There was a time in 2004 when Russell Crow couldn't be photographed without Danielle Spencer dangling off his arm, but then they had children and actual life got in the way.

The Oscar winning star and his musician wife - who have been married for nine years and have two sons Charles, eight, and Tennyson, six, together - are reported to have amicably separated, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The couple has so far refused to comment but friends close to the couple are said to be shocked and the actor is said to be devastated.

Sources are blaming the Les Miserables star's busy schedule for their break-up as back-to-back filming has forced him to spend most of his time overseas while his family remained at their home in Sydney. The 48-year-old Gladiator star is currently filming his fifth movie this year, the biblical epic Noah in the US, and recently completed filming on the Superman reboot Man of Steel.

He will next be seen on the big screen in 'The Man With The Iron Fists' starring alongside Lucy Liu, which hits cinemas in December, followed later that month by Les Miserables. Consider yourselves up to date with all of Russell's many projects. Hang on, there's one more:

The actor is reportedly hoping to keep busy to take his mind off the split and just signed on to star in the new fantasy movie Winter's Tale alongside Will Smith, due to start shooting early next year.

Russell and 43-year-old Danielle first crossed paths 22 years ago on the set of the movie The Crossing and were married in a purpose-built chapel at Crowe's farm in Nana Glen, near Coffs Harbour in Australia in April, 2003.

Danielle, who appeared on Australia's Dancing With The Stars earlier this year - has often been praised for being a much-needed calming influence on her husband.

Crowe once said he and Spencer had a 'deep respect' and 'mutual understanding' for each other from the first time they met on set. And shortly after their wedding, he revealed: "I've been thinking about it for a long time so I don't have any second thoughts. The thought [of marrying her] crossed my mind the first time I met her."