NY Gov. Cuomo, Food Network star Sandra Lee announce split

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Food Network star Sandra Lee have broken up after more than a decade of dating.

The former couple announced the split with a joint statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

"Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship. We will always be family and are fully supportive of each other and dedicated to the girls," Lee and Cuomo wrote. "Our personal lives remain personal and there will be no further comment."

The couple started dating in 2005 and had not married. For many years Lee played the role of New York's first lady, appearing beside Cuomo at official functions but largely staying out of state politics.

Rumors of a breakup began earlier this year when Lee put the home she shared with Cuomo in the New York City suburbs on the market. Lee owns the home, while Cuomo shared the cost of living expenses and taxes.

Since then, Cuomo, a Democrat, has spent much of his time in the governor's mansion in Albany.

Lee, 53, is a TV host and cookbook author famous for her "semi-homemade" approach to cooking. She emerged as a vocal advocate for cancer screenings after her successful fight against the disease in 2015, which involved a double mastectomy. Cuomo championed the cause as well, successfully convincing lawmakers to increase access to breast cancer screenings.

Cuomo, 61, has three grown daughters from his marriage to Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy. That marriage ended in divorce in 2005. He is now in his third term as governor.