The real reasons Fergie and Josh Duhamel split

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

"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."

What happened to this buff, beautiful pair?

They grew apart

A source told E! News that 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 (2018) 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." 

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."

An insider told People, "[Their lives] were heading in two separate directions and [they] are often apart because of work."

They were too different

Some insiders insist 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."

They had different views on family

A source told Us Weekly that 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."

He wanted another child

Duhamel dotes on their son, Axl, and reportedly wanted another child, but Fergie supposedly wasn't ready to be a mother of two just yet.

"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."

An insider told People, "Josh is low-key and laid back. Fergie is more high maintenance and very focused on her career. He definitely wants more kids and has always wanted to be a family man."

"They were trying to have another baby as of last year," a source told Us Weekly. "There had been a lot of talk in Fergie and Josh's household about expanding the family."

He interfered with her career

Radar Online reported that though Fergie was the primary breadwinner in the marriage, she took a backseat to let "controlling" Duhamel influence her, right down to her music choices. "Josh is pushing hard for Fergie to make a much cleaner and clearer break from The Black Eyed Peas so she can reinvent herself as a solo artist without the looming specter of will.i.am influencing every creative decision she makes," an insider claimed.

They tried therapy

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."

He may have cheated

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."

They may have had trust issues

A source told Star (via Radar Online) that Fergie sent spies to observe 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]."

They were too busy

With Fergie focusing on her long-awaited album Double Dutchess (due out in September 2017), and Duhamel busy filming TV series The Unsolved (2018) and The Buddy Games, their schedules may not fit together as well as they once did.

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?"

In Aug. 2017, 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."

A source told Entertainment Tonight, "Their schedules were so busy that it was almost a surprise when you would see them together. But Axl was always on their mind no matter what they were doing. They really had a good dynamic together. They're both kind, nice, good people."

They faked happiness for the press

Fergie confessed to People that she and Duhamel kept up appearances and didn't reveal their split for a long time, 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."

Fergie was the one to pull the plug

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."

An insider concurred to In Touch, alleging Fergie ended things partly because of Duhamel's alleged flirting with other ladies and partly because she was just tired of everything.

"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."

There may be a nasty custody fight brewing

Fergie insisted to People that she and Duhamel have a co-parenting arrangement that works for them, but other sources aren't so sure.

"Fergie wants full custody of Axl, but Josh isn't having any of that," an insider told Radar Online. "They were holding off on filing for divorce in hopes that they could come to some sort of agreement, but things between them are not as cordial right now as they have been in the past. They both know that Axl is definitely a daddy's boy… [Fergie] has been so busy promoting her music… Axl isn't quite old enough to know what is really going on with his parents, but he does know that something is up because he keeps asking Josh, 'Where is mommy?'"

The source added, "She is so consumed in her work…it is just breaking her family apart even more, [but] everyone knows that in the end they will come to a mutual agreement for the sake of their son."

Could it be a publicity stunt?

Despite Fergie planning on dropping a new album in 2015, 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. 

Could the split be a publicity stunt to drum up hype for Double Dutchess, which is scheduled to debut Sept. 22, 2017? There is plenty of speculation that it's a breakup album, so that strategy may be working.

More reasons to think this separation may not last? Fergie's parents reportedly had no idea their daughter had split with Duhamel until it made headlines.

Whether this Mr. and Mrs. works it out or gets divorced, their relationship was a strange one from the start. Let's take a look back at the unlikely romance between the edgy pop star and the clean-cut thespian. Warning: some of their antics will have you screaming, "TMI!"

It was lust at first sight

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).

He stalked her before they met

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.

They had an odd first conversation

Many lovers have memorable first conversations that ignite the spark. Not 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 kept things fresh by dancing for each other

To keep spice things up, Fergie and Duhamel love dancing—not with each other but for each other. 

Fergie told Playboy (via People) that Duhamel "dances for me in private, in some very interesting outfits." We can only imagine. Duhamel reportedly keeps it classy by dancing to his woman's biggest hits, and she does her part by throwing on a thing or two too. 

"He bought me these amazing boots at the Hustler store. They're thigh-high patent leather with a big long zipper. They're hard to get on, but it's worth it," she said. 

Watching his love scenes turned her on

Duhamel's role in Las Vegas (2003-08) included steamy scenes with his on-screen romantic interest. Rather than get jealous, Fergie claimed to enjoy seeing her man make out with other women. 

"I know this sounds strange but I like seeing him in love scenes," Fergie told the Mirror (via the Sunday Times). "It makes me feel better when I'm away on tour to see him kiss other women. It reminds me of our own kisses, and what I have to look forward to."

But how does Duhamel feel if a video calls for his wife to make out with another dude? 

The actor told TMZ she can pick any guy she wants to play her love interest in a music video. "I encourage that," he said.

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, 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.