The 'Kiss From A Rose' hitmaker - who raises four children, Leni, seven, Henry, six, Johan, five, and two-year-old Lou, with the German supermodel - explained the couple still "very much love each other", despite announcing their split yesterday (23.01.12).
He said: "The thing that I'm most proud about this great woman who married, and I really do mean that from the bottom of my heart, is that together she has given me four incredible gifts ... four beautiful children.
"She is still, in my opinion, the most wonderful woman in the world. I think our priority was to remain civil and do this thing with dignity. We still very much love each other.
"To say that neither of us were grieving would be an out-and-out lie, and I don't mind telling you that."
The 48-year-old star - who met Heidi in 2004 when she was pregnant with daughter Leni from her previous relationship with Italian businessman Flavio Briatore - admitted he will continue to wear his wedding ring as a "token" of how he feels about the model.
He added in an interview with talk show host Ellen Degeneres: "I think we were shocked. You go into these things with the greatest intentions when you say 'I do' and you say ''til death do us part.' Those vows hold value. They are not just words.
"I think it's just pretty much a token of how I feel about this woman. We have eight years. Eight wonderful years together. Just because we have decided to separate doesn't necessarily mean you take off your ring and you're no longer connected to that person.
"We will be connected in many ways for the rest of our lives ... though our children and also through this tremendous admiration, respect and love that we have for each other.
"Will we wear The Ring for the rest of our lives? Who knows? But right now it feels really comfortable on my hand so I have intentions of taking it off anytime soon."