The truth about Justin Hartley and Sofia Pernas' relationship

In a story that wouldn't be out of place as a plotline in the network TV drama he stars in, This Is Us star Justin Hartley is now officially in a relationship with his former co-star and long-time friend Sofia Pernas — and it only took five years, some heartbreak, and a well-publicized divorce to get there.

Hartley, whose nearly two-year marriage to Selling Sunset real estate reality star Chrishell Stause ended in 2019, has purportedly been dating Pernas since at least May 2020, when, per Us Weekly, the couple was first spotted kissing in public. There is a chance that they started dating months beforehand, though — Hartley's ex-wife Stause, who had also been a friend of Pernas' during their marriage, apparently stopped liking Pernas' social media posts as early as February 2020.

The relationship between Pernas and Hartley, however, extends much farther back than that, having spent years as friends before embarking on their romantic entanglement. So what's the story behind Justin Hartley and Sofia Pernas' coupling? Let's figure it out.

Justin Hartley's divorce pre-Sofia Pernas was messy

Before we get into the specifics of the relationship between actor Justin Hartley and actress Sofia Pernas, there's definitely one thing you need to know: much like many divorces, his split from ex-wife Chrishell Stause was messy and complicated. As Us Weekly reported, their relationship had been on the outs for quite some time before news of their split went public. At least, according to one half of the former couple. In divorce documents obtained by TMZ, Hartley listed the date of their separation as July 2019, while Stause listed it as November 2019, the day that Hartley filed the paperwork. 

Us Weekly also noted that Stause's public commentary post-break largely fell on the side of astonishment, and she's not the only one who was shocked. "The divorce filing was a big surprise to everyone around Justin and Chrishell in terms of their friends, [though they] had been having problems with the marriage for a while," one anonymous source told Us Weekly.

According to trailers for the third season of Selling Sunset, which is set to premiere in early August 2020, the divorce will play a large part in the reality television show's plotline. "I'm just kind of in shock with it all," Stause confesses in a teaser clip of Selling Sunset's Season 3. "It's just a lot all at once because everybody in the whole world knows. I love him so much. This was my best friend. Who do I talk to now?"

Justin Hartley and Sofia Pernas got together after years of friendship

The friendship between Justin Hartley and Sofia Pernas pre-dates his marriage to Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause (which lasted from 2017 to 2019, though the couple dated for four years prior to tying the knot). Pernas and Hartley met on the set of the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless in 2015, after she was cast as Hartley's character's girlfriend, per The Sun. During their joint acting stint, the two became friends. Interestingly enough, Stause was also on The Young and the Restless in 2016, and she was also good friends with Pernas for years, according to The Sun

While it's still unclear when Pernas and Hartley hooked up for the first time, their first public sighting occurred six months after his divorce from Stause, per E! News. And Hartley's nearest and dearest seem to be on board with the new 'ship — especially his teenage daughter Isabella, who he shares with his first wife, Lindsay Korman. Per Us Weekly, Isabella and Pernas follow each other on social media, and Pernas left the teen several loving messages during a recent celebratory birthday post on Instagram.