Hollywood directing couple Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola have spent this summer (03) apart - leading pals to speculate their marriage is on the rocks.

Being John Malkovich filmmaker Jonze, born ADAM SPIEGEL, and Francis Ford COPPOLA's daughter married in 1999 at a star-studded ceremony where cult crooner TOM WAITS sang HERE COMES THE BRIDE - but, according to sources quoted on the PAGESIX website, the pair are experiencing real problems.

A pal says, "Sofia is fed up with Spike being completely obsessed with his career. And she never sees him anymore. Plus, he doesn't want kids and she does."

VIRGIN SUICIDES director Sofia also recently checked into Los Angeles' Chateau Marmont hotel, prompting reports she'd moved out of the couple's nearby house.

However, her spokeswoman SYLVIA DESROCHERS insists, "It's not true at all. Sofia's been in New York for most of the summer and Spike has been working in Europe. She's still at their house when she's in Los Angeles. She only checked into the Marmont for two days to do press for her new movie Lost In Translation. Everything's fine."

Desrochers adds, "I think because they haven't been seen out together as much it's causing people to wonder, but it's just that they've both been really busy. They're like any other Hollywood couple."

Jonze's agent VICTORIA METZGER insists there's "no story" - but when asked whether the couple are having difficulties, replies only, "They're the only two people who know that."

With ADAPTATION, for which Chris Cooper won an OSCAR and Meryl Streep received a nomination, Jonze's career surged ahead of Sofia's.

But she has high hopes for Lost in Translation, with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, which opens in America next month (SEP03).

13/08/2003 13:59