What Meghan Markle's Exes Have Said About Her

Sure, Meghan Markle was already a famous actor before becoming a duchess, but her marriage to Prince Harry shaped her into one of the most recognizable people in the world. The pair was splashed across global headlines following their 2018 wedding, and again in 2020 after announcing their decision to step down as working members of the royal family.

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex relocated stateside, fans continued to dissect Harry's fractured relationship with his father and brother, at times even blaming Meghan for the perceived familial schism. And in the wake of the couple's failed Spotify deal, there's been extra scrutiny on their marriage. "It's been a challenging time," a source told Us Weekly in August. That said, Harry and Meghan continue to put on a united front. "Their relationship has challenges, but they are 100 percent committed to making their marriage work," the insider added.

With all the attention on their marriage, we can't help but think back to Meghan's previous relationships and what went wrong. Unlike Harry, the former "Suits" star was married once before — to film producer Trevor Engelson — and the breakup wasn't amicable. According to the Mirror, Engelson was reportedly "blindsided" by Meghan's request to divorce, and it took him years to get over her. "He's a good guy but Meghan crushed him when she demanded a divorce," the source explained. Here's what Engelson and Meghan's other exes had to say about her.

Trevor Engelson and Meghan Markle had a nasty split

Meghan Markle met Trevor Engelson in 2004 and the pair was together for nearly a decade, even tying the knot in 2011. But once Meghan's acting career took off and she relocated to Canada to film "Suits," the distance reportedly put a strain on the relationship (via the Mirror). By 2013, it was over for good. In the book, "Meghan: A Hollywood Princess," biographer Andrew Morton wrote that Engelson "could barely contain his anger" when Meghan returned her engagement and wedding rings in the mail. The move had him feeling like "a piece of something stuck to the bottom of Meghan's shoe," and it didn't sit well with the estranged couple's friends, either. Ninaki Priddy, who had been the maid of honor at the Engelson-Markle wedding, was so horrified by her former bestie's actions that she reportedly no longer wished to "associate herself" with Meghan.

Since Meghan skyrocketed to international fame after marrying Prince Harry there's been talk of Engelson releasing a tell-all memoir about the "years of hell" with his ex, touching on everything from "claims of an emotional affair" to "temper tantrums," per Life & Style. Apparently, Meghan changed completely after landing her breakout gig on "Suits." As a source told Woman's Day (via the Mirror), "Their split was sudden and so ruthlessly done" that Engelson "felt used" by Meghan. It's probably a chapter both Engelson and Meghan would like to put to bed for good.

Meghan Markle nearly linked up with Ashley Cole

Though not technically an ex, English footballer Ashley Cole and Meghan Markle made headlines for a potential love connection shortly after she split from Engelson. In 2013, the Daily Mail reported that Meghan had asked around about Cole, who'd "been trying really hard" to reach out to her. Meghan was warned about his notorious infidelity and that was that. But Ashley's brother, Matty Cole, took offense to the story. "It's nonsense, completely made up. [Ashley] definitely wouldn't have to beg Meghan Markle for a date," Matty told The Sun. "She's not the kind of girl he goes for anyway, and he's never fancied her."

In 2019, Ashley himself appeared to address the rumors around his infidelity, and more indirectly, around Meghan. "I'd say I've grown up," the ex-Chelsea defender told The Telegraph. "I was a young, angry kid at the time and now I've grown up and understand the things I did is life, it happens." Ashley went on to share that he has learned from his mistakes, and is happy with his choices. "These are the things I focus on now — my kids and my girlfriend," he added. "It's a different me, I'm more of a family man now."

Matt Cardle and Meghan Markle had an online flirtation

Matt Cardle was crowned the winner of "The X Factor" in 2010, but he didn't catch Meghan Markle's eye until 2015. In fact, he'd just made his musical debut in "Memphis" when the future royal started following him on social media and they struck up a conversation. To hear Cardle tell the story, it was never a full-fledged relationship. "It was so little then and if not nothing now," the singer told ITV in 2019 (via the Daily Mail). "Yeah, like I say it was nothing, it was absolutely nothing. It's quite funny how something can be made up from nothing."

A year later, Cardle elaborated on their flirtation, explaining that it was a brief dalliance before both he and Meghan settled down with their current partners. "It was just a very weird situation — very odd. And I really don't know how it came about," he shared with The Sun. "Life's got a course and I was not on that one. I've laughed about it, but it's amazing thinking back."

Once Cardle met his girlfriend Amber Hernaman, he knew she was special and immediately cut ties with Meghan. "He met [Amber] and knew it wasn't appropriate to keep talking to Meghan, so he ended up ghosting her ... He didn't reply to her last message," a source dished (via Good To Know).

Meghan Markle moved in with Cory Vitiello

The timing of Meghan Markle's relationship with restaurateur Cory Vitiello is a little murky, but biographer Tom Bower wrote in his book "Revenge: Harry, Meghan and the War Between The Windsors" (via Newsweek) that love was in the air beginning in the summer of 2014. That July, Bower noted that Meghan and the cast of "Suits" dined at Vitiello's restaurant in Toronto. Meghan later gushed over Vitiello in her now-defunct lifestyle blog, "The Tig." Bower wrote, "Shortly afterwards, Vitiello ended a relationship and started to date Meghan. Together they rented a three-bedroomed home in the city's Annex district."

Bower also claimed there was overlap in Meghan's relationships with Prince Harry and Vitiello, as the actor was still living with Vitiello when she was set up on a blind date with the Duke of Sussex. Per The Sun, Vitiello said, "I can't comment on that," responding to a question about whether he and Meghan split because of Prince Harry. However, that does seem to be the case. Prince Harry is believed to have flown out and visited Meghan in Toronto in July 2016, while she and Vitiello were still together. Apparently, Vitiello was "relieved" when Meghan initiated the split because "the final months [together] had been unpleasant" (via Page Six).

Of course, since Meghan has found her fairytale happily-ever-after, all of these exes are long in the rearview.