She Inspired His Music, but Now John Denver and Annie Are Saying Goodbye Again

updated 08/09/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/09/1982 AT 01:00 AM EDT

She filled up his senses, he sang, "like a night in a forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain." John Denver's 1974 Annie's Song was one of his biggest hits and made a contemporary muse out of his shy wife, the former Ann Martell. Now, sadly, after 15 years, one of showbiz's most celebrated marriages has hit a Rocky Mountain low. Denver, 38, has moved out of their Aspen home, where Annie, 35, is tending their two adopted children, Zachary, 8, and Anna Kate, 5. "Annie initiated it and is quite happy," divulges an insider. Says Denver's publicist Paul Bloch: "There's no mention of a divorce. It's a separation with no time frame." Yet, as another source notes, "There have been problems in the past but never a separation as formal as this." Denver, now taking time off between tours, is said to be living outside Aspen.

His roadaholic schedule seems to be the cause of the split. He wrote Leaving on a Jet Plane for Peter, Paul and Mary, but it has been a way of life for John, who has toured upwards of eight months a year. Last summer he spent several weeks in China (where he wrote his current hit Shanghai Breezes after a phone call with Annie). Denver was brought up in an Air Force family (his father, Henry John Deutschendorf, died in March) and admits to "a bit of wanderlust." Over the years he has chronicled the strain on Annie (they survived a six-day breakup in 1974) in such songs as Goodbye Again ("I'm sorry to be leavin' you...Why do we always fight when I have to go?"). But perhaps the title song from his new LP, Seasons of the Heart, best describes his feelings now: "Sometimes I just don't know you/There's a stranger in our home/When I'm lying right beside you/Is when I'm most alone/Still I wouldn't try to change you/There's no one that's to blame/It's just some things that mean so much/And we just don't feel the same."*


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