Tori Spelling's Ex Recalls Painful Breakup

Charlie Shanian says he wept when he read in PEOPLE that Spelling never loved him

They were only married for 15 months, but Tori Spelling’s first husband, Charlie Shanian, remembers every last detail – painfully.

Recounting what it is to be “a modern-day cuckold” – a married man whose wife strays – for the April issue of GQ, the writer-actor, 39, says that at the time his marriage dissolved in 2005, it wasn’t until he picked up a copy of PEOPLE in which Spelling had divulged her side of the story that he discovered what had gone wrong. (He and Spelling were married in July 2004.)

Recounting their early days together, Shanian admits the two came from very different worlds: hers (“in a Monte Carlo nightclub sipping Bellinis with Prince Albert”), and his (“at the Marriott in Peabody, Mass., tossing back a few Buds at my high school reunion”).

As for his new wife’s famous parents, Aaron and Candy Spelling, Shanian recalls, “He liked to talk about his glory days a little too much, she liked to cast an icy glare and pretend to forget how to pronounce my name.”

Things turned sour very quickly, he writes. “She picked a fight with me at a party, told me she needed ‘time and space,’ and was gone before I could comprehend what had happened.”

Next, she e-mailed him to request they meet at her therapist’s office, where he was told by the therapist: “(Tori) was not happy when she was alone with me; she didn’t want to have children with me; she’d only married me because I loved her and took care of her; she had purposefully shown me only 10 percent of her true personality; and, oh yeah, while in Canada, she’d cheated on me with her latest Lifetime-movie costar.”

On her own, Shanian writes, Spelling chimed in with, “I hate it when you sing in the car.”

They were never to see or speak to one another again, and, as Shanian would later discover, she was already living with actor Dean McDermott.

When, soon after, he read PEOPLE’s interview with Spelling, he wept, Shanian says.

“The article read like scenes ripped from one of her Movies of the Week – the lovelorn wife trapped in an unhappy marriage, forced to run into the waiting arms of her also-married lover in order to find true happiness,” he says. Most painful of all, he says, Spelling declared, “She was never in love with me.”

And today? “I reenter the dating world stronger and wiser, but more cautious, too,” says Shanian. As for the baggage he carries from his experience with his ex, he notes, “I may be hauling around a couple of oversized Pullmans, but somewhere there’s an amazing woman tugging around her own carry-on. Together, we’ll lighten each other’s load, far from the spotlight.”

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