Cycling legend Sir Bradley Wiggins and his wife Cath are separating after 16 years of marriage.
The British Olympic star tweeted the sad news of the split last night and said their two children remained ‘a priority’.
The Olympian – who lives with the Trough of Bowland, north of Preston with Cath – wrote: ‘It is with deep sadness my wife Cath and I have decided to separate. Our two children remain our priority and we ask for privacy at this time. Brad & Cath.’
Wiggins is believed to have three children – Ben, Rebekah and Isabella – but only two were mentioned in the tweet.
The 2012 Tour De France winner’s role in the spotlight has hit his family life in the past with Cath – who has bipolar disorder – ending up in rehab after doping allegations levelled at him in 2016 ‘nearly killed’ her and made his life a ‘living hell’.
Sir Bradley Wiggins and his wife Cath, pictured kissing in 2012 at his victory in the Tour de France, last night sadly announced that they are to separate after 16 years of marriage
Russian hackers published medical records that revealed he had obtained a Therapeutic Use Exemption certificate (TUE) on three occasions to take triamcinolone, including before his historic 2012 Tour win.
UK Anti-Doping investigated the allegations, a key point of contention being the delivery of a medical package for Wiggins and Team Sky in 2011.
The the 14-month investigation was eventually closed because after they were unable to find enough evidence that a Jiffy bag Sir Bradley received contained a banned substance.
Sir Bradley, pictured with his wife Cath at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in 2012, has previously told of the incredible stress doping allegations in 2018 put on his marriage
Wiggins has denied any wrongdoing, claiming he used the drug, which has a history of abuse in cycling because it can assist weight loss, legally to treat asthma and allergy problems.
A devastating report by a parliamentary Digital Culture Media and Sport select committee, released in March 2018, stated Wiggins used triamcinolone to enhance, not for medical reasons.
Speaking to the Guardian in 2018, he said: ‘You watch your family suffer, and it’s terrible. It nearly killed my wife. She ended up in rehab over it. I’m at home having to deal with it.
‘Because she’s bi-polar she has this fear of shame, people watching her all the time.
‘You couldn’t say that at the time because you’ve asked for it, because you’ve won the Tour de France. No, I didn’t ask for that actually. I only asked for a fair trial.’
He added: ‘What I should have done is murder someone because then I’d have had proper rights. I’d have had more rights as a murderer.’
Sir Bradley became the British athlete with the most Olympic medals at the Rio games in 2016
Sir Bradley Wiggins and his wife Catherine, pictured posing with a Gold medal Gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, have sadly announced the end of their marriage. They have two children
Sir Bradley said the strain of the drug taking allegations also took a toll on his family life, including wife Cath and their two children
Sir Bradley and Cath live in a 1970s barn conversion. They first met in 1997 before reconnecting at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Cath remained a steadfast supporter of her husband during the scandal.
In 2017, she branded Chris Froome a ‘slithering reptile’ following the cyclist’s failed drugs test and less-than-sympathetic response Wiggins’s scandal.
Froome took a dim view of Wiggins’ medical exemption and publicly welcomed questions about the jiffy bag in 2011.
When Froome failed a drugs test in 2017, due to an adverse analytical finding of excessive levels of an asthma drug, Cath took to social media to express her anger and frustration alongside a photo of Froome.
In 2017, Cath branded Chris Froome (pictured with his son Kellan and wife Michelle in 2017) a ‘slithering reptile’ following the cyclist’s failed drugs test and less-than-sympathetic response Wiggins’s scandal.
The feud between Wiggins and Froome (pictured with his wife in 2017) dates back to the 2012 Tour when Froome suddenly attacked and dropped Wiggins
Sir Bradley celebrates winning gold and breaking the world record in the Men’s Team Pursuit Final by kissing his wife Cath during day seven of the Rio Olympics 2016
‘I am going to be sick,’ she said. ‘Nothing in the news. If I was given to conspiracy theory I’d allege they’d thrown my boy under the bus on purpose to cover for this slithering reptile.’
She also seemed to imply that cycling coach Sir Dave Brailsford and other officials sacrificed her ‘boy’ to protect their now four-time Tour de France champion Froome.
She later apologised and deleted her comments.
The feud dates back to the 2012 Tour when Froome suddenly attacked and dropped Wiggins. Froome was ordered to slow down and wait for his teammate.
But, according to members of the then team management, Wiggins was so mentally shattered by his colleague’s show of strength that he had to be persuaded to climb back on his bike for the next stage of the race.
And while Wiggins went on to win the Tour, with Froome second, it has since emerged that the tradition of sharing the winner’s prize money — reportedly in the region of £1million in 2012 — with eight hard-working team-mates did not extend to Froome.
It apparently took 14 months before Froome received his cash.
His wife Michelle Froome told The Times: ‘I don’t believe Brad ever intended to pay Chris the bonus.
‘I think the reason he did is because he knew it was coming out in the book. Brad paying Chris really doesn’t mean that much.
‘It’s about a lot more than the sum of money.’
A year later, after Froome won the Tour, Michelle condemned the Wiggins couple for their silence in response to his victory.
She said they should have ‘been a bit more classy and sent a message of congratulations’. At that stage they were still Sky team-mates.
During a family trip to Disneyland Paris over winter and New Years, Sir Bradley called Mickey Mouse a ‘c***’ in a bizarre foul-mouthed tirade.
In a short video, cycling legend Wiggins can be heard shouting the obscenities as he walked through the resort.
‘F*** off. F*** off Disneyland,’ Wiggins can be heard saying.
Sir Bradley Wiggins has been recorded blasting Mickey Mouse in a bizarre foul-mouthed rant
In a short video, Wiggins can heard to say ‘F*** off Disneyland’ and ‘Mickey Mouse is a c***’
‘Mickey Mouse is a c***. You can f*** off.’
The video ends with the 39-year-old father-of-three adding: ‘Paedophile. Paedophile.’
A source told The Sun: ‘Brad has a mad sense of humour and was messing around with a friend. He didn’t mean to cause offence.’
The video ends with the 39-year-old father-of-three adding: ‘Paedophile. Paedophile’
Despite the rant, Wiggins uploaded a picture alongside Mickey on December 28. ‘We just dem old schools geezers!!’ [sic] the caption reads as the duo pose for a photograph.
In another video, Wiggins has another pop at Disneyland – this time criticising the children who go there.
In another video, Wiggins has slammed Disneyland – criticising the children who go there
‘They’ve got a f****** free rein and a free pass to act like little f****** c***s’ he said in this video
‘The only thing with Disneyland is there is f****** c****** kids everywhere – horrible little c****** kids,’ he blasts.
‘They’ve got a f****** free rein and a free pass to act like little f****** c**** j****** in their pants just because Mickey Mouse is here.
‘And the parents are just happy for them to f****** run riot, smashing snooker cues and balls everywhere just because they’re at f****** Disneyland.
‘And it’s like it’s a free pass to act like a little c***.’
Wiggins retired from cycling in 2016 after a distinguished career in the sport.
He is now studying for a degree in social work as he moves beyond his cycling career.
He told the Big Issue last year: ‘I don’t give a s**t about my cycling career now, I’m just detached from it, I don’t want to live off the back of it.
‘I live off of being me, and I’m happy in my own skin.’
His move into social work is motivated by his tough childhood, he said: ‘Those horrific things I saw when I was growing up… nothing can shock me now, and I want to use that mental toughness working as a social worker.
‘And when people say, ‘Oh, you’re that cyclist’, I’ll say, ‘No, that was a few years ago. I’m a social worker now’.’