03/31/2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps
can no longer count on her Count.
The Real Housewives of New York City
star and her husband, Count Alex de Lesseps, have separated, PEOPLE.com confirms.
“It is obviously a very difficult time for the Countess and Count,” a rep for LuAnn says in a statement, “but they plan to remain friends and their primary focus will be to do what is best for their two children.”
At this time no legal separation has been filed. But according to the New York Post
, which first broke the story, LuAnn discovered that her husband, who spends much of his time in Europe, was seeing another woman.
"LuAnn was blindsided. She was just devastated," a friend of LuAnn’s told the Post
’s Page Six.
The couple, whose two children Victoria and Noel are also seen on the hit Bravo TV show, just celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary on March 16.
In April, the Countess – who prides herself on being an etiquette expert – will release her book Class with the Countess
Could a split mean she will lose her coveted title?
A friend of LuAnn’s says no: “She will always be the Countess,” says the pal. --Mark Dagostino