Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph have called timed out on their relationship.
The Bachelor couple, who found love on Season 23 of the ABC dating series but never officially got engaged, are going their separate ways, Colton announced on Instagram. The breakup comes less than two years after cameras captured Colton's journey to find his soulmate in the fall of 2018.
"It's been a crazy few months to say the least, Cass and I have been doing a lot of self-reflecting," he wrote. "Sometimes people are just meant to be friends - and that's okay. We both have grown immensely and been through so much together - so this isn't the end of our story, it's the start of a whole new chapter for us."
Cassie also confirmed the news, writing, "Colton and I have broken up, but have decided to remain a part of each other's lives. With all that we have gone through, we have a special bond that will always be there. I love Colton very much and have an enormous amount of respect for him. We have both learned and grown so much these past couple years, and will always have each other's back. Always."
Rumors that Colton and Cassie had split picked up steam when the former NFL player returned home to Colorado after staying with her family in Southern California for some time as he recovered from coronavirus. Typically keen on sharing relationship updates with their millions of Instagram followers, fans predicted something was amiss when more than a month passed without any mention of each other online.
During a recent appearance on E!'s Daily Pop, Colton, 28, explained how contracting COVID-19 impacted his and Cassie's relationship.
"I think getting ill and dealing with this situation has only made us stronger," he said at the time. "Cass is a great nurse and followed all the guidelines and everything, so I can't say enough good things about her."
But as the reality TV star revealed to People in March, he and Cassie have dealt with their fair share of troubles behind closed doors.
"To put it very frank, after the show, we realized we weren't communicating as well as we once did," Colton said, adding, "It was a very real and very emotional breakup, but it was also very good to be real and emotional because it forced us to have conversations and move on. Now, we know the flags to look for. When issues start to creep up, it's like, let's go have a conversation. We're trying to be more transparent and honest and really trust each other."
As for why the two never took the next step and decide to tie the knot, Cassie, 25, told E! News last year that they were simply "taking things day by day."
"We're not putting pressure on ourselves," she assured. "Overall, me and Colton are in a very normal and real relationship. And while it's difficult and it has its challenges being in the public, and like every relationship it isn't perfect, but we do love each other and we're on the same page. And we're very happy."
Bachelor Nation was first introduced to Colton when he competed on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette, which aired in 2018. He enjoyed a brief stint on Season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise before being picked as The Bachelor's lead, where he met Cassie.