Just hours after the news broke that country superstar Jason Aldean and his wife Jessica Ussery have decided to divorce after 12 years of marriage, the singer has issued a statement.

It was revealed that Aldean filed for divorce in Williamson Country in Tennessee on Friday (April 26), just one day after reports surfaced that the couple had separated. The singer cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the permanent separation.

"This is a really tough time for my entire family. Jessica and I have been together since we were teenagers. We've been through a lot of ups and downs over the years as we grew up together as a couple," Aldean tells People. "She will always be important to me because she is the mother of my children, and I know that we will both always make our daughters our number one priority."

The couple were high school sweethearts, but their marriage took a public hit last year when Aldean was photographed kissing Charlotte Bobcats dancer and former ‘American Idol‘ singer Brittany Kerr in a bar. He attributed the error in judgement to alcohol, and the couple initially presented a united front in interviews. But sources claimed that the couple separated as far back as January.

Still, Aldean asks that fans not jump to conclusions for the reasons behind the split. "I've learned that everyone always rushes to judgement when they hear news like this. That's really hard because no one knows anything about our relationship but us," he explains. "I understand that because of my job, I have to go through a lot of this in the public eye, but for my girls' sake I really wish people would give us some level of privacy and at the very least be respectful of them."

Aldean and Ussery have two young daughters together, Keeley, 10, and Kendyl, 5.