Kanye West surprised everyone with his talk of divorcing Kim Kardashian on social media, but according to sources their split has been discussed behind closed doors for quite some time.
Late Tuesday night, West, 43, claimed on Twitter that he had been considering divorcing Kardashian, 39, since November 2018. Now, one insider confirms to PEOPLE that the “divorce had been in the process for several weeks.”
A second source with knowledge of the situation says, “There has been enough communication, both in the past few days and in the weeks prior, to establish that both sides feel the marriage is over.”
Reps for Kardashian and West did not return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The source says discussions of divorce have been “a long time coming.” The stars, who have been married since 2014 and share four kids, “were even attempting to figure out the most amicable and loving co-parenting situation,” the source adds. “But now Kanye has, well, he has gone down a different path. Both in terms of deciding to announce his presidential bid, and also in terms of how he is choosing to express himself and the things he is choosing to say.”
“They have work to do, as parents and as a spouses who want to end this phase of their relationship,” the source continues. “Kanye knows all of this, and everything that is happening right now is just like a horrible sideshow to what the real issues are.”
“First and foremost, he has some needs that have to be met, urgently,” the source adds. “Then they need to move forward in terms of structuring a split that can be amicable and healthy for both of them and most of all for their four children.”
According to the source, the two “were already nearing the end of their marriage” prior to West’s recent actions.
“There have been multiple attempts to talk to him about the situation, but right now nothing is proving successful,” the source says.
The source adds that Kardashian’s priority is her children: daughters North, 7, and Chicago, 2, and sons Saint, 4, and Psalm, 14 months.
“The Kardashian women stand by their men, that’s true,” the source says. “But Kim is also a mother and a fierce protector of what she holds dear: her children first and foremost, but also her image and her reputation and what she’s worked for. She is not going to standby and act like what Kanye is saying and doing doesn’t matter or doesn’t have a lasting impact.”
“They are done,” the source adds. “And it’s time for some real work to be done to get everyone healthy and moving forward with their lives.”
On Sunday, West held his first campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina. (Though he recently filed his campaign paperwork in Oklahoma to qualify him to run as an independent on the November ballot, he’s facing significant hurdles in most states and recently tweeted that he’s considering postponing his run to 2024.)
During a rambling speech, he made a number of controversial comments. At one point, he broke down in tears while revealing that he and Kardashian considered an abortion when she got pregnant with North.
A source told PEOPLE on Monday that Kardashian was “shocked that Kanye spoke about North at the rally.”
“She is furious that he shared something so private,” the source said. “She loves her kids tremendously and wants to protect them. Her favorite thing in the world is being a mom.”
Overnight on Monday and Tuesday, West continued to make public statements on Twitter, including claims that Kardashian and her mother Kris Jenner had tried to “lock him up.” (Of the allegation, a source told PEOPLE that Kardashian has been “trying to get Kanye help for weeks.”)
West also claimed that he had been trying to end his marriage since Kardashian consulted with rapper Meek Mill during a criminal justice reform summit almost two years ago.
In her statement on Wednesday, Kardashian said she was speaking out “because of the stigma and misconceptions about mental health.”
“Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behavior know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor,” she said. “People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
Kardashian called her husband “a brilliant but complicated person,” noting how his experience has been shaped by the loss of his mother and his diagnosis.
“Living with bi-polar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some. That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his dreams have come true,” she wrote. “We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most.”
West seemed to reference his wife’s statement before it was released in a since-deleted tweet late Tuesday night: “Kriss and Kim put out a statement without my approval … that’s not what a wife should do.”
As of Tuesday, West was in Wyoming, and Kardashian and the kids were in Los Angeles.
A few months ago, we would’ve been surprised of Kim announced she was divorcing Kanye West. After the events of this past week, however, we’re almost certain an announcement is on the way.