Less than a year after Michelle Young and Nayte Olukoya got engaged on season 18 of The Bachelorette, the two announced on Instagram that they are going their separate ways. The 29-year-old former teacher wrote on Instagram Stories Friday:
“To those who have supported Nayte and I, including Bachelor Nation, I know I speak for the both of us when saying having a relationship in the public eye has not been easy. I’m struggling to say that Nayte and I will be going our separate ways but I stand with him in knowing the heaviness that is present in both of our hearts as this relationship has been very real for us.”
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In her message, Michelle also addressed her former fiancé directly, saying:
“To you, Nayte, you quickly became my best friend and the love I have for you is incredibly strong. I will never stop wanting to see you succeed. I will always acknowledge and appreciate the adventures, support, and growth both Nayte and this experience have brought me. At the same time, I’m deeply hurting and will need time and space to work through this heartbreak.”
For his part, Nayte shared a similar statement, telling fans that he realized that they were not “soulmates” at the end of the day. He expressed:
“When we both started this journey we were looking for our Soulmates. Our forever. Our best friends. However, as we grow and learn, we also realize that sometimes somebody that you hold dear to your heart isn’t somebody that you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with. Michelle and I are going to move forward separately. Hearts are heavy, emotions are high, and we are dealing with this the best way we can.”
While the 27-year-old noted that he wants to navigate their breakup privately going forward, he wanted to make one thing clear first: that his relationship with Michelle was “real” despite what anyone may think:
“We genuinely fell in love and we genuinely became each other’s best friends. Michelle and I will always hear each other on, but moving forward we will be cheering from a distance. To the public who has supported these two complete strangers on your television screen, we appreciate you so much. Our relationship may have developed in the public eye, and we know this news will bring a lot of mixed reactions, but please remember that this is real. The emotions are real. The heartbreak is real. And that we are real.”
“We’re human beings going through a breakup, and we all know breakups are difficult. So we’re asking that you allow us our privacy so that we can mend our hearts in the privacy of our own lives. Thank you.”
You can ch-ch-check out their entire statements (below):
While this breakup may come as a surprise to some fans, others most likely saw this coming a mile away. Rumors started circulating last month that Michelle and Nayte called it quits when she was seen not wearing her engagement ring. However, the former Bachelorette lead denied the rumors at the time, saying:
“There is a video circulating of me on a rooftop this weekend and I’m not wearing my engagement ring. And what I will have to say is to the person who is paying close enough attention to catch that moment, you also had to be paying close enough attention to see one of my friends briefly remove my engagement ring to try it on and then place it back on my finger. Just a friendly reminder that Nayte and I, we are human beings — not a zoo exhibit.”
So sad to hear that these two are over! Reactions, Bachelor fans? Are you shocked Michelle and Nayte called off their engagement? Let us know in the comments!
[Image via MEGA/WENN]