Nicholas Sparks and his wife Cathy have split after 25 years of marriage, the famed author confirms to Us Weekly. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

This love story did not have a happy ending. Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks and his wife Cathy — the inspiration for his many heart-wrenching novels — are separating after 25 years of marriage, he confirms to Us Weekly.

"Cathy and I have separated," Sparks, 49, tells Us. "This is of course not a decision we've made lightly. We remain close friends with deep respect for each other and love for our children. For our children's sake, we regard this as a private matter."

The pair, who tied the knot in 1989, share five kids — sons Miles, Ryan, and Landon, and twin girls Lexie and Savannah.

The famed scribe, whose beloved books (many adapted for the big screen) include tearjerkers like The Notebook, The Best of Me, The Last Song, and A Walk to Remember — first met his wife during spring break in his senior year at Notre Dame. In an interview with GQ last October, Sparks recalled how he met Cathy on a Monday. By Tuesday, he told her: "I will marry you."

The two then exchanged passionate love letters, much like a plot from one of his beloved films. "Between March, when we met, and May, when we graduated, I don't know, a hundred love letters?" Sparks speculated to GQ. "A hundred and fifty?"

In a 2013 interview with HuffPost Live, Sparks told the site that his wife served as the inspiration for many of the female characters in his stories and subsequent film adaptations starring A-listers like Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Miley Cyrus (The Last Song), Julianne Hough (Safe Haven), and more.

"I married a woman who loves a lot," Sparks said of Cathy. "Certainly every female character I've ever crafted is a lot like my wife. They're intelligent and loyal, they're funny. And most of all, they're not wishy-washy women. They're good, solid women."