Fergie and Josh Duhamel's marriage was rocked by a cheating scandal in 2009 when a stripper came forward to reveal she had a one-night stand with the actor

By Nicole Sands
September 14, 2017 04:05 PM

Though Fergie and Josh Duhamel have just announced their separation after eight years as man and wife, the pair’s marriage suffered a serious blow soon after it began.

Nearly nine months after their wedding in 2009, a cheating scandal rocked their relationship when exotic dancer Nicole Forrester came forward to allege she had a one-night stand with the actor in an Atlanta hotel a week after he came into the Tattletale club, where she worked as a dancer. While Forrester claimed to have passed a lie-detector test, she apologized to the couple for coming forward to announce the affair.

“I thought, ‘Nobody’s gonna find out. It’s not gonna hurt anybody,'” Forrester told Extra in November 2009. “I’m sorry that I didn’t think of it like I think of it now.”

But Fergie and Duhamel vehemently denied the affair and never let it cause a rift in their marriage.

“This is not the first nor will it be the last time that a stripper was paid a large amount of money to sell a false story about a celebrity,” Duhamel’s rep said. “This story is absolutely ridiculous.”

A rep for Fergie added: “These allegations are nonsense.”

Later, in October 2012, the pair appeared together with Oprah Winfrey on an episode of OWN’s Oprah’s Next Chapter, where Fergie admitted the rumors were “difficult” to hear and discussed how they affected their marriage.

“When you go through difficult times, it really makes you stronger as a unit, as a partnership,” she continued. “It does for us anyways. Our love today is a deeper love.”

“Definitely we’re strong today because of anything difficult that’s happened with us,” she added. “We deal with it. We communicate. Communicating is the most important thing.”

The couple announced exclusively to PEOPLE on Thursday that they had “decided to separate as a couple earlier this year. To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public,” the statement continued. “We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family.”

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