Key Points:

Act leader Rodney Hide may have danced the last two-step with his wife of more than 20 years.

The clodhopping Dancing with the Stars Epsom MP confirmed he had separated from Singaporean-born wife Jiuan Jiuan after 23 years together.

The couple have a 17-year-old son, Li-Wen, and co-own a property in the Auckland suburb of Kohimarama.

The separation is the latest in a procession of life changes for 50-year-old Hide, once regarded as one of Parliament's most pugnacious MPs for his perk-busting escapades.

Since his show-stopping appearances on Dancing with the Stars last year where he cavorted around the dancefloor in Lycra and sequins, the MP - once dubbed "Rhino" for his stocky 130kg stature - has lost close to 30kg.

So impressed was Hide with his svelte new figure he even agreed to show it off for the media, appearing topless in photographs during training for his much-publicised 2.8km swim across the Waitemata Harbour.

Following the physical transformation came the political transformation.

Hide waved goodbye to the muck-raking, scandal-mongering tactics of the past to reveal a much softer side, promising to pursue "politics of substance".

He was reluctant to go into detail about the marriage break-up, saying the separation was amicable and no other parties were involved.

"We separated over summer and it's a private matter," he said.

Jiuan could not be reached for comment.

Hide met Jiuan while they were at university together in Christchurch. On completing her studies she returned to Singapore, but reunited with Hide years later when he was on a trip through Asia.

Jiuan followed him to New Zealand and in 1983 the couple were married.