Halle Berry separates from husband Eric Benet. She cites longtime ''marital problems,'' though rumors surround her steamy video with Fred Durst

By Gary Susman
Updated October 02, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Eric Benet may soon be Halle Berry’s ex-man. On Wednesday, the Oscar-winning actress announced her separation from the R&B singer after less than three years of marriage. ”Eric and I have had marital problems for some time now and have tried to work things out together,” she said in a statement. ”However, at this point, I feel we need time apart to reevaluate our union.”

Berry and Benet, who met at the premiere of her HBO movie ”Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” got engaged in 1999 and married in January 2001. (Her previous marriage, to baseball player David Justice, lasted from 1992 to 1996.) Within three months, there were tabloid rumors that the marriage was on the rocks. By the time she won her Best Actress Oscar for ”Monster’s Ball” in March 2002, there were rumors that Benet had been repeatedly unfaithful. Berry didn’t exactly deny the rumors, telling Essence magazine in November, ”The truth is that during the period of my most significant public success — the Academy Awards — my private life faced a staggering crisis.” She told the magazine she and Benet were in psychotherapy together, saying, ”He has been fearless, and I love him all the more for it.”

Recent rumors, however, have surrounded Berry’s steamy liplock with Fred Durst in Limp Bizkit’s video for their cover of ”Behind Blue Eyes,” which appears on the soundtrack of Berry’s upcoming movie ”Gothika.” Durst, who visited her twice on the set of her currently shootiing ”Catwoman,” told MTV.com, ”Someone has come into my life that I really, really bonded with like I’ve never bonded with anybody.” Of the video smooch, he said, ”It was all that and then some. It’s very convincing, very real, and I think we both had a good time doing it.” Berry’s rep has said the two are just ”acquaintances,” telling the New York Post, ”I don’t know if they are good friends.”