Billy Joel, Wife Katie Lee Split

Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel attend 'The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009 in New York City Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel attend 'The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009 in New York City

Billy Joel and his wife, Katie Lee, have split, according to the artist’s rep.

“After nearly five years of marriage, Billy and Katie have decided to separate,” a rep for the artist said in a statement to Access Hollywood. “The decision is the result of much thought and consideration. Billy and Katie remain caring friends, with admiration and respect for each other.”

According to the NY Daily News, which was first to break the story, celebrity chef Lee, 27, the first host of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” has been spotted out regularly with Yigal Azrouel, a 36-year-old fashion designer from Israel. The two were seen dancing closely in Miami earlier this year and sources told the paper the designer has called Lee, “my girlfriend.”

When asked about their relationship, a rep for the Joels said the designer had no role in the separation.

“Their break-up has nothing to do with Yigal,” Joel’s spokeswoman, Claire Mercuri, told the paper. “Their decision to separate was absolutely unrelated to Yigal.”

An unnamed friend of the couple told the paper that age played a factor in the break up — Billy Joel, who turned 60 in May, was 33 years older than his wife.

“It was really the age difference that caught up with them,” a friend of the couple told the Daily News. “They grew apart. She is very career-oriented. She loves going out. She loves the city. When Billy isn’t touring, he’d rather be on Long Island with his motorcycles and boats.”

The couple, however, was spotted together recently on the red carpet at the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on May 4.

Joel reportedly had a pre nup, the Daily News reported.

The couple owns two pug dogs together, Fionula and Sabrina.

Copyright 2014 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.