In April, amid the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the Very Cavallari star and the retired football star, who share three children, announced that they were splitting after seven years of marriage and a decade of togetherness. While some were surprised, despite the fact that they almost didn’t make it down the aisle, to begin with, Cavallari says years of problems led to them making the decision to split.
“I always thought it was interesting when people would refer to us as ‘couple goals,’” The Hills and Laguna Beach alum told People magazine. “I was like, ‘If you guys only knew.’”
The Uncommon James guru admitted, “We definitely kept a lot of stuff private.” The last season of Very Cavallari, things came to a head, however. “Producers saw stuff, but they didn’t put it in the show — which is good, because I don’t want my kids to ever [see that].”
While their split announcement came at a surprising time — they just returned from a trip to the Bahamas — “It didn't happen overnight,” Cavallari said of their relationship crumbling. “We tried really, really hard for years and years. It was the hardest decision I've ever made.”
She continued, “Every relationship has their stuff. I met Jay when I was 23. I was a baby. Jay and I had so much love for each other, but we grew up. When you work at something for so many years and nothing's changing, I think you have to just make a decision. We all want to be happy.”
And she is “proud for making this decision. It wore at me every single day for years. I feel like my whole world is opening up now because of it, and I'm just feeling the best I’ve felt in a really long time. I’m really excited about the future all around.”
“I still care so much about him and talk to him almost every day,” she of Cutler. “We have three kids together. He's going to be in my life forever.”
Those kids were at the forefront of her mind in deciding to end Very Cavallari after three seasons.
“My kids are the most important thing to me,” she said. “What's best for them? Probably not doing a reality show, having to talk about divorcing their dad."
As for being done with the show, she said she’s “relieved” because she “knew I was going to have to talk about everything, and I didn’t want to. Thinking about filming was giving me anxiety.”
Now several months after making the split public, she’s feeling better in her own skin.
“A year ago I felt like I was drowning. That’s not to say I don’t have really hard days, but for the past however many years, I’ve been putting everybody else first. I’m going to focus on me for a minute, look inward and figure out what I ultimately want out of life,” she said.
And learning how best to operate in a co-parenting situation.
“I want to be strong for them, and I want to be the best mom that I can be for them,” she said. And while juggling three young kids is “a lot, I'm not going to lie,” having a split custody arrangement makes her “appreciate” the time they have together “so much more. Every moment that I have with them I just want to love on them and be with them.”
Cavallari didn’t talk dating in the interview, but Cutler has been linked to new women amid the split. Though he has said the “only lady in my life” was one of his mini cows. (He lives on a farm in Nashville.)
The couple started dating in 2010 after meeting at a Chicago Bears football game. They got engaged the next year, but called it off — after their engagement party — soon after, with Cavallari having to return all the gifts. Later that year, they reunited and welcomed their first child the next year before marrying in 2013.