Chris Harrison and his wife split

Bachelor host Chris Harrison and his wife of 18 years, Gwen, announced their separation, "after much heartfelt consideration", the pair tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"While we have made it incredibly difficult decision to separate our love and mutual respect remains, and we are ready to share in the life of our wonderful children," said a joint statement on Thursday.

The couple live 35 miles from Hollywood with their children, Joshua, 9, and Taylor, 7. Harrison, 40, the coaches of both teams a children's football and is "a wonderful father," Gwen told PEOPLE in 2010. "He's very loving and involved."

Harrison holds a new season of Bachelorette, which premieres May 14 on ABC.

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