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Despite happy-looking mutual Valentine’s Day posts and no other signs of trouble, Eva Marcille has filed for divorce from Michael Sterling, her husband of four years.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta and All The Queen’s Men star, 38, filed on March 23. She said in her filing that the marriage was “irretrievably broken” and that the couple is living separately.

The estranged couple married on Oct. 7, 2018. Their lavish Atlanta wedding aired on a Real Housewives of Atlanta episode in March 2019.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but sometimes life takes your journey in a direction you were not expecting,” Marcille told PEOPLE. “Our children remain our biggest priority and the eight and half years we have spent together will always be cherished. We ask that you respect our privacy at this time.”

Sterling last posted a picture with Marcille on Valentine’s Day, calling her his “forever Valentine.”

He is an Atlanta-based trial attorney and former senior advisor to then-Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. Sterling ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2017.

Marcille and Sterling have two sons. Michael Jr. was born in 2018 and Maverick in 2019. The couple also shares Marley, 9, Eva’s daughter, from a previous relationship with singer/songwriter Kevin McCall.

Though Marcille also published a Valentine’s Day post of the couple together dancing and smiling, a clue to what could have transpired may be in a statement she released when announcing her departure from RHOA in 2020.

 

“I have a 6-year-old daughter and two young boys still in diapers,” she said at the time. “They’re 24 hours a day and there’s a lot of work to be done. So I decided to spend my time and energy focusing on my kids and my community, and not so much reality show business.”

She also said that integrating her role on RHOA with her responsibilities at home became difficult.

“It gave me so little time to be with my family, to bond with my new husband.”

Marcille, who has a starring role on the BET series All the Queen’s Men also appeared on Season 2 of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip and will return for Season 4, scheduled for later this year.

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