LATEST: SIR Ben Kingsley has confirmed his split with his wife of 16-months ALEXANDRA, but insists the pair remain "close" friends.

The OSCAR-winning actor, 61, has separated from his 30-year-old spouse, who is now living back in her native Berlin, Germany and dating property developer SAMMY BRAUNER, the son of German film producer ARTHUR BRAUNER.

Kingsley's publicist says, "For some time now Ben and Alexandra have been leading separate lives.

"They remain fond of each other and will continue to be close."

Kingsley met his third wife in 2002 when she was an advertising saleswoman and he was attending the city's film festival.

23/01/2005 14:40