“It was a mutual decision,” says a rep for Brandy. “They’re both taking a step back regarding their relationship. They’re definitely friends and will continue to be friends. There’s nothing malicious or negative about [their split].”
The singer, actress and mom to 11-year-old daughter Sy’rai hinted at the split Tuesday when she appeared on VH1 Morning Buzz Live – without her engagement ring – and host Nick Lachey asked her about the new album she’s working on in the studio.
“It’s going to be a very personal album for me,” she said. “This album is just special for the whole therapy thing. I sing about my life and a lot of the things that I’ve been going through lately.”
She didn’t explicitly say what “things” she’s been going through lately, but Lachey knowingly hinted at them as they continued to chat about her upcoming album.
“I had the opportunity to do a similar album that was very cathartic for me. It’s amazing how music can be such a therapeutic thing,” said Lachey, who famously split from first wife Jessica Simpson in 2005.
Brandy, who stars on BET’s The Game, agreed and then declared, “I’m going to be hollering a lot on this album.”
Press popped the question in late 2012, about a year after the couple first went public with their relationship on New Year’s Eve 2011.
“I’m really blessed to have someone like him in my life,” Brandy told PEOPLE shortly after the proposal. “He’s truly a gift.”
•Reporting by CARLOS GREER