Initially, the timing seemed terrible. When actor Kyle MacLachlan first laid eyes on supermodel Linda Evangelista at a Tune 1992 fashion shoot, he was fresh from a relationship with Twin Peaks costar Lara Flynn Boyle—and Evangelista was five years into her marriage to Gérald Marie, then head of the Elite modeling agency's Paris branch. But what a difference a few weeks can make. In August 1992, Evangelista and Marie separated, and by the end of that year she and MacLachlan were a pair. Dividing their time since then between his Los Angeles home and her apartment in New York City's Greenwich Village, the couple managed to keep out of the headlines, even after becoming engaged a few years ago. "I have my head on my shoulders," Evangelista told London's Evening Standard last year, adding, "I have a beautiful, beautiful, private home life."

It's not private anymore. On July 29, a spokesman for MacLachlan, 39, announced that their engagement was off and that the couple "have decided to go their separate ways." A few days earlier, Evangelista, 33, was snapped frolicking on the beach in Saint-Tropez with French World Cup soccer star Fabien Barthez, 27. Her spokeswoman insists that Evangelista is currently unattached, saying only that she and MacLachlan "slowly grew apart" and had, in fact, split up several months ago.

That was news to some of their pals. Ole Henriksen, Evangelista's Los Angeles facialist, who recently heard about the breakup from another client, last spoke to Evangelista on May 10, her birthday, and found her "in great spirits," he recalls. "Kyle was throwing a party for her, and she was all excited." The split does seem genuinely amiable. "We'll always remain friends, and our families are still close," Evangelista says. "I still see Kyle regularly—as well as our two dogs. The bond will always be there."