Cheryl Cole and her estranged husband Ashley came face to face again on Friday, in what was their first meeting together since revelations of his alleged infidelities emerged.
According to the Daily Mail, the reunion lasted just half and hour. Ashley, who has been receiving treatment in a sports injury clinic in France, was seen arriving at the couple's £6 million Surrey home for talks with Cheryl, currently struck down with bronchitis.
He emerged half an hour later having collected some clothes before heading to a friend's house.
Shortly afterwards, reports the newspaper, the X Factor beauty contacted Fiona Shackleton – the divorce lawyer who famously represented Sir Paul McCartney and Prince Charles – although it is not known whether the 26-year-old has yet employed Miss Shackleton's Payne Hicks Beach firm.
If she does decide to formally end her four-year marriage, it is thought Cheryl will do so quickly.
A source close to the singer revealed she has been told to expect a straight split of their assets as a result of the length of their marriage, their substantial individual incomes and the fact they have no children.
"Cheryl is being told she should not drag this through the courts," a source told the paper. "Lawyers for Ashley could build a case that she wasn't the perfect wife either."
"She has hardly seen him for months on end due to work, her mother Joan's presence in the house has hardly been conducive to romance, she might have occasionally have been demanding and moody."
Meanwhile, despite the likelihood their marriage is over, another newspaper reports that Ashley and Cheryl's meeting was "calm and civil".
The Chelsea footballer has insisted on seeing the brunette because he was worried about her health since contracting bronchitis, and "he wanted to see her and wish her better."
"Cheryl was taken aback by how calm and civil it was," a source told the Mirror.
"There were no shouting matches and he didn't beg her to take him back…She can now concentrate on getting better and is desperate to get back to work and focus on her career. She just wants to move on."
A friend of Ashley's added: "He's accepted it's over but he was just glad to have a few minutes with her."