Yesterday, Fergie and Josh Duhamel announced that they have separated after 8 years of marriage. They gave a joint statement to PEOPLE:

“With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year. 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.”

It’s pretty generic as far as celebrity breakup statements go but they are purposeful about revealing a timeline. The statement makes a point to note that they separated “earlier this year” and “we wanted to keep this matter private before sharing it with the public” is another indication that they’ve been keeping the dissolution of their marriage a secret for awhile. Not that anyone was refreshing TMZ to see if Will.I.Am’s protégé and Tad Hamilton (for some reason, Lainey thinks I’m into Josh Duhamel so for the record, the only Josh Duhamel I’ve ever been into was Tad Hamilton) were still together but it would have had to take some effort to keep up appearances.

Lainey’s colleague at etalk and one of my early mentors, Traci Melchor, interviewed Josh in June and even though he was wearing his wedding ring, he dropped a big hint that his marriage may have been in trouble. Fergie is set to serve as a celebrity mentor on the new talent-competition series The Launch. When Traci asked Josh about Fergie’s involvement, this is what he said:

“Wait, so she’s going to be on the show? Thanks for telling me babe. I had no idea about this.”

The Launch is filmed in Toronto. It’s a big professional commitment in another country. Is it telling that Josh had no idea his wife had signed on to shoot a multi-episode appearance on a major-network TV show? It’s enough to deduce that they were separated by at least June. In July, Josh posted a photo with Fergie in North Dakota.

If they were broken up by the time of that post, it fits in the “we’re still united” blah, blah storyline. No disrespect to divorced parents who remain amicable for the sake of their children. I’m just bored of the same, tired, post-conscious uncoupling narrative we’ve heard over and over. Breakups are messy. If any celeb breakup is bound to get messy, I have a feeling it’s this one.

The narrative PEOPLE is pushing is this: they were too different and no one saw it lasting any way. A source says that they “wanted different things” and no one in their inner circle is surprised by the split.

“Josh is low-key and laid back. Fergie is more high maintenance and very focused on her career. He definitely wants more kids and has always wanted to be a family man.”

Who sounds better in that scenario? The doting dad who wants another kid or the high-maintenance diva who works too much? How did Josh Duhamel, the guy who allegedly cheated on Fergie nine months into their marriage with a stripper, turn into the laid-back family man? So far, there’s no speculation of infidelity but after the stripper situation that plagued the early days of their supposed wedded bliss, isn’t that what everyone is thinking?

As for the timing of this announcement, it’s not exactly the late Friday gossip dump but it’s also not the Monday morning “LOOK, WE BROKE UP” declaration. The news comes one week before Fergie is set to drop a new album. She’s in the middle of a press tour. If they’ve been holding onto this secret for months, why wait until Fergie is the most visible she’s been in years to drop this news? Well, the breakup might fit into the theme of Fergie’s new music. There’s a track on the album called Love is Pain. Subtle. If Double Dutchess is an emotional album about heartbreak, what’s better promotion than a divorce?

Fergie was last spotted in Brazil wearing four rings on her left hand that spell FERG. Subtle. Here’s Josh out with his son today without his wedding ring and on a hike yesterday. Also attached – Fergie with fans in Brazil.