A History of Fergie & Josh's Relationship — and the Sweetest Things They've Ever Said About Each Other
The pair met while the Black Eyed Peas were filming a cameo in Las Vegas, a series Duhamel was starring in at the time. Duhamel — who’d had a crush on Fergie in the past — mustered up the courage to talk to her, though he’s not too proud of his opening line.
“After they finished rehearsing, I was walking out, and all of a sudden she was walking toward me,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh boy.’ She stopped. And this is so sad, but I said, in this desperate voice, ‘You’re hot!’ The crush of a lifetime, and that was my line!” Duhamel had previously revealed in an interview that he once had a “naughty dream” about Fergie, so she responded: “Yeah, I read InStyle. So … how was I in your dream?” The somewhat awkward meeting led to sparks, however, and the two started dating that same year.
After three years as boyfriend and girlfriend, the couple’s engagement news broke on Christmas Day, 2007. Fergie had a performance a few days later, on Dec. 29, where she gushed about her new fiancé to PEOPLE: “I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I’m thrilled.”
The couple spent 2008 planning their nuptials, which they didn’t dish about much in public. “I can’t talk about it,” Fergie said of their wedding plans in June of that year. “I know I have a big mouth, but I can’t say. That’s the one thing that I have to hold private.”
All that planning had a purpose: Fergie and Duhamel said “I do” at the Church Estates Vineyards in Malibu, California, on Jan. 10, 2009. The bride wore a Dolce & Gabbana gown, and the ceremony was conducted underneath an array of magnolia trees that had been filled with countless white roses. “His family are so excited,” a friend of the couple told PEOPLE at the time. “They really love Fergie and are so happy to welcome her to the family.” Several celeb friends of the couple were present, like her Black Eyed Peas bandmates, Kate Hudson, Mario Lopez and more.
However, newlywed bliss was short-lived for the couple: Nicole Forrester, an exotic dancer in Atlanta — where Duhamel had been filming his latest movie — went public with claims that she had sex with the actor in a tabloid story. A rep for Duhamel denied the claim, saying: “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. This story is absolutely ridiculous.”
But Forrester continued talking, giving a detailed interview to an Atlanta radio station, in which she recounted the story of the night of their alleged encounter. She said that he came by, didn’t give his name, and she gave him a dance. A few days later, he supposedly contacted her again and they met up at a hotel in Atlanta, where they slept together. The strip club’s manager confirmed Forrester’s story.
A source told PEOPLE that Fergie was upset by the talk. “She’s certainly disappointed with all the rumors about cheating,” the source said. “It hurts. They’re both very devoted to each other so they’ll work through whatever issues they have, but it’s not easy.”
Forrester later apologized to Fergie, saying: “I thought, ‘Nobody’s gonna find out. It’s not gonna hurt anybody.’ I’m sorry that I didn’t think of it like I think of it now.”
After their first year of marriage was plagued by scandal, Fergie and Duhamel decided to renew their vows in a private ceremony in California. They liked their vow renewal so much, they thought they’d make it a tradition: “We want to do it every year,” Duhamel told Entertainment Tonight.
Celebrating with Duhamel at 1OAK in Las Vegas, Fergie told PEOPLE that 2012 could be the year the two expanded their family, saying “we’ll see,” when asked about any baby plans. What she did know is that she planned to take 2012 to relax at home with Duhamel. “I want to spend time with my husband, watch football, watch basketball,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being home and not having to sleep in a different city or country every night.”
Though 2012 wasn’t the year for a new addition, 2013 was! The pair announced they were expecting their first child in February, and Fergie couldn’t help but gush over how excited she was to see Duhamel as a dad. “He’s going to be an amazing father,” she told PEOPLE in April 2013. “He’s got natural parenting instincts. He wanted to knock me up from our first date. He’s ready.” They welcomed their first and only child together, son Axl Jack, on Aug. 29, 2013.
Parenthood suited the couple well. They celebrated Fergie’s 39th birthday with multiple cakes, one with Axl’s face on it, and the other, with a shirtless photo of Duhamel printed on it. On a more serious note, North Dakota native Duhamel said that he hoped his son would grow up to understand the importance of helping others: “I want my son to understand that he is very fortunate and it’s important to appreciate that and give back.”
After taking several years off from music following her hit album The Dutchess, Fergie released her first new solo song in years, “M.I.L.F. $.” Ahead of its debut, Duhamel was cheering her on. “People are going to be amazed. It’s so good,” he said of her new music. “I’m really, really proud of her and the work she’s put into it. It’s amazing.”
On the couple’s eighth anniversary, Duhamel wished his wife a happy one on a post of his little family with the caption, “8 years!! Love you babe.” And Fergie celebrated on social media with a sunset snap of the two together, captioned, “happy 8th anniversary to my bae.” However, after that post, shots of Duhamel on her Instagram account became more and more rare.
An explanation for his vanishing act came on Sept. 14: Fergie and Duhamel had decided to separate. “With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year,” the couple said in a joint statement. “To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family.”