After 25 years of marriage, romance writer Nicholas Sparks -- known for his bestselling book-turned moviesThe Notebook, Message In a Bottle
and Dear John
-- is separating from his wife Cathy. "This is, of course, not a decision we've made lightly," Sparks, 49, tells People
of him and Cathy's decision to part ways. "We remain close friends with deep respect for each other and love for our children. For our children's sake, we regard this as a private matter."