Channing Tatum And Jenna Dewan’s Unexpected Split: Inside Their Love Story Gone Wrong

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Well, now anything is possible.

Channing Tatum and wife Jenna Dewan Tatum, one of the most squee-inducing couples in Hollywood, have separated after almost nine years of marriage and one child together, 4 1/2-year-old daughter Everly.

They broke the news themselves, both sharing a statement on social media that read in part, “We fell deeply in love so many years ago and have had a magical journey together. Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now. There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision — just two best-friends realizing it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible.”

To be honest, this one’s a bit of a headscratcher. You let Hollywood’s hottest couples alone for two minutes and they up and separate on you after piling on the evidence that they were, at least, as compatible as ever. Still a good fit, if you will.

“When people say you guys have such a perfect life, I want to scream and tell them no one’s perfect,” Jenna just said in the March 2018 issue of Health. “I think there are such things as great fits. It is a great fit as long as you are growing together, and I think up until this point we’ve really grown together.”

“Up until this point”? 

Insisting that they weren’t on cloud nine every second of the day wasn’t necessarily a reason to sound the alarm. A crack in the facade doesn’t mean there’s a crack in the foundation. But when Dewan Tatum attended the Vanity Fair Oscar party without him (and with BFF Emanuelle Chriqui) last month, the A-list extravaganza usually a must-do date night for the couple, it prompted some far-reaches-of-the-Internet speculation of trouble in paradise.

Chatting with Entertainment Tonight, Jenna didn’t reveal where her husband was, but emphasized that he was not at Jay-Z and Beyoncé‘s storied after-party without her when that scenario was randomly suggested by the interviewer. She was no more inclined to talk about him when E! News caught up with her at the iHeart Music Awards the following weekend. Tatum was working, she said.

Meanwhile, even if that fairly innocuous Health interview was given weeks before the story was published Feb. 6, Dewan Tatum (soon to be Dewan again?) still sounded eager to put the idea of “perfect” to rest.

“I despise the word ‘perfect,’” she said. About the importance of growing together in a marriage, she continued, “Even if one starts to grow, the other catches up and vice versa. But I think a couple needs to be conscious and to want to do the work and be willing to look at the parts of you that need work. Both of us have been pretty aware and willing to do that. We’ve always had the same values. But we’re not perfect! Are you kidding? We fight like other couples, we disagree about things, we have days where we don’t really like each other.”

Naturally, it’s impossible to keep the honeymoon period alive for the duration of a marriage.

A month after they tied the knot on July 11, 2009, at the Church Estates Vineyards in Malibu, Channing Tatum told People he was “as happy as I possibly can be on the planet right now.”

He added, “We’ve been together, and nothing’s really changed. It’s pretty much the same as I’ve felt every day since I met her—and that’s just about perfect.”

They had met and fallen in love several years beforehand while co-starring in the campy, girl-meets-bad-boy, dance romance Step Up, which has doubled over the years as a watch-on-repeat fan-favorite film and a cinematic chronicle of their meet-cute story.

Emphasis on the fan favorite.

“Me and Jenna just saw Step Up on TV, and we watched it for two seconds,” Tatum told Vanity Fair in 2015. “We made that 10 years ago or something. It was hard because you’re like, ‘Wow, I remember it being so much better.’ Then other times you’re like, ‘I remember it being worse.’ Things happen that change your perspective. Not just your opinion but your windshield, your lens. Like you put on a 50-mm. [lens], then take that 50 off and put on a 16. Now you can see so much more, but you’re missing the little things. I think for a while I’m going to try to make movies that, even if they don’t make a dollar, I’ll still be so proud to be a part of them that it won’t matter.”

Even daughter Everly hadn’t caught on to the magic yet last year, with her father telling Ellen DeGeneres that he and Jenna figured their kid would adore the film, but instead she asked, “‘Can I watch a real movie? I don’t know, like, a good one?’” (Maybe if it wasn’t Frozen it was going to be a fail no matter what.) 

“I’m like, ‘What do you mean? This is a real movie! This is such a real movie!’” Tatum humorously recalled the encounter. “‘They made like seven more of these! You will watch it! Sit down!’”

While it’s hardly a stretch to imagine that two hot young actors performing this intimate choreography day after day would fall for each other, a committed relationship may not have been the obvious next step for a then-25-year-old Channing Tatum.

Tatum told Howard Stern in 2015 that he had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and “was in no way, shape or form looking to get into another relationship. I was like, ‘OK, now it’s time to play…’ I was gonna go and just live the life that you’d think you would probably live if you’re an actor in Hollywood. And then I ran smack into Jenna.”

And yes, the dancing was hot, but “it’s not just really the dancing,” he said. “It’s who she is. She really is my counterweight in life.”

On Ellen last April, Jenna recalled telling her would-be suitor, “I said, ‘Well look, if you want to date other people and be free that’s totally fine. But we’re not gonna hang out and watch movies. You have to figure out what you want because I want a relationship.’”

Three nights later, he knocked on her hotel room door wearing only his underwear, plus a sombrero and Uggs, and declared, “‘Let’s do this.’”

“It’s even worse,” Jenna continued, “because the next morning he was in my room and I go to set because I had an earlier call time. I’m getting hair and makeup done and an hour goes by and the production assistants go, ‘We can’t find Channing. We don’t know where he is. He’s not in his room. We’ve banged on his door and called his room.’ And I called a PA over and said, ‘He’s in my room.’”

“I knew instantly that we had chemistry and it wasn’t just going to be a ‘hey, what’s up’ [hookup],” Tatum told Stern. They tried to “do it right,” as in abstain from sex while they were working, so they actually waited three months, he remembered. “We were doing enough [in the meantime], but we wanted it to be special.”

Their physical connection ever since has admittedly been an important part of their relationship.

Tatum has said that he and his wife tried to stick to the two-week rule, and that it was never not worth it to scramble for a reunion when their work schedules kept them apart for too long, such as for three weeks instead of two.

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