12/10/2004 at 06:00 PM EST
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has separated from her girlfriend, photographer-director Alexandra Hedison.
A source close to the couple tells PEOPLE that Hedison moved out of DeGeneres's home last month, ending their four year relationship. "It's difficult for both of them and very sad," says the source. "They were a private couple and they hope they can separate privately."
DeGeneres, 46, and Hedison, 35, met through mutual friends in 2000. They have been sharing a Hollywood Hills home with their two cats, Harlow and Subtle, and their mixed-breed puppy Lucy.