In June, reports bubbled up in British tabloids that Madonna would divorce Guy Ritchie, her film-director husband of eight years. Today, Rupert Murdoch's tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic, the Sun and the Post, are reporting that a statement should come out shortly that the couple are breaking up after shouting matches over their careers and differences over whether to adopt another child. Though the prior reports didn't pan out, it's worth noting that this time around everyone from Time to the Associated Press is citing the tabloid reports, lending the impression an open secret has perhaps been breeched. Or maybe everyone is just chasing Web traffic! Then there's the level of detail in the Sun report:

Guy has flown back from France, postponing filming of his new movie Sherlock Holmes, to break the news to his parents.

This week he will take his possessions from the couple’s London home, which Madonna owns, and move into their Wiltshire home, which he owns.

Madonna — in New York on Monday night for the premiere of her new movie Filth And Wisdom — initially planned to move back to the US with their three children in July.

The source said: “She was adamant that she was leaving Guy and not coming back.”

But talk of the separation leaked out — along with rumours that Madonna was secretly seeing a married baseball star — and Guy flew out in a public last-ditch bid to repair the marriage.

In a prior era, press accounts of a married 50-year-old diva's purported affair with a baseball player, followed by a divorce, could easily rob the woman of her dignity and seriously damage her career. But Madonna has never been one to hew to traditional gender roles or societal expectations. She could redefine the role of promiscuous older divorcée into something sunnier. But if she wants to sell her new life as something positive and sunny, she'll at least need to look the part and ease up on the lengthy workouts and whatever else has led to her recent "bones-on-a-skeleton" appearance.