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Jennie Garth Found It ‘Very Difficult’ to See Kids Bond With Peter Facinelli’s New Partner

Jennie Garth Found It Hard Watching Kids With Peter Facinelli
Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images; Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

After Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli’s 2012 divorce, she initially struggled with the concept of their daughters meeting potential stepparents.

“Neither of us got married right away but we both had a few relationships left and right, and the girls would get close, from my perspective, your relationship after the divorce,” Garth, 52, said on the Wednesday, June 12, episode of her “I Choose Me” podcast. “The girls got close to your then-girlfriend and that was very, very, very, very difficult for me.”

She continued, “I wondered how you felt when another guy came in [my life]. I wasn’t really serious with anyone until Dave [Abrams].”

Facinelli, 50, meanwhile, said it was a “catch-22” situation watching his “longer-term person” meeting daughters Luca, now 26, Lola, now 21, and Fiona, now 17, while Garth had men enter and leave the girls’ lives in “shorter spurts.”

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“I felt bad having them be [affected by] that,” Facinelli said of watching their daughters see Garth’s various relationships end. “I know they would go on vacation with a guy, kind of get to know them and you’d move on to someone else. … For me, I just kind of had to trust you and had to go, ‘OK, she trusts this person, so I have to trust this person.’”

Garth and Facinelli were married from 2001 and 2012. After their divorce, Facinelli moved on with Jaime Alexander until they split in 2016. The Twilight star has since found love with fiancée Lily Anne Harrison, with whom he shares son Jack, 21 months. Garth, meanwhile, has been married to Abrams since 2015.

Keep scrolling for the biggest revelations from Garth and Facinelli’s “wonderfully healing” conversation about their divorce and coparenting:

Peter Calls Their Marriage ‘Very Codependent’

Facinelli, who said on a previous “I Choose Me” podcast appearance that he ended their marriage to discover himself outside of being a husband and father, noted on Wednesday that codependency also played a factor.

“Maybe you didn’t see it as much because I was, kind of, living in your life,” Facinelli said. “You had a life that was established already and I came into this established life. … I didn’t really feel like I had many decisions within that space, it was like, ‘How do I service my wife and make her happy? Because happy wife, happy life.’”

Facinelli felt that he didn’t have many “choices” and hadn’t “formed [himself] yet.”

“It was really interesting when we broke up because I was like, ‘I don’t know what my dislikes are and have to rediscover who I am.’ You probably had to do that too … and now we have to come together to coparent.”

Peter Was Never ‘Jealous’ of Jennie’s Husband Having a Relationship With Their Kids

Jennie Garth Found It Hard Watching Kids With Peter Facinelli
Jennie Garth and Dave Abrams Tristar Media/WireImage

“I never felt jealous of another person coming in because I always felt [that] the more love the kids have, the better,” he said. “I was never in competition to go, ‘I’m the dad here.’ I think that was harder for you being the mom, watching another person come in.”

He continued, “When Dave came in, I was like, ‘He’s a wonderful guy.’ The kids really enjoyed being with him and it made me smile that they had another person who loved them so much. I think that they’re incredibly lucky — and they have a stepmom now in my current partner, Lily, and they have Dave. I don’t look at it like a burden they have to carry for the rest of their lives [with] this divorce. I really look at like, ‘Wow, they’re incredibly fortunate to have these stepparents that they’ve gotten to know that have added to their personalities [and] they’ve grown through them as well.’”

Facinelli is also grateful that Luca, Lola and Fiona can look to Garth and Abrams’ relationship, as well as his and Harrison’s, as models for future romances of their own.

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Jennie Says They’ve Struggled With ‘Respect’ and ‘Communication’

“[Coparenting] is about respect for the baby partner, ultimately in that communication, which came from that place of respect, which is something that we were definitely challenged on,” Garth said. “I was very in tune with keeping their childhoods alive even though their lives had changed so much, especially when they were going back and forth between two different homes.”

During Garth and Facinelli’s previous podcast discussion, he mentioned the difficulties of watching Luca, Lola and Fiona go from Garth’s house to his, as they shared custody 50/50.

“[It was] one of the most heart-wrenching parts of it, because I would go try to help them back, and Fiona specifically was like, ‘No, I want to do it myself,’” Garth recalled. “It would rip my heart out because I felt responsible for her having to pack a bag every week and be so unsettled. I felt like it’s our fault that they have to do this and it’s unfortunate [that] my kid’s living out of a suitcase.”

Jennie Isn’t Sure That Their Daughters Understand Why She and Peter Divorced

Garth noted that their kids “never” saw her and Facinelli fight pre-divorce, speculating it made the breakup decision even harder.

“I think it was really hard for them to understand why because they never saw us fight and they never understood why we broke up,” she said. “I also still don’t know that they do, but I think that they get it in a different way.”

According to Garth, she still tries to remind Luca, Lola and Fiona that they “came from a place of love.”

Jennie Garth Found It Hard Watching Kids With Peter Facinelli
Lily Anne Harrison and Peter Facinelli Unique Nicole/Getty Images

Peter Thought About Jennie on Mother’s Day

“I remember thinking of you on Mother’s Day [that] she was so wonderfully there and available all the time,” Facinelli said. “For me, I was always there but I let them, kind of, be. You were always there and [were] very protective in a way that was very loving. I think the balance of that … grew to this middle ground and maybe that’s what worked.”

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Jennie and Peter Are Excited to Continue Coparenting ‘Forever’

Facinelli ended the podcast conversation by noting it was the first time they really sat down to discuss coparenting and their divorce. He called it a “wonderfully healing” talk and noted his excitement to continue coparenting their now-adult children.

“You’re stuck with me forever,” Garth replied.

Facinelli further quipped that he and Garth “should communicate more by phone” on various issues.

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