John Mellencamp and wife separate after 20 years

Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:30pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a post-holiday week that has seen several announcements of celebrity couplings, singer John Mellencamp and his wife Elaine have decided to do the opposite and separate.

"John and Elaine Mellencamp are proud of their 20 years together and are very happy with their accomplishments both as parents and as a family. They will continue to raise their two children in Indiana but have decided to call it a day as a couple," their spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

No further details were available.

Mellencamp gained fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s under the stage name John Cougar. His early rock hits include "Hurts So Good" and "Jack and Diane" and as his notoriety grew, he dropped the name Cougar and began performing as John Mellencamp.

While he has never regained the superstar status he enjoyed during the '80s, Mellencamp has kept a solid fan base and continued to put out albums and tour around the world.

His wife, whose maiden name is Irwin, is a model who met the singer when she was hired to appear on the cover of his "Whenever We Wanted" album. She was 23 when they married.

The week after Christmas has seen a series of celebrity marriage engagements including Reese Witherspoon to talent agent Jim Toth, singer LeAnn Rimes and actor Eddie Cibrian, actress Natalie Portman to dancer Benjamin Millepied and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman and Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Zorianna Kit)

<p>Musician John Mellencamp (R) walks hand in hand with his wife, Elaine-Irwin Mellencamp, after performing prior to the start of the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints' NFL football game in Indianapolis September 6, 2007. REUTERS/Brent Smith</p>