Colin Firth and his wife secretly split up ''a few years ago.''

The 'Bridget Jones's Diary' star and his spouse Livia Giuggioli have been forced to announce they briefly called time on their marriage in 2015 after it became public knowledge they were involved in a police investigation because Marco Brancaccia - whom Livia had an affair with around that time - had allegedly began stalking her.

The couple's representative told The Times newspaper in a statement: ''A few years ago Colin and Livia privately made the decision to separate.

''During that time Livia briefly became involved with former friend Mr Brancaccia. The Firths have since reunited. Subsequently, Mr Brancaccia carried out a frightening campaign of harassment over several months, much of which is documented. For obvious reasons, the Firths have never had any desire to make this matter public.''

However, Marco - who was a family friend of the Firths - has denied that he was stalking the Italian film producer and has she claimed wanted to leave the 57-year-old actress for good to embark on a relationship with him.

He claimed: ''We were romantically involved, she wanted to leave Colin for me.''

The Italian has also claimed he's only contacted the family three times since Livia, 48, ended their fling in 2016 in order to rekindle her relationship with Colin.

He explained: ''My 'stalking' consisted of two messages via WhatsApp after she ended our relationship in June 2016, and an email.

''I wrote an email to Colin about my relationship with Livia, which I now regret sending, and she filed a complaint against me for stalking out of fear that I could go public with what she had revealed to me about her marriage and work.

''In a year she sent me hundreds of messages, photos and videos, even a diary.''

Colin and Livia got married in 1997 and have two children Luca, 16, and Matteo, 14.