The Dutch superstar - who transferred to Hamburg during the summer - admitted striking his wife in front of a number of guests at a party after the two got into a blazing argument.
"It was very foolish of me. I'm an idiot. I'm very sorry. It should never have happened," he told German newspaper Bild, and though model and TV presenter Sylvie quickly said publicly that she has "forgiven him already" the couple have now separated.
The 29-year-old footballer and his 34-year-old wife married in 2005, instantly becoming one of football's most glamorous couples: he a star with clubs including Real Madrid, she one of Germany's most famous TV presenters and regular winner of "hottest WAG" polls.
Dutch international Van der Vaart decided to leave White Hart Lane after two years this summer in order to go to Hamburg and be closer to his wife's work base in nearby Cologne.
But it appears that the move did not help the pair save their relationship.
"I am very sad that it did not work with us. We are the culprits," said the midfielder. "Sylvie and I have to answer for it, that our marriage does not work."
Syvlie added that, "We have unfortunately drifted apart over time. It was a gradual process that was not easy to stop. Even though it sounds weird, we love and respect each other."