POP star Cheryl Cole is separating from her husband, England and Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole. Cheryl asks the media to respect her privacy during this difficult time, a statement from her spokesman said. It follows press reports about the couples private life suggesting their four-year marriage was in trouble. Cheryl Coles band Girls Aloud said they were supporting her in private, while Chelsea said they were offering their player all the support possible. The 26-year-old X Factor judge married the footballer in 2006, in a lavish ceremony in Hertfordshire. The pair met in 2004 and was engaged a year later after the footballer proposed in Dubai. Glossy magazine OK covered the wedding, despite Coles earlier insistence that the ceremony would be a quiet affair. Speaking about Press interest in her life, the singer added: Theres no such thing as a private life in this industry. I spoke openly about my marriage in the past and its come back to hit me in the face. I learnt from the past that you shouldnt do that. The singer performed her solo track Fight For This Love at the Brit Awards earlier this month and flew to the US afterwards before returning to the UK earlier. Left-back Ashley Cole, 29, had ankle surgery earlier this month but his club manager Carlo Ancelotti expects him to be fit to play in the World Cup, which starts in South Africa in June. BBC