The real reasons Fergie and Josh Duhamel split

On Sept. 14, 2017, singer Fergie and actor Josh Duhamel announced they were separating after eight years of marriage and nearly 13 years as a couple. 

"With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year," the pair told People in a joint statement. "To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family."

After two years of separation, the exes finalized their divorce in the most drama-free possible way. There was no knock-down, drag out custody battle. No one asked for spousal support in the amount of small country's GDP. In fact, according to The Blast, who got ahold of the settlement details, "both of them have told the court they have agreed to a private settlement, and it includes all of the above issues: 'child custody and support, spousal support, division of community property, and connection of separate property.'" 

So, what went wrong with this buff, beautiful pair on the way to what seems like the most amicable divorce in Hollywood history? 

Like so many couples, Josh Duhamel and Fergie just grew apart

A source told E! News that Josh Duhamel and Fergie simply weren't as close as they used to be. "They completely grew apart," an insider said. "This was a long time coming and they've been trying to sort everything out this past year." Another insider told Us Weekly, "They had been having problems for the past year. He moved out around early spring. He has been gone most of this summer filming The Buddy Games in Canada."

Another source told E! News, "There wasn't one big fight or final straw. They have a lot of love for each other and for each other's families and there's no bad blood." Another insider told People, "[Their lives] were heading in two separate directions and [they] are often apart because of work."

Fergie herself hinted to Entertainment Tonight Canada that the spark may be gone, noting, "Josh and I truly love each other. I mean, it's grown into a deeper thing to where it's like, we're friends, you know what I mean? There's a deep love there."

Were Josh Duhamel and Fergie just too different?

Some insiders insist Josh Duhamel and Fergie simply didn't have much in common from the beginning.

"Josh is very down to earth and a do-it-yourself kind of guy," a source told E! News. "He's out early in the morning every day doing normal things like going to the hardware store or taking Axl to breakfast. Fergie's in a totally different world... They have always had very separate lives and not a lot in common... There wasn't a lot of overlap in priorities." The insider added, "He was so enamored with her in the beginning that he overlooked things like lifestyle and commonalities. It caught up with them. It just became very clear that they are not on the same page and don't see things the same way."

"People close to them won't be surprised that this ended," a source told People. "A big factor is how different Fergie and Josh are. In the beginning, it was what attracted them to each other and made them so fun to be around... [Fergie is] fun and outgoing, [Duhamel is] charming and relaxed. But they come from totally different backgrounds and they wanted different things."

Fergie and Josh Duhamel had different views on family

A source told Us Weekly that Josh Duhamel, the oldest of four children, did not have the same appreciation for the Hollywood lifestyle as Fergie. "[Duhamel] has always wanted a big family, [but] that lifestyle is something that isn't a priority for Fergie. She came from divorced parents and didn't have as normal of a childhood as Josh did," the insider claimed.

These differing perspectives may have affected their parenting. "[Duhamel] tries very hard to make sure [son Axl is] brought up as normal as possible," the source added, claiming Fergie didn't always comply. "He felt she wasn't doing normal mom activities, and that made Josh frustrated."

Post-split, Duhamel and Fergie have been adamant about how well their co-parenting works, but was there a fundamental difference in how big of a family they wanted? "We negotiated [the number of children] early on," Fergie told Oprah Winfrey on Oprah's Next Chapter (via Us Weekly) in 2012. "Two is our number." However, in 2015, Fergie told Allure, "I felt that it was either going to be another baby or an album [coming next]." She opted for the album, but that same year, Duhamel gushed to Access Hollywood, "I'd love to [have another baby], hopefully in the next year or two."

Josh Duhamel still wants to have more kids

A source told Us Weekly that Fergie and Josh Duhamel "were trying to have another baby" the year before they split, adding, "There had been a lot of talk in Fergie and Josh's household about expanding the family." For whatever reason, that never happened, and that's clearly something at least one of them is still thinking about. "Fergie is more high maintenance and very focused on her career," an insider told People, adding, "He definitely wants more kids and has always wanted to be a family man."

Of course, tabloid "insider" speculation should always be taken with a grain of salt — until the celeb confirms those rumors in their own words. "I'm not 30 years old anymore. I'm 45. I want to have more kids in the next few years," Duhamel said during a December 2018 interview on actor Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast. He added, "So it's more about finding someone young enough to have kids. It's not as if I'm out there trying to just f**k anything. That's not who I am. I'm trying to find a girl that I can be with and have a family with." 

Going to therapy at least got Fergie and Josh Duhamel into a good place

In January 2015, Fergie revealed that she and Duhamel attend regular therapy sessions. "He's not afraid," she told Allure (via Us Weekly) of Duhamel's willingness to go to couples counseling. "He doesn't feel like he's not man enough."

