The Real Reason Rebecca Gayheart And Eric Dane Split

Nothing lasts forever — not even love. At least, not for celebrity couples in Hollywood. Just two days after Valentine's Day, actors Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane officially called it quits on their 14-year marriage. What caused the two longtime lovebirds to finally terminate their relationship? Read on to learn all about why this pair just couldn't stay together.

A race to the alter

Every love story has a beginning, but not all are very romantic. Though Gayheart and Dane weathered nearly a decade and a half together, the celebrity pairing didn't have a fairy tale start. 

Gayheart and Dane quickly tied the knot less than a year after their first date in January 2004, but their wedding apparently wasn't a well-thought-out event — it wasn't even planned!

Recalling his impromptu proposal, Dane told Express, "We were having dinner at a restaurant and she asked me if I ever did anything impulsive and I said, 'Like what? Ask someone to marry me?' and she said, 'Yeah, something like that,' and I said, 'Do you want to marry me...?'" After she said yes, the two paid for dinner and grabbed a flight to Las Vegas to seal the deal.

While not everyone needs a blowout bash to celebrate a marriage, we have to wonder if Gayheart and Dane's spontaneous ceremony was truly sparked by love or if it was all just one big dare. 

Or perhapsGayheart was simply trying to hang on to something positive after experiencing a tragedy a couple years earlier...

A tragic backstory

In June 2001, Gayheart made headlines for a fatal car accident that killed a 9-year-old boy. According to E! News, the Beverly Hills, 90210 actress swerved around cars that had apparently stopped to allow the child, identified as Jorge Cruz Jr., to cross the street. She struck the young boy with her car. He died the next day in the hospital.

Gayheart was charged with vehicular manslaughter, to which she pleaded no contest. She was sentenced to three years of probation, a one-year suspension of her driver's license, and a $2,800 fine, as well as 750 hours of community service and an order to appear in a public service announcement about driving awareness.

In an interview with People magazine, Gayheart described the incident and what followed as a "terrible, terrible time," explaining that she had trouble functioning in her everyday life and had sought help from a therapist.

While we can't know for sure what brought Gayheart and Dane together, we certainly couldn't blame the Jawbreaker star if she was desperate for a fresh start and perhaps rushed into a relationship with Dane in an attempt to move on from the past.

He struggled with addiction

Gayheart's not the only one with skeletons in her closet. Dane also has a few demons — notably, his addiction to prescription medication (via People). In July 2011, the Grey's Anatomy star was admitted to a treatment facility in Los Angeles to seek help for his reliance on painkillers. His problem reportedly began when he was prescribed drugs after sustaining a sports injury.

While his stay in rehab was brief and there's been no other indications that he's since abused prescription drugs, an addiction can place some serious strain on a relationship — even if the troubling habit is a thing of the past.

They were embarrassed by some frisky footage

In 2009, this pair was subjected to public embarrassment when a video was leaked to Gawker showing Gayheart and Dane naked in a hot tub with former teen beauty queen Kari Ann Peniche (via ABC News). Though the footage was by no means a sex tape, the contents of the video proved to be cringe-worthy all the same. The three reportedly appeared to be intoxicated as they discussed what their adult entertainment names would be — pairing the names of their childhood pets with the streets on which they grew up. At one point, Gayheart admitted that she felt "so high."

Obviously, the video didn't make the couple look too good. In an interview with People in 2014, Dane blamed himself for the backlash that followed. "We've all made mistakes," he told the magazine. "My one regret is that I got the person I love most wrapped up in all that: Rebecca."

Depression may have strained their union

Caring for one's mental health is just as important as getting in shape physically. That said, when either one are falling by the wayside, it can be a cause of stress in a relationship. Unfortunately, Dane's own struggle with depression could have been a contributing factor to the dissolution of his marriage with Gayheart.

News of Dane's depression first broke in late April 2017, after production on his TNT show The Last Ship was shut down. At the time, Dane reportedly needed to take time off "to deal with personal issues," according to the actor's rep (via Variety). A few months later, Dane commented on his leave, explaining that the depression came on suddenly.

"That was a scary thing, when you wake up and you're like: 'I don't want to get out of bed,'" Dane told the Today show in July 2017 (via People). "I was seeing these doctors thinking that there was something physically wrong with me, because I'd never felt like that."

While Dane may have gotten the professional help he needed, we wonder if the depression had anything to do with his relationship — or, on the other hand, if treating his depression caused him to see his marriage in a new light.

She suffered another tragic loss

It's possible that Gayheart and Dane's relationship took a nosedive after the Nip/Tuck actress experienced a personal loss — the death of her younger sister, Rachel, in 2017. 

According to Radar Online, Rachel, a 38-year-old single mom, came down with a case of pneumonia just days after she'd been imprisoned at the Kentucky River Regional Jail. She died in the hospital a short time later.

Sharing a photo of her family on Instagram, Gayheart announced the heartbreaking news to her followers. "My baby sister Rachel 'ray' has sadly passed away," she wrote. "Let this be a reminder that every day is precious and we must live our best life NOW."

Could the untimely loss of her sister have led Gayheart to reexamine her own life choices?

What's the official word?

At the time of this writing, Gayheart and Dane have yet to open up about their separation, aside from making a brief statement regarding their split. However, according to the divorce papers Gayheart filed on Feb. 16, 2018, she listed an ever-popular celebrity go-to as the cause for her split from: "irreconcilable differences." 

That doesn't offer much information about their breakup, but it appears neither star is publicly blaming the other. Calling their divorce the "best decision for our family," the now-exes told People, "We will continue our friendship and work as a team to co-parent our two beautiful girls as they are the most important thing in the world to us."

Sounds like these two have their priorities straight.