By Caroline Graham and Sharon Churcher
It should have been the glittering highlight of their seven-year union.
Multi-millionaire superstars Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were due to be guests of honour at the top table with Prince William and Kate at last weekend’s glittering Bafta gala in Hollywood.
Instead, J-Lo sashayed down the red carpet in a provocatively clinging green Pucci gown accompanied by her mother, Guadalupe, a former kindergarten teacher from the Bronx. She was also missing her wedding ring.
Mum's the word: Jennifer Lopez and her mother Lupe meet Prince William and his wife Catherine at the Bafta gala in Hollywood
Royal aides, along with the singer-actress’s millions of fans, were mystified.
But on Friday night in a statement issued through J-Lo’s publicist, the couple, worth an estimated £240 million, announced they are to divorce.
They called the decision ‘painful’ and ‘difficult’. But The Mail on Sunday has spoken to several of the couple’s closest confidantes and can reveal they began to drift apart three years after their marriage in June 2004.
‘This is not a surprise,’ J-Lo’s stylist Phillip Bloch said in an exclusive interview last night.
‘Marc is very controlling. In the beginning she liked that because he stood up to her, and in the early days he was very much in love with her and she was with him.’
But the couple are said to have begun to squabble soon after 41-year-old J-Lo’s mother moved into their Long Island, New York mansion in 2008 to help look after their newborn twins.
‘They also clashed when she learned he owed millions in unpaid taxes on the Long Island estate,’ said film-maker Ed Meyer, an associate of J-Lo’s first husband, Cuban-born club-owner Ojani Noa.
‘The other problem was that they couldn’t agree where to live.
'J-Lo’s career is in Hollywood and she wanted to live in their Malibu mansion and Marc loved New York. She was going to move to New York in a last-ditch effort to save the marriage. But last Monday I heard it was all over.’
In November 2002 – after a second failed marriage, to backing dancer Cris Judd – Jennifer became engaged to actor Ben Affleck, declaring he was ‘the one’.
But The Mail on Sunday has learned that years before, another man, top Latin American recording artist Marc Anthony, had become infatuated with her.
J-Lo broke up with Affleck in January 2004.
That June Marc, now 42, finalised his divorce from former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres.
Marriages Jennifer with previous husbands Ojani Noa, left and Chris Judd, right
Four days later they married at Jennifer’s home in Beverly Hills.
They presented themselves as a fairytale couple.
But soon after the birth of the twins, the couple are said to have begun to argue.
Bond: Jennifer Lopez with her mother, Lupe, during a live appearance for the debut of her new fragrance Love and Light this month
‘J-Lo’s mother wanted to run her life and Marc wanted to run her life and I don’t think J-Lo wanted anyone to control her,’ said Meyer.
Friends say J-Lo made one last attempt to save the marriage with her offer to move back to New York.
‘She fought to make it work for the sake of the children,’ said Phillip Bloch. ‘She desperately did not want a third divorce.’
Film royalty: Jennifer Lopez shares a kiss with her then fiance actor Ben Affleck at the Academy Awards in 2003