T.J. Holmes Grew Closer to Amy Robach When He 'Was Very Much There' for Her amid 'Heartache': Source

The bond between Good Morning America's Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes grew after he helped her through a difficult time.

Speaking about the pair's relationship, a source exclusively tells PEOPLE, "Amy was going through a heartache and TJ was very much there for her and helpful, and that is when they started something."

The GMA 3 co-anchors' relationship was publicly revealed on Wednesday when photos surfaced of them holding hands in a car, enjoying a vacation in upstate New York and cozying up at a bar in New York City.

The insider says that Robach, 49, and Holmes, 45, "had no shame going out together and have been publicly doing this for much longer than a month."

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 08: (L-R) T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach attend ABC's "Good Morning America" at SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 08: (L-R) T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach attend ABC's "Good Morning America" at SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Noam Galai/Getty T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach

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The source adds that the pair's relationship was "the worst kept secret in ABC News."

"Staffers are very surprised it took this long to come out," the insider adds. "Everyone was turning a blind eye because they didn't want the controversy surrounding the show."

For more on Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

A rep at ABC News did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Amy Robach and TJ Holmes
Amy Robach and TJ Holmes

Bryan Bedder/New York Road Runners via Getty

RELATED: Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes Were 'Dating in the Open' After Separating from Spouses in August: Source

A source previously told PEOPLE that there was no overlap between the GMA co-anchors' romance and their respective marriages.

"This was two consenting adults who were each separated. They both broke up with their spouses in August within weeks of each other," the insider said of Robach and Holmes, who has been married to attorney Marilee Fiebig since 2010. "The relationship didn't start until after that."

The insider said that Robach, who married actor Andrew Shue in 2010, has "got nothing to hide," adding, "They were both separated so they felt very comfortable dating in the open after that. Their spouses had moved out, even! So they were not hiding anything."

GMA3 - 3/28/22 - GMA3: What You Need to Know, recaps the Oscars on Monday, March 28, 2022 on ABC. (Photo by Phil McCarten/ABC via Getty Images) TJ HOLMES, AMY ROBACH
GMA3 - 3/28/22 - GMA3: What You Need to Know, recaps the Oscars on Monday, March 28, 2022 on ABC. (Photo by Phil McCarten/ABC via Getty Images) TJ HOLMES, AMY ROBACH

Phil McCarten/ABC/Getty

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Holmes joined the GMA team in 2014 and immediately struck up a close connection with Robach. She previously told PEOPLE about their friendship.

"[They] said, 'Hey, we want to bring on a co-anchor. What do you think of T.J. Holmes?' And I almost fell out of my chair," she said. "My God. You couldn't have picked a better person to ask me what I thought of, because we've been trying to figure out a way to work together for literally the last five years."

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Robach also told PEOPLE about their double dates with Shue and Fiebig. "The moment he started at ABC, I think we just clicked. We've gone on tons of double dates with our spouses and my daughters babysit his daughters."