Corrie's Ken splits from girlfriend half his age 'for spiritual reasons'
Bill Roache has split from his girlfriend to focus on his "spiritual path".
The 80-year-old actor - who is best known for playing 'Coronation Street' stalwart Ken Barlow - ended his relationship with Emma Jesson, 44, late last year.
The weather girl says their three-year romance came to an end because of his Pure Love Movement beliefs.
Bill believes 2012 marked the start of a "golden age" where people gradually discover a higher meaning, leading to war, poverty and famine slowly disappearing, and Emma says he wants to concentrate more on finding his own peace.
She told The Sun newspaper: "Our relationship in terms of love is definitely finished.
"Bill's spiritual beliefs became more of a priority last year. He wants that to be his path now and I accept that as he needs to be at peace with himself. We always knew 2012 would be a big year for him.
"Spiritually, it was an evolutionary year and really important to him. We're still very close and talk regularly, but we aren't together as a couple. We still have a relationship, but only as friends."
Despite the split, Emma insists she is still close to the twice-married father-of-four.
She added: "We're still really close. We shared a lot and will continue to do so."
The Pure Love Movement urges followers to "Awaken this generation with Pure Love" and Bill spoke recently about his beliefs.
He said last year: "We're all pure love, made in love, living in love. It's urgent to get this over. Time is running out.
"The world won't end in 2012, but it will change dramatically. This will be the golden age. The earth will cleanse itself while material and negative things will collapse."