Steven Spielberg Finally Suffers a Big-Budget Flop-His Marriage

updated 05/08/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/08/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

One of Hollywood's most visible couples has finally become an un-couple. After three years of marriage, Steven (E.T.) Spielberg, 41, and Amy {Crossing Delancey) Irving, 35, "have mutually decided to divorce," according to Irving's publicist The announcement did not exactly send shock waves through the film community, which for the past year has been speculating about the split—not whether it would happen but when it would happen. Rumors of Spielberg's involvement with Kate Capshaw, who co-starred in his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, have been denied." You try to have a relationship with someone who's on a set in China for four months," says a friend of Irving's, who chalks up the divorce to the stress of two people frequently working on different continents. "It's close to impossible."

Last fall, apparently for the sake of their son, Max, 3, the couple tried to give the marriage another try. But by April, when they attended a tribute to Spielberg in L.A., it seemed the effort was falling short Irving didn't appear to be enough of an actress to pretend she was having a marvelous time. When Spielberg told reporters of his desire to "direct my wife in a movie," Irving coolly turned away.

Nevertheless, the couple insist that matrimony has not given way to acrimony. They will share joint custody of Max, and a settlement agreement—which could amount to half of Spielberg's estimated $225 million—has "already been amicably reached," says Irving's spokeswoman. Spielberg still claims he'll direct his soon-to-be ex in a movie. Meanwhile, those with a taste for irony will take due note that his next film is called Always.

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