07/05/2014 04:25 EDT | Updated 08/12/2014 04:59 EDT

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Wife Announce Separation" data-caption="Amy Robertson and Gregor Robertson - Boobalicious – The Pink Passion Party - the world according to Black Wool at Boobalicious - A Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser - read more at" data-credit="Urban Mixer/Flickr">

To dispel "false rumours being spread online," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and his wife Amy announced they have separated "amicably."

The brief statement was released Saturday by the mayor's office.

“As people close to our family are aware, we recently agreed to separate," said the couple. "This is a personal and private matter for our family, and contrary to false rumours being spread online, it is a mutual decision that we made amicably and together. We appreciate understanding and privacy, especially for our kids.”

Shortly after, the mayor's party, Vision Vancouver, issued its own news release, calling on the leader of the rival NPA to "explain the spreading of false rumours and personal attacks on Mayor Gregor Robertson and his family."

NPA vice-president Rob Macdonald emailed Gregor Robertson last month, declining to attend a forum because he was headed to another "meeting to discuss some terrible gossip" about the mayor's "philandering" and "being thrown out of the house by his wife." Macdonald's email was attached to Vision's statement and sent to media.

Civic elections are being held this November. Robertson was elected mayor under the Vision Vancouver banner in 2008 and again in 2011. He was previously the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Fairview.

Gregor Robertson met Amy in Colorado in the early '80s when he was a pre-med student and she majored in studio art. They travelled to Asia and sailed to New Zealand before returning to B.C. to start an organic farm in the Fraser Valley. That led to the creation of Happy Planet, an organic juice company, in 1994 before Robertson entered politics.

The couple married in the late 1980s, and they have four children. In 2013, their foster son Jinagh Navas-Rivas was sentenced to four years in jail for gun and drug offences.

That same year, the Robertsons moved to the Kitsilano neighbourhood, and listed their former home in Douglas Park for sale for $1.95 million.

At the time, a statement from the mayor's office said the family was downsizing because the children have graduated from high school.

Amy Robertson is an advocate of the local food movement and chairs the Vancouver Farmers Markets board of directors. She is also a certified doula (someone who supports mothers and their families before, during and after labour), as well as a basket weaver and athlete.

In a 2011 profile by the Vancouver Observer, Amy Robertson spoke about being the mayor's wife.

“I think the intimate moral support I provide at home is incredibly important,” she told the Observer. “Also, if I do the more mundane chores, Gregor can be more focused and available to his job. Doing stuff outdoors together helps him maintain balance. We try to bike in Pacific Spirit Park or paddle our canoe in the ocean when we can, things you can do in a few hours.”

Amy Robertson said it was a "hard decision" to get involved in politics, but she eventually got used to attending social events with her husband.

“A lot of people don’t know I’m the mayor’s wife,” she said. “If people don’t know that, I don’t bring it up. Someone asked me once, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ and I answered ‘What does your husband do? Why didn’t you tell me that?’”

Photo gallery Gregor Robertson And Family See Gallery