Carmen & Dave: What Went Wrong?

"Carmen and I love each other," Navarro says – so why did they split?

Backstage at a July 13 Rock Star: Supernova party held at L.A.’s Roxy, Dave Navarro just wanted a little affection. “If someone was walking by, he’d say, ‘I need a hug,’ ” says a source at the event, where the former Jane’s Addiction guitarist performed with his new band, Camp Freddy. “It was a little weird, but the girls went with it.”

It all made sense just a few days later when Navarro, 39, and wife Carmen Electra, 34, announced they had separated after two and a half years of marriage. “They’ve tried so hard to stay together,” a friend tells PEOPLE in its new issue. “But both of them finally realized it’s just not working out.”

Anyone who watched the couple lovingly plan their wedding on the 2004 MTV series ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave might have thought that despite one failed marriage behind him back in 1994 and one behind her (she wed ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman in 1998), the rocker and the Baywatch babe had a good shot at success.

He called her “Mouse,” she called him “Bird.” She helped him quit smoking (or tried to, anyway) and he got her initials tattooed on his chest. The two, who met through a mutual friend in 2000, also suffered a common loss: Navarro’s mother was murdered by a boyfriend in 1983 and Electra’s died of brain cancer in 1998.

Still, despite a happy beginning, the past year has been “very rocky,” says a source, blaming hectic schedules for the rift. Navarro has been appearing at more and more gigs with his band Camp Freddy when he’s not hosting Rockstar, and Electra, whose Scary Movie 4 came out in April, has taken more roles lately. (She’s currently filming the comedy I Want Candy.)

“They’re both heartbroken, but they still love each other,” says the source. “The reality of it is that they’re better off as best friends.”

Navarro echoed that sentiment in a posting on his official Web log Wednesday, answering the question, “What does ‘amicably separated’ mean?” “It means that Carmen and I love each other, we are and always will be best friends,” he writes. “In fact, we are supporting each other through this time. What better way to get through a tough spot than with your best friend?”

He also addressed one tabloid’s claim that he has been all but living with his “socialite” girlfriend of five months. “Do (I) have a girlfriend?” Navarro writes. “No. I have been living at home, touring, making and promoting a record or shooting Rockstar for the past several months. There is absolutely no way I could be living with someone in New York.”

On July 21, Electra said in a statement issued by her publicist: “Dave and I continue to support each other in every way.”

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