Eternal bachelor George Clooney's romance with Elisabetta Canalis has bitten the dust - but why?
After two years together, the dulcet-toned silver fox and his Italian actress/model girlfriend announced their shock separation yesterday.
"We are not together anymore. It's very difficult and very personal, and we hope everyone can respect our privacy," the former lovebirds said in a statement.
A further statement from Canalis' rep said: "It is a very personal and sad matter, and Elisabetta wants it to remain that way. She will be taking some time ... and then will face the press. She has not authorised me to say when the split happened."
Forget the 'when', we're all interested in the 'why'.
So what went wrong?
While there's no official word on why the long-term romance (two years is a good run for our George) hit the skids, there's plenty of lip-smacking at the water cooler over what happened.
First up, there's Clooney's unwillingness to walk down the aisle again after his failed union with actress Talia Balsam in the early '90s.
Clooney famously told ABC News' Barbara Walters in 1995 that it'll be a cold day in hell before he trots down the aisle again. He reiterated that stance to Piers Morgan in January: "I was married, so I gave it a shot."
'I am a firm believer in marriage ...'
Canalis, on the other hand, was hearing wedding bells and suggested marriage could be on the cards.
Earlier this month, the 32-year-old told Italian magazine Chi about how she was "living a fairytale" with hunky George, and was set on getting hitched.
"I am a firm believer in marriage," she told the magazine. "In the future I will be married. But for the time being I am as happy as I am, I don't need anything to confirm how happy I am."
That probably says it all. According to the Daily Mail, it was Canalis' knot-tying confab with the mag that ultimately doomed her relationship with the 50-year-old actor.
The Mail spouts that Clooney and Canalis had a furious row at his Italian lakeside home last week.
"The conversation turned to the interview she had given and about marriage and George was having nothing of it. Elisabetta then lost it because he had not come to Mexico or Cannes with her," says a source.
"The atmosphere was pretty red hot and the language was pretty fiery - it was a very fierce row and she then just stormed out of the house and went to Milan.
"It's a shame really as she had met his family and he had been to visit her family and they all got on really well together, but like any woman, Elisabetta was keen to settle down sooner rather than later."
'She drove him nuts ...'
But the writing's been on the wall for months, according to US Weekly.
A snitch tells the mag that there were signs of trouble during their New Year's getaway in Mexico.
"She drove him nuts," says the source, adding that there was "non-stop bickering over little things ... He would only hang out with his friends, and more or less left her to herself and her friends."
Clooney, according to the mag, had been "creating distance" between them for months, supposedly making excuses that work was keeping them apart.
According to E! Online, Clooney has wanted to end the relationship for ages.
"He's been trying to figure out how to get out of this for a while," says one of the actor's pals. "And let's face it, this always happens ..."
Eh, what happens?
"Right before Como! Like clockwork."
It's no secret that every summer Clooney puts pedal to the metal and bolts it to his estate on Lake Como, Italy.
The source adds: "Remember that ding-dong Sarah Larson George was dating?
"Same thing happened. Right before Como, they broke up. I'm telling you, it's the same thing here."
A different snitch has another theory. "She [Canalis] was always shy. And you know what? She didn't speak great English. To tell you the truth, I don't think George's Italian is that great, either!"
But while Clooney may be back on the market, pundits are already scrambling to pair him up with a squeeze. There's Las Vegas cocktail waitress Lawson, his former flame Renée Zellweger, or British TV presenter Lisa Snowdon - who, according to E! Online, we should be keeping an eye on.
Oh, and add recently divorced Hollywood sweetheart Sandra Bullock to the list. Clooney's co-starring with Bullock in upcoming flick Gravity, filming of which just wrapped rapped in London.
Adds the source: "He just finished filming that movie with Sandra Bullock. I'm surprised people haven't already said they're an item, but I wouldn't count on it."
I wouldn't hold my breath either.
But while Canalis is keeping it zipped about the split, her BFF Alfonso Signorini, Chi magazine editor (that's the same mag she spilled to about her marriage plans), is all over the news.
"It's all over," Signorini says (yes, we got that bit). "It has come as a real surprise to me. They were getting on really well.
"Last week I was with Elisabetta the whole day shooting a programme and we were together until 1am and she must have had about 60 text messages from George.
"I said to her 'Darling stop otherwise we will never finish here.' She was so excited about meeting him as he had a few days off from shooting his film in London.
"From what I know it was him who dumped her and she stormed out of the villa. I've tried to get her on the telephone but it's switched off."
Actually, she'll be diverting all her calls to voicemail for a while. She's busy.
Canalis was spotted with Miami Heat player Dwayne Wade at a fashion show in Milan on Tuesday, according to the New York Post - hours before the split announcement.
A source says Canalis "didn't appear too heartbroken" and was "extra flirty" with Wade, who is dating actress Gabrielle Union.
File this one under 'flirty friends'. I seriously doubt there's any romantic shenanigans at play.
And there you have it, ladies and gents. One seasoned bachelor up for grabs. Rev up your engines and get in line. But be warned: Never mention any finger bling. And if Clooney suggests a jaunt to his Lake Como bolthole, leg it!
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