Dancing With the Stars alum Julianne Hough and former NHL player Brooks Laich announced their separation on May 29, 2020, after three years of marriage. “We have lovingly and carefully taken the time we have needed to arrive at our decision to separate,” the exes, who wed in July 2017, said in a joint statement to People. “We share an abundance of love and respect for one another and will continue to lead with our hearts from that place. We kindly request your compassion and respect for our privacy moving forward.”
News of the split came amid speculation that the two were on shaky ground. Not only did Hough and Laich quarantine separately during the coronavirus pandemic, but they appeared to be taking long stretches apart in the last year of their marriage. “I’ve been on my own. My husband is in Idaho doing lots of yard work,” she said during an April 2020 Instagram Live for Oprah Magazine. “And so we’re kind of doing our separate things right now, but it’s really been a magical time.”
Now that the breakup is official, some fans are wondering what went wrong here. The answer? It appears a lot of factors were at play.
Sometimes people drift apart
Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich’s loving statement seems to suggest the two aren’t at odds with one another. A source backed this sentiment up to People, revealing that there wasn’t a salacious reason for the split. “It’s over, it’s been over for a while, and it’s time to just call it what it is — and it is over,” a source told the outlet. “There is honestly no ill will. He loves her. She loves him. I can truly say they always will. But they both understand they are not meant to go through their lives as husband and wife to each other.”
The insider explained how Hough is a “deeply different person than she was when they got married,” adding, “She is proud of those differences and changes she’s made and she doesn’t want to go back. He [Laich] is the man he is and he shouldn’t change a thing. But they shouldn’t spend the rest of their lives together — not as spouses, anyway.”
Although it’s sad to see these two go their separate ways, the good news is there are no hard feelings. “They are both on the same page about that now,” the source continued. “It took them a while to get here, but now they both understand that and they are hoping to move forward as deeply loving friends forever who will always be supportive and encouraging of one another.”
Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich are on a path of exploration
Julianne Hough talked to Women’s Health in August 2019 about a conversation she had with Brooks Laich about “not being straight.” She explained to the outlet, “I [told him], ‘You know I’m not straight, right?’ And he was like, ‘I’m sorry what?” I was like, ‘I’m not. But I choose to be with you.'”
The dancer commended Laich’s reaction at the time, sharing, “I was connecting to the woman inside that doesn’t need anything, versus the little girl that looked to him to protect me. I was like, ‘Is he going to love this version of me?’ But the more I dropped into my most authentic self, the more attracted he was to me.”
As for Laich, he has also been on a journey of exploration. “I’ve shared this on this show many times, a big part of my journey in 2020 is exploring my sexuality,” the athlete explained during a January 2020 discussion on his How Men Think podcast (via Refinery 29), which he co-hosts with Gavin DeGraw. He continued, “And by that I don’t mean if I’m gay or straight. I mean, like, in my sexual relationship. What is my sexuality? What am I craving, what are my desires and what are my wife’s?”
It sounds like both Laich and Hough went through an intense period of reflection and change. It’s definitely possible their journeys led them to different places, and that’s OK.
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