The rose has wilted for Michelle Young and Nayte Olukoya.
The couple, who got engaged on The Bachelorette finale in December, announced their breakup on June 17.
“I’m struggling to say that Nayte and I will be going our separate ways,” Michelle wrote on her Instagram Story, “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.”
The one-time elementary school teacher then addressed her former fiance directly.
“To you, Nayte, you quickly became my best friend and the love I have for you is incredibly strong,” she told him. “I will never stop wanting to see you succeed.”
Michelle picked Nayte over an Oregonian traveling nurse Brandon Jones during the finale of ABC’s The Bachelorette. She previously appeared on Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor as well.
“I will always acknowledge and appreciate the adventures, support, and growth both Nayte and this experience have brought me,” Michelle continued in her statement. “At the same time, I’m deeply hurting and will need time and space to work through this heartbreak.”
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She said that, ultimately, having a relationship “in the public eye” was not “easy” for her and the sales executive.
Nayte echoed her sentiment in a post of his own on June 17.
“When we both started this journey, we were looking for our Soulmates. Our forever. Our best friends,” he recalled. “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.”
He said the split is weighing on him emotionally, writing, “Hearts are heavy, emotions are high, and we are dealing with this the best way we can… We genuinely fell in love, and we genuinely became each other’s best friends. Michelle and I will always cheer each other on, but moving forward, we will be cheering from a distance.”
In the midst of his “heartbreak,” the reality star asked fans for privacy as they get through the “difficult” time.
In recent weeks, rumors have been circulating that the two called it quits. Last month, Michelle addressed a video that spread online, which showed her without her engagement ring, by saying that one of her friends “briefly” removed it to try it on. She added that it was “creepy” to see the video surface because they’re not a “zoo exhibit.”
The next day, she shared on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast that she was taking a break from something else in her life.
“I have decided to step out of the classroom,” Michelle said while getting emotional. “It has been a complete whirlwind hanging out with my students, teaching in the classroom and then living that double life as a Bachelorette, walking red carpets and going to premieres and, wow, have things changed.”
She explained that she’s been in “survival mode” for two years, so she decided to take time away from teaching to ensure she was “taking care of myself” first and foremost.
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