Jennie Garth announced that she and husband Peter Facinelli were separating nearly two years ago and while the news came as a surprise at the time, the "Beverly Hills, 90210" actress says it was several years in the making.
In her new memoir, "Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde," the beloved TV star, 41, reveals new details about the March 2012 split and blames the "Twilight" actor's work schedule — and some of her personal anxieties and uneasiness — for their uncoupling.
"My husband was away a lot then, working across the country on location on a film that he'd written, was producing, and was starring in," wrote Garth, who was mostly a stay-at-home mother at that point, raising their three daughters at the family's ranch outside of Los Angeles. "I was thrilled for him that he was taking his career to the next level, but I was also, I can see now, feeling a bit resentful and itchy in ways that I couldn't quite identify. … All I know is that I felt like I was waiting: for him to come home, waiting for him to be free to join me in the day-to-day of our family life, waiting for the next job to be lined up that would take him far away from us again."
While this turmoil went on for "some time" — she said they spent their "fair share of time on the couches of therapists" over their nearly two decades together — things came to a head when he returned home during a break from working on that particular film. While Garth doesn't say it, the movie was "Loosies," which co-starred Facinelli's current girlfriend, Jaimie Alexander, whom he started to date after their marriage ended.
"The ground that had been cracking and shifting finally split open and pretty much swallowed me whole: Peter came home, and told me that he didn't think he wanted to be married to me any longer, and he thought it best that we separate so that we could get a better sense of where we stood with each other," she wrote.
While their "life together had not been perfect," having him ask for a separation was "not something I consciously expected," she wrote. "In fact, I'd say that I didn't even allow myself to entertain the idea that my husband may have reached the end of his rope, too. I understand, now, how frustrated he was at how unreachable I'd become."
However, as someone who thought "as long as we were both there, thrashing through things, it was going to work out," she felt blindsided by his decision. "I was devastated by the news that he was no longer in love with me."
In the new book, the 41-year-old also talked about her first divorce — from musician Dan Clark. She set the wheels in motion after she arrived on the set of the 1996 TV movie "The Unfinished Affair," which co-starred Facinelli. (As executive producer, she said she helped cast the future "Nurse Jackie" star in the role.)
Already having trouble in her marriage (at 22, "I had no business being married," she wrote of the two-year union), "I stepped onto that movie set and met Peter … kaboom! It was like getting flattened by a meteor. I had never been so bowled over in the presence of a guy before. Never."
So she said she picked up the phone and called home to end her marriage.
"I had been thinking we needed to separate for some time, but I kept pushing it off, always finding an excuse and telling myself I would deal with it soon. Well, apparently soon was now. I remember [my assistant] handing me this giant, awkward cell phone … and standing there, holding my hand, as I made that incredibly grown-up call."
Dan, who "was a nice, nice guy with a big heart," took the news well. He "couldn't have been more gracious and understanding — and in full agreement," she recalled. "With that one call, I had ended my marriage, and I spent the rest of that month bonding with my costar, my new best friend, my new love."
These days, Garth is back in the dating game and has been in a few very public relationships since her divorce. In the book, she notes that after typing "the end" on the first draft of her manuscript, she "met a man. A wonderful man. A grown-up man." She doesn't name him but the description makes it sound like businessman Michael Shimbo, whom she split with in November.
She concluded by writing, "There's a chance that by the time this book is actually bound and printed and in your hands, things may be different in my personal life, but I'm certain of one thing: My status won't have changed, I will still be fully in my life, fully present, and fully engaged. On all fronts. And it will be good."
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- Jennie Garth
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