Mandi Bierly
May 03, 2012 AT 09:51 PM EDT

Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has confirmed he and his wife of 18 years, Gwen, have separated. “Though we have made this incredibly difficult decision to separate, our love and mutual respect remain, and we look forward to sharing in the lives of our wonderful children,” they said in a joint statement. People first reported the news.

The new season of The Bachelorette debuts May 14.

Read more:

‘The Bachelorette’: Meet the 25 guys vying for Emily’s heart

Chris Harrison talks Emily Maynard as the Bachelorette (and Bentley having to get past him first)

Chris Harrison’s ‘Bachelor’ blogs

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