The TV producer took his relationship with the pop star "very seriously," a source tells PEOPLE
But there was a fair share of heartbreak.
“Charlie has been pretty torn up about all of this,” a source close to Ebersol, 32, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“He really thought she could be the one. He is a very private, family guy and saw Britney fitting right in.”
Indeed, earlier on in the relationship, “everyone thought he might end up asking her to marry him,” an Ebersol family source tells PEOPLE.
While the relationship ran its course as the two juggled their busy lives and bustling careers, the couple gave their romance their all.
“Charlie really put a lot into their relationship and took it very seriously, so when things ended he was definitely upset,” says the source close to Ebersol.
Spears, 33, and Ebersol began dating in October and most recently appeared together publicly last month at the Billboard Music Awards.
In April, the superstar told PEOPLE about falling for the TV producer. “There was something about him that made me feel really peaceful and at ease,” she said, adding, “And he was really hot, too. Adorably hot.”
On Tuesday, Ebersol posted a sentimental note accompanying an Instagram video in which he snuggles with a dog to the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”
“We are nothing if we are not a collection of the scars, tattoos, and smiles of a life well lived. I wish for you today, that you find great joy in the joy you spark in others,” the caption reads.
“If nothing else, I hope you’re happy just in knowing that you made me happy. It is never lost on me the love with which I have been blessed. For that, I aim to live up to Colossians 3:12.”
For more on how the former couple is doing now, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
• With reporting by STEVE HELLING