Actor Martin Freeman and his partner Amanda Abbington
Actor Martin Freeman and his partner Amanda Abbington arrive for the royal premiere of the film "The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey" in central London December 12, 2012 Reuters/Luke MacGregor

“Sherlock” stars Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington have split “very, very amicably.” The couple, who play Dr John Watson and Mary Morstan in the UK BBC series, have ended their relationship after 16 years of being together and having two children.

In the upcoming “Sherlock” season 4, John and Mary’s marriage appears to be under strain following the birth of their firstborn, Rosamund Mary Watson. In real life as well, Freeman, 45, and Abbington, 42, are not together anymore.

Read more: ‘Sherlock’ season 4 spoilers: John and Mary’s baby has a name [VIDEO]

Freeman revealed to Financial Times the separation, although he did not mention when exactly did they part or why.

“I’m not with Amanda anymore. It’s very, very amicable,” he said. “I’ll always love Amanda.”

Abbington echoed Freeman’s statement, telling the Sunday Telegraph that they had separated but are still best friends. They had realised that they had come to the end of their time together.

“Martin and I remain best friends and love each other, and it was entirely amicable. There was no hostility, really, we just said we couldn’t live together anymore,” she said, adding that Freeman moved out to a flat in London.

“It is sad and it is upsetting because you think you’re going to be with someone forever, but you either do that or you break up, and we both came to the decision that splitting was the best for us. We’ve been lucky to make it such a clean break, especially for the kids.”

Abbington admitted that their time spent apart was “one of the reasons” for their split. Freeman has become a Hollywood star over the past years after taking on the titular role of “The Hobbit” in the blockbuster trilogy. Abbington, on the other hand, had been left at home to take care of their children, 10-year-old Joe and 8-year-old Grace.

As to when they have separated, Abbington said it was two weeks before the start of “Sherlock” season 4 production in April. Playing first-time parents John and Mary was “so weird,” she added, because they were effectively revisiting their first moments together.

“I love working with Martin, and we definitely would do again, but there were some pressure points in this episode where we thought, ‘Oh, are we doing the right thing here?’, but the resounding answer was always yes.”

Freeman and Abbington met on the set of the film “Men Only” in 2000. They also appeared together on screen in “The Good Night,” “The Debt” and “The Robinsons.”

“Sherlock” season 4, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, will premiere on Jan. 1 in the UK. It will air at the same time as the worldwide premiere on Stan and BBC Worldwide Australia and New Zealand.

Watch ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer