlight in recent months, something that only prompted further speculation that the pair was on the outs.
Prior to tonight’s trip to the ballet, the couple hadn’t been seen together in public since Putin was sworn in for his third term in May of last year. Given that, it’s probably a good bet that the post-ballet announcement was pre-planned by the Russian strongman. (Although, according to the BBC, the couple left the ballet after the first act, so perhaps there was at least a small impromptu aspect of the big reveal.)
Regardless, Putin is soon-to-be a single man. Let’s all take a minute to guess what photo he’ll use for his online dating profile. (The possibilities are almost endless.)