American sweethearts Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey have officially split after months of speculation about the state of their three-year marriage.

The pop singers jointly announced the end of their marriage through their publicists last night (23NOV05).

In an official statement, the couple said, "After three years of marriage, and careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. This is the mutual decision of two people with an enormous amount of respect and admiration for each other. We hope that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Lachey and Simpson wed in October 2002 and became household names in America when they starred in MTV reality show NEWLYWEDS.

US tabloids have been claiming the couple were on the verge of splitting since the summer (05), highlighting stories of the pair's romantic links to other people. Simpson was at one time linked to former Jackass prankster Bam Margera.