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Chris Rock, wife Malaak Compton-Rock split

Malaak Compton-Rock and Chris Rock attend the 2nd

Malaak Compton-Rock and Chris Rock attend the 2nd annual Steve Harvey Foundation Gala at Cipriani, Wall Street on April 4, 2011 in New York City. Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Steve Harvey Foundation

"Top Five" writer-director-star Chris Rock and his wife of 18 years, activist and philanthropist Malaak Compton-Rock, separately announced Sunday that they were divorcing.

"After much contemplation and 19 [sic] years of marriage, Chris and I have decided to go our separate ways," Compton-Rock, 45, said in a statement. "Being fortunate enough to lead a life of service by working with those most vulnerable makes me well aware of life's blessings, even when faced with difficulties. While recognizing that this is a significant change, my children remain at the center of my life and their well-being is my top priority. It is in this spirit that I sincerely ask that their privacy and the privacy of our family be respected during this transition in our lives."

The couple, who met in 1994 at an awards show in New York City, married on Nov. 23, 1996. They have two daughters: Lola Simone, 12, and Zahra Savannah, 10.

Rock's attorney, Robert S. Cohen, shortly afterward issued a statement saying, "Chris Rock has filed for divorce from his wife, Malaak. This is a personal matter and Chris requests privacy as he and Malaak work through this process and focus on their family."

Compton-Rock, a graduate of Howard University and a former publicist, founded the nonprofit StyleWorks in 1999 to provide makeovers to women leaving public assistance and seeking employment. She works with other charitable groups through the umbrella organization The Angelrock Project.

Four-time Emmy Award-winning comedian Rock, 49, -- whose films include "Grown Ups" and "Grown Ups 2" -- denied in early 2007 rumors that he had filed for divorce the previous November.

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