A wilted rose. After less than one year together, Michelle Young and Nayte Olukoya have called off their engagement.
“To those who have supported Nayte and I, including Bachelor Nation, I know I speak for the both of us when saying having a relationship in the public eye has not been easy,” the former Bachelorette, 29, wrote via Instagram Story on Friday, June 17. “I’m struggling to say that Nayte and I will be going out separate ways but I stand with him in knowing the heaviness that is present in both our hearts as this relationship has been very real for us.”
The Minnesota native, who got engaged to the 27-year-old during last year’s season, added a sentimental note to her ex-fiancé: “To you, Nayte, you quickly became my best friend and the love I have for you is incredibly strong. I will never stop wanting to see you succeed.”
She continued her social media message: “I will always acknowledge and appreciate the adventures, support and growth both Nayte and this experience have brought me. At the same time, I’m deeply hurting and will need time and space to work through this heartbreak.”
The Canada native, who proposed during the December 2021 finale, also shared a statement via his Instagram Story.
“Michelle and I are going to move forward separately,” Olukoya wrote on Friday, noting the twosome are both private individuals and plan to grieve their split in the same way. “Hearts are heavy, emotions are high and we are dealing with this the best way we can.”
He continued: “When we both started this journey, we were looking for our soulmates. Our forever. Our best friends. However, as we grow and learn, we also really that sometimes somebody that you hold dear to your heart isn’t somebody you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with.”
The pair’s romantic status made headlines late last month after the elementary school teacher was photographed without her Neil Lane engagement ring. However, Young swiftly shut down split speculation at the time.
“OK, I typically don’t come on here and address these types of things, but because I received SO many messages about it … There is a video circulating of me on a rooftop this weekend and I’m not wearing my engagement ring,” the “Bachelor Happy Hour” cohost added in a series of Story videos on May 30. “To the person who is paying close enough attention to catch that moment, you also have to be paying close enough attention to see one of my good friends briefly remove my engagement ring to try it on and then place it back on my finger.”
She added: “Just a friendly reminder that Nayte and I, we are human beings, not a zoo exhibit. Not to mention, videoing somebody without them knowing is creepy! It’s not cool!”
While the now-exes initially planned to move into a shared home in Young’s native Minneapolis, Minnesota, after their finale aired, they instead navigated long-distance as Olukoya was still based in Austin, Texas.
“We’re trying to be as smart as possible,” the sales executive — who earned Michelle’s coveted first impression rose — previously told Us Weekly exclusively in February on their move-in delay. “We’re looking at different options. We’re definitely feeling it all out.”
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Young, for her part, added at the time: “We like to make sure that we’re always making very calculated decisions, we’re always looking at all of our options.”
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