The real reason Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds ended their engagement

Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds might be happily married to other people — to hip hop's Souleye and to Blake Lively, respectively — but, once upon a time, the two were engaged to be married to one another. The pair of Canadian transplants, who met at a birthday party for Drew Barrymore back in 2002, were engaged to wed just two years after dating but called it quits long before they could walk down the aisle. 

Although they had very different reactions to the split, they each managed to keep the finer details of their breakup under wraps. However, a close inspection of the stories surrounding their relationship — from their status leading up to the decision to end it to what has transpired since then — might offer a few clues about why the two couldn't make their love last. Let's take a look at some of the reasons Ryan Reynolds and Alanis Morissette ended their engagement.

She was heartbroken by their split

Morissette has made it abundantly clear through her music that her split from Reynolds was one-sided … and it was not her choice. Her 2008 album, Flavors of Entanglement, included the single "Torch," which the singer-songwriter has openly admitted was inspired by her breakup. "It's really about my grief," she told Access Hollywood. "I think the most painful, sort of suffering oriented moments in my life [are] when I'm resisting something … If I just say, 'It's true. I'm unbelievably insecure, really broken, devastated,' then I can move through it, toward the next place. But if I keep resisting it, I'll stay there forever."

The lyrics to "Torch" made it clear that she didn't see the split coming, with lines like "I never dreamed I would have to lay down my torch for you like this." They also hint that she thought she and Reynolds had big plans together, with the verse, "I miss your warmth and the thought / Of us bringing up our kids." 

Morissette called the entire album-making experience "cathartic" in helping her get through the then-fresh breakup from Reynolds and told Women's Health that the lyrics to her song "Not As We" were highly relevant to her post-breakup healing process. In other words, Morissette was not afraid to lay it bare that Reynolds left her with a broken heart.

Differing personal values may have played a part

Although it may not have been her choice, Morissette has blamed herself a bit for what happened between her and Reynolds. As she told Women's Health, "I get angry at myself for staying in relationships way too long." However, she has also hinted that there may have been some fundamental differences between them that made their relationship unsustainable, whether she realized it at the time or not.

Speaking to People about her self-imposed period of reflection and album-making after she and Reynolds separated, she admitted to experiencing her own sort of "rock bottom" after the "personal unraveling of significant relationships" and that, while she was back on the dating scene, there was a critical difference in what she was looking for. "My nature is always hope filled. It's more about values matching now. That's the foundation," she explained. 

That certainly sparked some intrigue into what kind of different "values" she and Reynolds must have had, and the gossip mill seemed to supply that very answer right away…

He moved on really, really quickly

All told, Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds were together for around four years. However, despite the seriousness and length of their relationship, not to mention the emotional havoc ending it wreaked on her, he had no trouble moving on whatsoever. In fact, it only took him about two months to go public with his budding relationship with fellow actor Scarlett Johansson, and it was hardly a rebound romance. Reynolds and Johansson became engaged to each other within a year's time, and the two were married within months.

Naturally, the timing of their hook-up in and of itself raised some eyebrows. Whereas Morissette was so grief-stricken by the split that she had to channel that emotion into her music, Reynolds was well enough over it to move on without much of a grace period at all. Ultimately, the reasons for his later split with Johansson may have provided some insight into his breakup with Morissette…

Was Reynolds too competitive?

Johansson has plainly blamed her divorce from Reynolds on issues of competitiveness stemming from sharing the same sort of career. She told Parade magazine, for example, "It takes a man who's not only confident in the love that you have for one another, but confident in what he has going on in his own career. He has to be in a field that's completely different from yours." Although she didn't name him directly, it's widely believed she was speaking of her failed marriage to Reynolds.

Although Reynolds and Morissette enjoyed separate careers, any lack of confidence about his then-waffling film resume could have also been impacted by Morissette's Hollywood accomplishments at the time. Not only had she earned a recurring role on TV's Nip/Tuck but she snagged her second Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for "Wunderkind" from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Considering it would take more than a decade for Reynolds to earn recognition by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, there may have been some competition between them as well.

Morissette seemed to confirm as much when she later discussed her successful marriage to current husband Mario Treadway, a.k.a. MC Souleye, telling People, "Relationships go from infatuation to power struggle and then most people break up. I think it's getting juicy as we're going on the third phase of helping each other heal and grow." The mention of a "power struggle" sure does sound familiar, doesn't it?

