Joan Calls It Splits

updated 02/10/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/10/1992 AT 01:00 AM EST

WHEN IT COMES TO CHILD-REARING, Joan Lunden has written the book—and made the video (Your Newborn Baby: Everything You Need to Know). The cohost of ABC's Good Morning America, mother of three, has become something of an expert on parenting and family life. But, sadly, it seems there's one subject not even TV's supermommy could master: How to Save Your Marriage. Last week, through her lawyer, Lunden, 41, announced that she and Michael Krauss, 52, her husband of 13 years and producer of her extracurricular TV projects, were separating. The couple (who were unavailable for comment) will maintain joint custody of their daughters: Jamie, 11, Lindsay, 8, and Sarah, 4.

While the split may have shocked viewers, insiders say they saw it coming. "It's tough to juggle a marriage and a working relationship," notes Michael Castner, senior producer of Everyday with Joan Lunden, a Krauss-produced syndicated series that flopped after one season. "It caused a lot of strain working together," Castner recalls. "The tension was high, but Joan was very calm. Her idea of a temper tantrum is to say damn! Michael, on the other hand, was very tough to deal with." ("He's a screamer," says another source.) Yet on the set, Castner says, the couple never had "any spats."

Still, their two careers—inseparable but unequal—may have contributed to the breakup. "It was the opinion of a lot of people," says one coworker, "that he was riding on her coattails. She pretty well ignored that, bill in the end it got to be evident—and tiring—to her." The latest blow: Krauss's company is being sued by WWOR-TV, the New Jersey-based station where Everyday was taped, for $1.86 million in outstanding debts.

When the two met in 1975, Krauss was a GMA producer, Lunden a reporter at New York's WABC-TV—"just a scared kid from Sacramento," says a friend who knows them both. "In her early days, Joan turned very much to Michael for advice. But she's experienced now and knows how to handle herself. And as she has gotten more successful, Michael has gotten less. It could be just the kind of thing that happens in a marriage. One person goes in one direction, and one goes in the other."

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