Mexican telenovela actress says she will divorce ex-President Pena Nieto

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto looks on as first lady Angelica Rivera makes a hand heart gesture during a military parade to celebrate Independence Day at Zocalo Square in Mexico City, Mexico September 16, 2018. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf/File Photo

Mexico’s former First Lady Angelica Rivera has decided to divorce ex-President Enrique Pena Nieto, the one-time telenovela actress said in a post on her Instagram account on Friday.

Pena Nieto ended his six-year presidential term in November. In 2010, he married Rivera in a splashy celebration when he was a governor eyeing a bid for presidency. It was the second marriage for both, and each had children from previous relationships.

Rumours of an impending split had long dogged the couple, intensifying during the final year of Pena Nieto’s term, though the family’s supporters, including one of Rivera’s daughters, dismissed the claims as false.

“I deeply regret this painful situation for myself and our children,” Rivera, 49, wrote in her post.

“Today, all my energy, strength and love is focused on remaining a good mother, recovering my life and my professional career,” she added.

About a week ago, a Mexican society magazine published photos of Pena Nieto in Spain with a young female Mexican model, adding to speculation that the couple might separate.

Pena Nieto, 52, left office with record-low approval ratings, dragged down by rampant crime, corruption scandals and a lacklustre economy under his watch.

One of the first scandals to tarnish him emerged in 2014 when a journalistic investigation revealed that a multimillion-dollar home in one of Mexico City’s poshest neighbourhoods used by the couple was owned by a subsidiary of a politically connected contractor.

At the time, Rivera said she was purchasing the home from the subsidiary with money earned from her acting career. She later announced that she would sell her stake in the property to put the controversial matter to rest.

For years, Rivera worked for Mexico’s biggest broadcaster Televisa on a series of soap operas, and for a time was one of the country’s most popular and recognizable actresses.

Pena Nieto has kept a low profile since leaving office, and has not confirmed whether the couple will divorce.

A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.