updated 08/15/2006 AT 4:30 PM ET
•originally published 08/15/2006 AT 9:45 AM ET
Everybody Loves Raymond Emmy winner Brad Garrett and his wife of seven years, Jill Diven, have quietly split, he tells USA Today.
Garrett, 46, says that he and Diven had kept their separation a secret from his coworkers and even his parents, and that he and his ex – whom he considers “an extraordinary woman” and “the greatest mom in the world” – are on good terms.
The pair officially separated this April, according to court papers filed last month. Garrett was on tour with his stand-up act in December when the pair decided to split, USA Today reports.
Garrett and Diven have two children, Max, 7, and Hope, 6.
“Our No. 1 focus is our kids and parenting,” Garrett tells the paper. “We will always be friends because we will never be single parents. We will always be two parents.”
Still, he says, “You can’t stay together for the kids, because kids know everything. Sure, it’s daunting to have Daddy move out, but when he’s back two days later, and he gives Mom a hug, and everyone goes to lunch – that’s what it’s about.”
Garrett, who stars in the new FOX sitcom ‘Til Death, still keeps a room in the Woodland Hills, Calif., mansion he shared with Diven, and she has space in his 1940s Spanish-style home in Malibu, which she found for him while he was on Broadway earlier this year in a revival of The Odd Couple.
Diven was a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas when she and Garrett met, and he proposed to her on the Raymond set on Aug. 25, 1998, with his castmates, crew and the audience as witnesses, PEOPLE reported at the time. They married the following May 18 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, with son Max, then 8 months old, dressed in a tiny tux.
Diven tells USA Today that she has “nothing but positive things to say about Brad. We both realized we’re best friends, and we’re always going to be best friends. People grow apart. We could do the ‘he said-she said’ thing, but that’s not us.”