RICHARD GERE and his gorgeous wife CAREY LOWELL recently announced that they were spitting up – and The ENQUIRER reveals that it wasn’t just irreconcilable differences that drove them apart!

In a bombshell expose, we blow the lid off the real reason the celebrity couple are ending their 11-year marriage – and the outrageous thing the “American Gigolo” star did that proved to be the last straw.

During a blistering argument over the incident, a source says that Carey “broke down in tears and laid into Richard, screaming at him for being disrespectful. She told him she wanted a divorce.”

As The ENQUIRER has previously reported, former Bond Girl Carey has long been troubled by her still hunky husband’s skirt-chasing ways.

In December 2012, the beauty blew her stack after Gere tried to cozy up to a pretty blonde at a restaurant in East Hampton, N.Y.

And in March, we reported on how he was once again trying her patience by comforting his sexy “Unfaithful” co-star Diane Lane after she announced her split from her hubby Josh Brolin.

But sources say the 64-year-old actor finally did something so thoughtless and disgraceful it pushed Carey over the edge — and The ENQUIRER has ALL the salacious details. Be the first to read all about it by picking up our latest issue – on newsstands now!