Despair, lovers: Writer Nicholas Sparks and his wife are splitting up

Chuck Beckley/The New Bern Sun Journal/APIn this photo taken on Feb. 21

Barring any cheesy plot twists, author Nicolas Sparks and his wife, Cathy, are headed toward one depressing ending.

“Cathy and I have separated,” Sparks, 49, told People magazine Tuesday. “We remain close friends with deep respect for each other and love for our children.”

The Sparkses married in 1989, several years before Sparks started penning mawkish romances with cheap-shot twists. According to People, nine of Sparks' 17 books — such as “The Notebook,” “The Last Song,” and “Dear John” — have been made into films, an impressive .529 batting average.

Despite his success, he's never claimed to be a relationship expert.

“I don't like to give marriage tips,” Sparks told People in 2003. “There are people who are probably much better at marriage than I am — they've lasted a lot longer.”

PRICEY MUSIC FESTIVALS NAME LINEUPS

Great news for people who love shelling out three-figure sums for concert tickets: the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and BottleRock Napa Valley unveiled their lineups Tuesday.

BottleRock, May 29-31, is entering its third year with Robert Plant, No Doubt and Imagine Dragons at the top of the bill. Dead last on the bill is “Napa Crossroads Live featuring: David Pack of Ambrosia, John Elefante of Kansas, Bill Champlin formerly of Chicago, Jim Peterik founding member of Survivor.”

Three-day tickets ($235-$2,500) go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m., with single-day tickets available soon.

For those who prefer their music with heatstroke and celebrity sightings, Coachella is returning to Indio for two weekends starting April 10. AC/DC, Jack White and Drake are topping the lineup, which also includes Tame Impala, Florence and the Machine, and David Guetta.

Tickets go onsale today at noon, although general tickets, $375, were somehow sold out Tuesday. Luckily, there are $899-$5,200 VIP tickets, as well as a $435 bundle with shuttle.

QUICK TAKES

Berkeley writer Michele Serros, author of books like “How to Be a Chicana Role Model” and “¡Scandalosa!,” died Sunday at age 48 of cancer. … British actor Stephen Fry, 57, is set to marry his boyfriend, whippersnapper Elliott Spencer, 27. … Francesca Hilton, the only child of 97-year-old actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and late hotelier Conrad Hilton, died Monday at age 67 of an apparent heart attack and stroke.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Actor Marcus Scribner (“Black-Ish”) is 15. … Actor Jeremy Renner (“Hurt Locker”) is 44. … Actor Nicolas Cage (“Con Air”) is 51. … Newscaster Katie Couric is 58. … Actor David Caruso (“CSI”) is 59. … Singer Kenny Loggins is 67.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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