She also opened up about the couples' conflicts to Entertainment Tonight Canada in August 2017, saying that her song "Save It 'Til Morning" is about a lovers' quarrel that spins out of control. "You know what, it's so not worth it, because those things stick with you," she said. "I don't really like to fight anymore... It's not worth hurting each other, because we hurt the ones we love the most sometimes, because we feel the most safe. It's just about, let's not have those ugly words just sitting there for each other," she said. "Let's just take a breath."

At some point, the couple must have worked through their issues, because following their split, Duhamel sat down with actor Dax Shephard for his Armchair Expert podcast, where he described Fergie as "awesome." He also said, "Fergie and I had a great relationship. I love that girl and I always will. Unfortunately, we didn't work, but I will always have her back and she is the mother of my baby." 

Did Josh Duhamel cheat on Fergie?

In 2009, just months after Fergie and Duhamel's wedding, the National Enquirer (via Radar Online) reported that Duhamel enjoyed a guys' night out at a strip club that went way too far. While Duhamel was filming the romantic comedy Life as We Know It (2004) in Atlanta, he and a dancer who went by the stage name "Delilah" allegedly hooked up in his hotel room. Duhamel and Fergie denied the claims, but the dancer reportedly sold her story to the tabloid for $20,000 and passed a polygraph test about the incident.

In 2012, Fergie addressed the incident on Oprah's Next Chapter (via Us Weekly): "When you go through difficult times, it really makes you stronger as a unit, as a partnership. It does for us, anyway. Our love today is a deeper love. We're stronger today definitely because of anything difficult that's happened with us. We deal with it, we communicate. Communicating's the most important thing."

Duhamel told Oprah, "I'm actually happy that all that happened, because we wouldn't be as strong as we are now. As much anger as I carried about it before, I'm actually thankful that it did happen, because in a lot of ways, it made me straighten my a** out."

Did Josh Duhamel's flirty ways cause Fergie to have trust issues?

A source told Star (via Radar Online) that Fergie sent spies to observe Josh Duhamel at an event in Beverly Hills in October 2016. The insider claimed the spies told Fergie that Duhamel was flirting with "a bevy" of women, but when she confronted him about the allegations, "Josh swore nothing happened." Radar Online also reported that Fergie made a lot of unannounced on-set visits while Duhamel was filming The Buddy Games with Olivia Munn to "keep a close eye on [him]."

Duhamel's allegedly frisky antics were the last straw for Fergie, according to an insider who spoke with In Touch"Josh was still flirty with women. He'd lean in and whisper in their ears...and acted single," the source claimed, adding, "Josh seemed like he just needed time to himself. Sometimes he would go out to a bar alone... They are both consumed by work, and that has made it difficult for them to spend time together. When they were together, it seemed like plans were always made around their son. She was patient with Josh but she finally called it quits."

A hectic Hollywood schedule made things hard

With Fergie focusing on her long-awaited 2017 album Double Dutchess, and Duhamel busy filming the TV series The Unsolved and the movie The Buddy Games, their schedules became harder and harder to manage. 

In 2015, Fergie told Allure that their work schedules were built around their son and their marriage. "We've already talked about how we're going to have to trade off," she said. "He's going to have to come on tour with Axl for a while, and then there'll be a break. He'll take a job; I'll be on set with [Axl]. You know?"

By August 2017, the couple was in full-on juggle mode, with Fergie told Entertainment Tonight Canada, "The Google Calendar is everything. It's color-coded, everything's got categories, and we've just got to be really organized about our planning because it's really important for us that [our son] Axl comes first... We're trying to make it happen right now and it's a little bit tough, but we're doing it and we just love him."

That apparently stopped working at some point, or as a source told Entertainment Tonight, "Their schedules were so busy that it was almost a surprise when you would see them together." The good news? "Axl was always on their mind no matter what they were doing," the source claimed, adding, "They really had a good dynamic together. They're both kind, nice, good people."

Did Fergie admit they faked happiness for the press?

A source told Life & Style that Fergie was the one to end the marriage.

The insider said, "We really thought they were working things out. This is shocking. But Fergie and Josh were fighting a lot." The source claimed that that in July 2017, the fighting got really bad ahead of an appearance Duhamel was slated to make for Haute Living, to which Fergie was supposed to join him. "They were yelling at each other, and she never attended."

Perhaps the strain of keeping up appearances during a difficult time in their marriage just became too much? Fergie confessed to awkward scenario when she revealed to People why she and Duhamel kept their their split a secret, despite living separate lives for a while. 

