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Why Jennie Garth, Peter Facinelli's Divorce Strengthened Their Family

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Originally appeared on E! Online

Nothing will eclipse Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli's love for their kids.

That's why the former couple—who were together for over a decade before breaking up in 2012—recently reunited to speak about their split, sharing why choosing to divorce was ultimately the "right decision" for their family, which includes daughters Luca, 26, Lola, 21, and Fiona, 17.

"On one hand, they missed out on that idyllic family my parents are still married kind of thing," Jennie shared on the June 4 episode of her I Choose Me podcast. "But on the other hand, they gained so much more emotional depth and so much more strength, and so many other things from experiencing the way it happened with us."

Peter agreed with the sentiment, saying that the separation allowed him to get "in touch with" his own identity, which he felt he "hadn't developed" at the time because he was only 23 when they welcomed their first child.

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"I don't even know how you could love me because I didn't know me," Peter, 50, explained to Jennie, 52. "I didn't know who I was and so I needed to figure that out. I didn't feel like I had the space to do that within the marriage."

The Twilight alum continued, "I felt like time was going by and I didn't want to wake up and be 60 years old and feel like, 'Well, did I live this life for all these other people and not know who I was?'"

Peter Facinelli, Jennie Garth
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Looking back, Peter said "there was still love" between himself and Jennie, so he "felt gutted to break up" the family when he filed for divorce in March 2012 after 11 years of marriage.

"I was very conflicted," he recounted. "It wasn't an easy decision by any means."

Their divorce was finalized in June 2013, with the pair agreeing to split custody 50/50. And while they have a strong co-parenting relationship these days, Jennie admitted that it wasn't always the case.

"I did my best," the Beverly Hills, 90210 actress told Peter, explaining that she initially harbored a lot pain over their breakup, "but sometimes my best wasn't the best."

Peter Facinelli, Jennie Garth
Jesse Grant/Getty Images for iHeartRadio; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

But ultimately, the duo found their footing through creating an open line of communication. As Peter—who is also dad to 21-month-old son Jack with fiancée Lily Anne Harrison—put it to Jennie, "If you and I could work together and they saw that there was still love there, they could walk away going, 'Mom and dad are still in each in our corners.'"

"We had a very good run," the Can't Hardly Wait actor added of their marriage. "A lot of times it wasn't easy for either of us. Looking back on it, I felt like we were two parents that cared a lot, and whatever friction came up was because we really did care about the about our children."

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