Brooks Laich is getting in touch with his feelings.
The former NHL star, 37, opened up about connecting with his emotions during Monday's episode of his How Men Think podcast with musician Gavin DeGraw, revealing that it has taken him a while to learn how to express himself in a healthy way after feeling "unemotional in personal relationships."
"I cry all the time and it’s wonderful. It's something I've recently learned since the passing of our two dogs," he said, referencing the 2019 deaths of his Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexi and Harley, whom he shared with ex Julianne Hough.
"I've learned how to honor emotions in the moment and let them come up and through me and out of me, and a lot of times that's through crying," he continued. "And you know me … I played pro hockey for 15 years, threw dudes into dudes. I'm a dude. But I love being able to release emotion truthfully, organically, in the moment [and] not suppress it."
Laich went on to explain that he had previously tried to "stuff" his feelings, but realized that it was "not healthy" to do so.
"It's liberating to allow and give yourself the grace and the capacity to just allow that emotion to live and come out. And then it's like, 'Oh, god. That felt great,' " he shared. "I've just learned that, and it is so liberating to honor those emotions and let them come to life. And then they don't persist with you."
The hockey player's candid comments come amid news that Hough, 32, had filed for divorce on Monday after three years of marriage.
Hough and Laich announced their seperation in May, telling PEOPLE in a joint statement: "We have lovingly and carefully taken the time we have needed to arrive at our decision to separate."
"We share an abundance of love and respect for one another and will continue to lead with our hearts from that place," the couple said. "We kindly request your compassion and respect for our privacy moving forward."
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Earlier this year, multiple sources told PEOPLE that Hough and Laich had hit a rough patch in their marriage. They had also been social distancing separately during the coronavirus pandemic, with Laich in Idaho and Hough at home in Los Angeles.
"They were trying to work on things but Julianne realized she’s happier having her freedom," a source recently told PEOPLE. "Brooks tried to give it to her but he also hit his limit."
The pair announced their engagement in August 2015 following a year and a half of dating. They tied the knot in July 2017 in an outdoor ceremony outside of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
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