John Mellencamp's Ex Elaine Irwin to Weather Divorce 'Just Fine,' Says Pal

01/22/2011 at 10:00 AM EST

John Mellencamp's Ex Elaine Irwin to Weather Divorce 'Just Fine,' Says Pal
Elaine Irwin
Courtesy of Almay
John Mellencamp and estranged wife Elaine Irwin will remain friends as they end their 19-year marriage, a longtime pal tells PEOPLE.

"There will be no war between Elaine and John Mellencamp," Kris Gebhardt, John’s former trainer and 11-year friend of the exes, tells PEOPLE. "They are both levelheaded people who are great parents. They have a lot of respect for each other."

Gebhardt believes that Irwin, 41, will get through her breakup from John, 59, without a problem.

"No one is happy with a split, but Elaine is a trouper, a doer and a woman who can exist on her own just fine," Gebhardt says. "She’s a gem and so is John."





Gebhardt also says the couple's split had nothing to do with Meg Ryan.

"Divorce doesn't happen over one thing," Gebhardt says. "Things changed, directions differed and ambitions have taken their own course. It took awhile to get to this stage. It was not a sudden decision and not about another person.”

Another friend of Irwin’s adds, "Elaine has been taking it one day at a time. She has been getting a lot of support from friends and colleagues. The trip during Golden Globes was a welcome distraction."

Irwin traveled to Los Angeles with her children and hit some of the award show parties Jan. 16.

Irwin, a face of Almay beauty products, was engaged to John when she was 23, after only ten weeks of dating. They have two sons, Hud and Speck.

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