Key Points:

Former All Black Jonah Lomu and his second wife Fiona are "taking time out" to work through personal issues, they announced tonight.

In a statement, the Lomus said they wanted to make it clear that their marriage had not ended but that they were experiencing personal challenges and were "taking time out from one another to work through these".

The Lomus said they were disappointed to have had to make a public announcement.

Spokesperson Bridget Abernethy said "This is a very personal issue and one that they had hoped to be able to work through privately.

"However, after persistence from a New Zealand women's magazine, they felt they had no other choice but to make a statement so friends and family around the world would hear it from them first.

"It is a very difficult time for them both and they ask the media and public to respect their need for privacy at this time."

Jonah Lomu and Fiona were married in August 2003. It was Lomu's second marriage - he wed Tanya Rutter in 1996.