It's not often that Sophia Bush talks about Chad Michael Murray.
Without referring to her ex-husband by name (the One Tree Hill co-stars tied the knot in 2005 during a seaside ceremony in Santa Monica, Calif.), the Chicago P.D. actress looks back at their brief romance in Cosmopolitan's February issue. "In my 20s, when I was starting out my career as an actor, I wasn't looking for a relationship, but one found me and became serious, even though I hadn't planned to settle down until my 30s," she writes. "But when the person you're with asks you to marry him, you think: 'This must be happening because it's supposed to.'"
The actors separated after five months of marriage. The purpose of Bush's essay is not to throw Murray under the bus, but rather to remind readers that there's more to life than searching for The One. "I refuse to let that one relationship define me, which is why I've done my best to avoid discussing it for 10 years," she says. "The reality is that, yes, it was a massive event in my life. And the trauma of it was amplified by how public it became, which was incredibly foreign and bizarre to a girl who'd been just another college kid 24 months before her life blew up."
Soon after, one of Bush's platonic relationships turned romantic. Though it didn't last forever, she says, "I was able to process all that had happened and find a deeper understanding of love."
Several boyfriends later, the 34-year-old actress writes, "I came to appreciate that relationships often serve a specific purpose at a certain point in time, for myriad reasons. Some are meant to heal you, some are meant to teach you how to build yourself up, and some are meant to show you how to trust your own intuition. You call in exactly whom and what you need over the course of your life, as you are learning life's lessons. And learn them you will. Even if you try to avoid these teachings, they're coming for you. This reality has taught me that the relationships that don't lead to lifetime commitments are not failures. Not every love can last forever."
Relationships are never black and white, Bush writes. "Often in between those two, you find the keys to what you need in partnership: what you're willing to give, what you want to get, and what things are absolutes that you cannot compromise on," she explains. "A few months with the right person can be as great an experience as a decade-long union with someone else."
"When you take the pressure of The One off, you'll open yourself up to endless possibilities. You'll learn to have a truly deep, knowing relationship with yourself first. Then the rest will fall into place," the actress tells Cosmopolitan. "Reasons, seasons, and lifetimes. They're all valid."