A few days after Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher announced their divorce in a shared Instagram post on April 5, the Australian actress was spotted walking her dog in North London. Looking ready for spring in a flowy light blue dress, cream-colored jacket and pink shades, Fisher — who wasn’t wearing her wedding ring — chatted on her phone while holding a cup of coffee during the outing.

Sources close to Fisher exclusively tell In Touch the Wedding Crashers star isn’t looking back. “She was unhappy for a while,” says a longtime friend.

The ultra-private former couple — who tied the knot in 2010 and share daughters Olive, 17, and Elula, 13, and son Montgomery, 9 — were at odds for years over where to live (she wanted her native Australia, he wanted to return to his hometown, London) and their polar-opposite personalities.

While Fisher, 48, converted to Judaism for Baron Cohen, 52, and sacrificed her career so his could take center stage, she received little in return, says the friend, other than the Borat star’s domineering and controlling behavior and workaholic tendencies. “I don’t think Sacha ever thought Isla would leave,” says the friend. “It took courage for her to finally say, ‘Enough.'”

Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The split comes amid the Da Ali G Show star’s recent controversy with actress Rebel Wilson. In the weeks leading up to the release of her new memoir, Rebel Rising, the Bridesmaid actress claimed she had a chapter in the book devoted to a “massive a–hole” she’d once worked with.

She later identified the man to be Baron Cohen, her costar in 2016’s The Brothers Grimsby. The 44-year-old alleged he was “trying to threaten” her and prevent her from publishing the memoir because of a damaging chapter about him, vowing, “I will not be bullied or silenced by high priced lawyers or PR crisis managers.”

In the book, which hit U.S. bookstores April 2, the Aussie actress claims Baron Cohen repeatedly harassed her about appearing nude in a scene despite her no-nudity clause, then told her, “OK, now I want you to stick your finger up my a–,” during the shoot as his male pals snickered.

Wilson said she was scared of Baron Cohen, so she compromised and “slapped him on the a– and improvised a few lines.” A rep for Baron Cohen called the allegations “demonstrably false” but some feel the controversy was bad timing for the marriage.

“Isla already had one foot out the door when the whole Rebel thing blew up,” says the second source. “She didn’t want any part of it, nor did she want to have to defend Sacha’s behavior.”

The second source says the actress was all too aware of Baron Cohen’s dark side. “Isla was well attuned to Sacha’s smutty jokes and mean streak” but had “let it slide” because she had put him on a pedestal. “Everyone thought Sacha was a genius, and Isla did too,” says the source, noting that she had tried to leave a few years earlier. (She was reportedly talking to high-priced U.K.-based celebrity lawyer Baroness Fiona Shackleton back in 2022.) “He managed to convince her with promises that he’d work less and be more present.”

The source says Fisher remained in the marriage in part because of their three children. “Isla stayed longer than she would have for the kids’ sake.”

Work always came first for Baron Cohen. “He would spend days on end in character or on location,” says the Fisher pal, adding that the actor was in his comfort zone while performing versus being on dad duty. “He’s in his element on the road with his crew, and the marriage crumbled under the weight of all that.”

His ego was also a lot to bear — especially after the success of 2020’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. “He was finally getting praised and paid like an A-lister and it went to his head,” says the source close to Fisher. “Sacha surrounds himself with people who worship him. He got comfortable not having to answer to anyone, which is terrible in a marriage, where compromise is essential.”

Sacha Baron Cohen

It wasn’t easy for Fisher to escape Baron Cohen’s shadow. Her priority is making sure the kids are OK. “She wants to keep her split with Sacha as amicable as possible, and they will continue to co-parent,” says the second source.

The source close to Isla says the actress is looking to Nicole Kidman‘s 2001 divorce from Tom Cruise as guidance. “If you look at what Nicole was able to do after Tom, that’s Isla’s template,” says the source. “This truly marks a new chapter for her.”

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