"Honestly, it was just getting a little weird for us with all the romantic questions," she said. "We're great friends, we love each other so much, and it just got to the point where it was getting a little weird. There's no perfect time [to announce a divorce] so we just decided to do it." She added, "We just wanted to get adjusted in private." 

No, Fergie and Josh Duhamel's split wasn't a publicity stunt

After Fergie's brief career lull, she released her sophomore album Double Dutchess just days after she and Josh Duhamel announced their split. Naturally, this led to plenty of speculation that the release date and announcement were part of a strategy to hype the record. After all, Fergie was supposed to drop her new album in 2015, but it never happened. Her single "L.A. Love," released in December 2014, peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard charts and stalled the release of the album. Her next single, "M.I.L.F. $," had a heavily-hyped video featuring celebs such as Chrissy Teigen, Ciara, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Kim Kardashian, but that didn't help much because the track peaked at No. 34 after its July 2016 release. In December 2016, Fergie dropped "Life Goes On," which didn't chart at all.

Another reason people doubted the separation when it was announced? Fergie's parents reportedly had no idea their daughter had split with Duhamel until it made headlines.

With hindsight, we now know Fergie and Duhamel's split was the real deal, but the timing and circumstances of their separation announcement will always have us scratching our chin a bit. 

When Josh Duhamel saw Fergie, it was lust at first sight

Josh Duhamel reportedly first laid eyes on Fergie when a friend of his was over for a barbecue and called him inside to watch a Black Eyed Peas music video. It might not have been love at first sight, but it was certainly lust. It seems Duhamel was so inspired by Fergie's boom boom pow that she made his way into his private fantasies. (We warned you this was going to involve TMI.) 

In 2004, the actor told InStyle (via Us Weekly): "My recurring dream involves the lead singer of The Black Eyed Peas. Oh, my god, I've got the biggest crush on her! God, she is hot!" 

Little did he know that Fergie reads InStyle and happened to see that very article. "I had read in a magazine that he had a naughty dream about me," she told Playboy (via People). "All my friends knew about him because he had been a soap-opera star. I'm not into soap operas, but they told me, 'You gotta go out with him.'" Fergie brought up the dream just seconds after meeting him in person (but more on that in a bit).

Josh Duhamel stalked Fergie before they met

Josh Duhamel's big break occurred in 2003 via NBC's Las Vegas. It was on the set of that show that he finally got to meet Fergie face-to-face, but the connection was no accident

In an interview with Parade Magazine (via Celebitchy) Duhamel jokes about stalking his wife in the beginning of their relationship. In the article, he discusses his starring role in When in Rome (2010). In the flick, a Roman fountain casts a spell on Kristen Bell's character that causes her to be stalked by three different guys. In that context, it makes sense when Duhamel says, "I could relate. That's how I got my wife. I literally stalked her for weeks until she said yes. They say it's not stalking if she says yes."

Likely, that was just a joke, but Duhamel also admitted to trying to convince Las Vegas producers that The Black Eyed Peas should appear on the show. Sure enough, the band makes a cameo in Season 2, giving Duhamel the chance to finally make a not-so-smooth-move on the girl of his dreams.

Fergie and Josh Duhamel's first conversation was ... odd

Many lovers have memorable first conversations that ignite the spark. Not Josh Duhamel. He reportedly messed up so badly that it's shocking Fergie gave him a second chance. 

The actor described their first conversation in an interview with Best Life (via People): "After [The Black Eyed Peas] finished rehearsing, I was walking out, and all of a sudden she was walking toward me. I was like, 'Oh boy.' She stopped. And this is so sad, but I said, in this desperate voice, 'You're hot!' The crush of a lifetime, and that was my line!"

He said Fergie replied, "Yeah, I read InStyle. So...how was I in your dream?" 

Duhamel told E! News, "It sounds corny when you say it, but I think she knew I was sort of saying it tongue-in-cheek because she had already known that I had a little bit of a crush on her while she was there and it was sort of a way of saying something she already knew." 

Regardless, his word vomit landed the girl!

They had a two-week rule

Combining careers in the film and music industry is certain to spawn a devilish work schedule that could test even the strongest relationships. Fergie once talked about a two-week rule to protect their marriage, meaning they ensured they never spent more than two weeks apart. For years, that seems to have worked.

While filming Lost in the Sun (2016) in Texas, Josh Duhamel told E! News their two-week rule was a success. "She's here with me now. She's staying with me. We've got a house and the whole thing," he said. "We're one happy family in Austin, Texas. I can't stay away from my boy for that long or her." 

We can't help but wonder if perhaps this pair started bending the rule and growing apart. In the midst of their breakup, Fergie and Duhamel are now forging a new normal — whatever that may be for them — and we'll keep you posted on all the details.