Did he step out with someone else?

Whether or not the close timing of Ryan Reynolds and Scarlet Johansson's relationship and his split with Alanis Morissette was mere coincidence, there are some who believe he may have engaged in an affair with another woman before his breakup from the popular singer. Reynolds and 7th Heaven actress Jessica Biel shared the screen in the flop of a film Blade: Trinity in 2004, and some have speculated that the two became more than friends after, or perhaps even during, production on the picture. 

Reynolds and Biel were spotted out and about together in Hollywood in 2007, causing rumors that they'd been dating in secret very shortly after his public split from Morissette. The fact that Reynolds and Biel later endured a very complicated love quadrangle with their eventual spouses, Scarlet Johansson and singer-actor Justin Timberlake, respectively, did very little to quell such speculation.

The pressures of the spotlight might've been too much

Setting aside the salacious details surrounding their breakup, there may have been other, more practical reasons that Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds did not last. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the doldrums she'd waded through to create her big breakup album, Flavors of Entanglement, the artist hinted that the pressure of having such a public relationship as she did with Reynolds may have been damaging to them.

Although she didn't specifically lay out that allegation, she told the magazine that she wouldn't allow her next important relationship to become such a fixture of the tabloid circuit, saying, "Public romance? I'm going to be avoiding that in the future. I think the only time I'll talk about any guy I'm with will be when I'm married with six kids. 'That guy who's with me all the time? Yeah. He's my husband.'" Indeed, the next time anyone would hear about her love life was when she married Treadway in a private ceremony in 2010.

She was a 'full-blown love addict'

Reynolds was not Morissette's first major love story to play out in the public eye. Before she hit the mainstream with her mega-hit album Jagged Little Pill, she also dated comedic actor and Full House star Dave Coulier for some time in the early '90s. He even claimed to have inspired one of her most memorable singles from the album, "You Oughta Know" (although he later denied it).

After things went south with Reynolds, Morissette admitted that she may have jumped into romance headfirst a few too many times. She told the Los Angeles Times that part of the reason her split from Reynolds was so terrible for her to endure was that it wasn't the first time she'd been so hurt. "I think it's the straw that breaks the camel's back. It's having had too many of them. And I was a full-blown love addict, so it was like, 'I can't keep doing this, my body can't take it.' Breakups are a horrible thing for almost everybody I know. For someone who is a love addict, it's debilitating," she told the paper. "I've been on a constant journey toward finally surrendering and hitting the rock bottom that I've been avoiding my whole life. So this was a huge, critical juncture for me. Everything broke, and it was an amazing and horrifying time."

They may not have been ready for marriage

Before their split, Morissette and Reynolds seemed to be on cloud nine during her engagement. Morissette told People, "He's just such a supportive creature. I feel so loved by him, in a trampoline kind of way. He's always very happy for me." However, the two never seemed to want to progress from the engagement period to a full-blown marriage. As she told the same publication, "We're just really enjoying this phase," to which Reynolds reportedly added, "We feel like we're already married."

Considering how swiftly his subsequent nuptials to Johansson came along — and the fact that he later married current wife Blake Lively without ever even announcing an engagement to her — the perpetual pause of his engagement to Morissette would not prove to be the norm for the actor. Indeed, Morissette herself would also take much less time to become a bride the next time she was engaged, marrying Treadway in 2010 after dating for about a year. In other words, there's a chance that even though Reynolds and Morissette had agreed to get married, their intention to actually do so may not have been very strong.

They've both moved on, once and for all

Years later, Alanis Morissette and Ryan Reynolds have fully moved on from one another. And Morissette has since publicly wished her ex well, telling The OC Register back in 2008, "I have enough distance, so to be perfectly honest I'm not really that focused on it. I wish anyone whom I love, whether I hang out with them or not, great success and love in their life. So – Godspeed." Meanwhile, Reynolds' way of returning the friendly sentiment came a lot later and in a very different fashion.

In 2016, he appeared on the Today show to promote the release of Deadpool and unexpectedly broke out into a falsetto rendition of Morissette's most iconic hit, "Ironic." The line delivery was in the context of him showing off the superhero talent he'd love to have in real life (that is, being able to recreate slow-motion versions of famous music videos), but the resulting headlines were understandably laser-focused on the irony of his song choice. Hey, at least they can laugh about it all now.