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Ashley Judd Splits: Why Is Actress Divorcing Dario Franchitti?

By Melissa Siegel - Posted: 01/30/13 10:38AM EST
Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti

Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti talk to each other at a racing event. The couple is splitting up after marrying in 2001. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Ashley Judd is splitting with her husband of 11 years, Dario Franchitti.

"We have mutually decided to end our marriage," the actress told PEOPLE. "We'll always be family and continue to cherish our relationship based on the special love, integrity and respect we have always enjoyed."

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As the Huffington Post notes, Judd and Franchitti have tweeted about their split.

"Family forever," the actress wrote at her husband's Twitter account.

"Family forever," the racer tweeted back.

USA Today reports that the now-split couple met back in 1999, when friends introduced them during a wedding party. The duo then married about two years later in a Scottish castle. Wynonna Judd, Ashley's half-sister, was the maid of honor for the ceremony. Their mother is Naomi Judd, one half of the country group The Judds.

Since their marriage, Judd has been a constant presence at IndyCar events, where she would cheer on her husband. She has witnessed plenty of Franchitti wins in recent years, including a victory in the 2012 Indianapolis 500. According to Reuters, it was the third time the driver had taken the checkered flag in that race.

While it is unclear exactly why the couple split, it appears the breakup was relatively amicable. However, it's possible that the actress's apparent Senate aspirations could have increased the tension in the relationship. As the New York Daily News reports, Judd's name has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for Senate in her home state of Kentucky. She would go up against Mitch McConnell in the race.

"She is doing all the things that a serious candidate exploring a race should do,"  Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) recently told Politico. "I think there are a lot of people, and I was one of them, who wanted to let her know that her candidacy would be an exciting prospect for us. That's what I wanted her to know. A lot of the labor unions, they were telling me that too."

However, one member of Judd's family does not think Judd will be becoming a politician anytime soon. The actress' grandmother told the Associated Press back in November that she doubted her granddaughter would actually run for Senate.

Judd has appeared in several popular films, including "A Time To Kill" and "Heat." Most recently she was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the television mini-series "Missing," according to US Weekly.

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