“Because I have shared details of my private life with you all so intimately over the years, I feel the need to share with you this recent change in my personal life,” Gilbert, 46, wrote. “I am separating from the man whom many of you know as ‘Felipe’ – the man whom I fell in love with at the end of the Eat Pray Love journey.”
She continued, “He has been my dear companion for over 12 years, and they have been wonderful years. Our split is very amicable. Our reasons are very personal.”
Gilbert asked fans to respect her privacy during the time of transition, as “this is a story that I am living – not a story that I am telling.” She noted that she would be taking a break from social media, and shared a poem called “Failing and Flying” by “poet-of-my-heart,” Jack Gilbert (no relation).
Gilbert famously met Nunes while traveling through Italy, India and Bali after the unraveling of her first marriage – a trip that inspired the 2006 hit memoir, which has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies. In 2010, Julia Roberts portrayed Gilbert in a film adaptation of the book, while Javier Barden played Felipe.
“The husband was my favorite souvenir of that trip,” Gilbert told PEOPLE last fall of her bestselling travels.
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Nunes, a Brazilian-born importer, and Gilbert first crossed paths during the Bali leg of her trip. They were married in 2007.
Last August, they shuttered the East Asian decorative imports store they ran together in Frenchtown, New Jersey, named Two Buttons. A real estate agent who handled the sale last year told NJ.com the pair were traveling too much to maintain the business.
“They’re all about starting a new chapter in their lives,” she said.
Of the romance, Gilbert told PEOPLE last October, “We’ve settled into something that’s very nourishing and very sweet. And I’m not sure it’s because we find each other fascinating so much as because we continue to show up and show interest in each other.”