For Josh Duhamel, taking off his wedding ring was like ripping off a Band-Aid.
On Thursday, the 44-year-old actor and his 42-year-old wife Fergie announced they had quietly split up after eight years of marriage. "With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year," the friendly exes told E! News in a joint statement. "To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family."
Hours after the former couple announced their breakup (via Fergie's rep), Josh was photographed hiking solo in L.A.'s Brentwood neighborhood. Noticeably missing? His wedding ring. (The exes, who tied the knot in Malibu in early 2009, have a 4-year-old son, Axl Duhamel.)
Josh was still wearing his wedding ring Wednesday. However, Fergie had removed her wedding before she arrived in Brazil that afternoon, ahead of her performance at Rock in Rio. As she made her way through the airport, she flashed four rings—spelling F-E-R-G—for local paparazzi.
While Josh doesn't have any current projects to promote—meaning he doesn't have to worry about discussing their split anytime soon—Fergie has a busy schedule lined up. The pop star's sophomore solo album, Double Dutchess, is dropping Sept. 22—and on the day of its release, the "Hungry" singer will perform live as part of Today's Citi Concert Series on Rockefeller Plaza.
So, why did the superstars split up? "They completely grew apart," a source told E! News Thursday. "This was a long time coming and they've been trying to sort everything out this past year." Over time, it "became clear" that Josh and Fergie were "not on the same page," both personally and professionally. "Josh is very down to earth and a do-it-yourself kind of guy," another insider said. "He's out early in the morning every day doing normal things like going to the hardware store or taking Axl to breakfast. Fergie's in a totally different world." Another source agreed, explaining, "Fergie is focused on her tour, new music and, of course, her son."
For more on Fergie and Josh's split, watch E!'s Daily Pop today at noon.
And for exclusive details on what went wrong, watch E! News tonight at 7 and 11, only on E!