Chris Rock has filed for divorce

Chris RockChris Rock has filed for divorce from Malakk Compton-Rock after almost 20 years of marriage. The 49-year-old comedian’s estranged wife, with whom he has daughters Lola, 12, and Zahra, 10, has announced their split ”after much contemplation” and says their children remain her ”top priority.”

In a statement to PEOPLE.com, the 45-year-old philanthropist and founder of the non-profit styleWorks said: ”After much contemplation and 19 years of marriage, Chris and I have decided to go our separate ways. Being fortunate enough to lead a life of service by working with those most vulnerable makes me well aware of life’s blessings, even when faced with difficulties. While recognizing that this is a significant change, my children remain at the center of my life and their well-being is my top priority. It is in this spirit that I sincerely ask that their privacy and the privacy of our family be respected during this transition in our lives.”

The Top Five star’s lawyer, Robert S. Cohen, also confirmed the news, saying: ”Chris Rock has filed for divorce from his wife, Malaak. This is a personal matter and Chris requests privacy as he and Malaak work through this process and focus on their family.”

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