And they looked so cute together, too.

Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth and Brad.

Holding hands at movie premieres. Dying their hair the same shade of blonde. Gushing pronouncements of their love. (Witness Brad's dewy-eyed speech at the Golden Globes ceremony in 1996.) Getting engaged in spiritual Tibet.

Well, cute schmute: It's over.

The reign of Pitt, 32, and Paltrow, 24, as Hollywood's premier you-just-wanna-squeeze-their-cheeks couple actually has been over for a couple of weeks, his publicist said. Guess they were trying to let us down easy.

Meanwhile, there may be hope for Pitt-Paltrow hopeless romantics. A spokeswoman for Columbia Pictures says that, as far as the studio is concerned, everything's still a go for the comedy Duets, set to star the duo. But the film--to be directed and co-produced by Gwyneth's dad, veteran TV producer Bruce Paltrow--is only in pre-production, with no shooting dates set.

Pitt spokeswoman Cindy Guagenti confirmed the split--said to be mutual--last night in a bloodless 17-word statement. No reason given for the uncoupling.

We are left to forage the wilderness alone, then, in trying to understand--or flat-out guess--what drove Our Golden Duo apart, after two-and-a-half years of supreme togetherness?

Theory Number 1: Hollywood romances--especially among actors--are doomed. That was the warning Gwyneth's father issued last year after Pitt proposed to his daughter during the Thanksgiving weekend on the set of Seven Years in Tibet, Pitt's upcoming movie. (Irony alert: Bruce Paltrow is himself married to an actress--Gwyneth's mom, Blythe Danner.)

Theory Number 2: Irreconcilable differences. Pitt's a party-lover; Paltrow (none other than the screen personification of Jane Austen's Emma) is more partial to the quiet life.

Theory Number 3: Paltrow wasn't easily sold on the marriage idea. Prior to accepting his ring in November, she rejected several previous proposals from Pitt, wanting to make sure the Legends of the Fall hunk was the one for her, a movie executive told the New York Post.

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