Skirt chaser RICHARD GERE has infuriated his wife Carey Lowell by rushing to comfort gorgeous DIANE LANE after her recent divorce an­nouncement.

The handsome actor, 63, damaged his own shaky marriage by letting Diane – his co-star in the steamy 2008 film “Unfaithful” – cry on his shoulder about her split from Josh Brolin, say sources. At the time, Gere was in Los Angeles for the Academy Awards with­out his wife.

“Carey is seething that Richard was the first to rush in and help a damsel in distress,” revealed an insider. “She knows he enjoys playing that role and believes he flirts with every vulnerable woman he stumbles upon.”

The couples are old friends. Josh and Di­ane even stayed at the bed and breakfast inn that Gere and his wife own in Bed­ford, N.Y.

Still, “Carey doesn’t think it’s her husband’s job to con­sole Diane,” said the insider.

In an explosive showdown, Richard was read the riot act by his 52-year-old wife. Carey eventually stormed out of the room with Richard yelling after her that she was being paranoid for no reason, according to the source.

As The ENQUIRER re­ported late last year, the couple – who wed in 2002 and have a 13-year-old son to­gether – had a huge dustup when Richard flirted with an attractive blonde in an East Hampton, N.Y., restau­rant.

Although Gere’s reps denied any problem at the time, our insider insists that Carey is fed up with Richard’s roving eye – and his comforting Diane, 48, may be the final straw.

Concluded the in­sider: “I wouldn’t be surprised if a divorce announcement comes from Richard and Carey as well.”