The couple began dating in 2016, almost a year after the sudden death of Sandberg's husband, Dave Goldberg

By Helen Murphy Charlotte Triggs
May 17, 2019 01:32 PM
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Sheryl Sandberg and Bobby Kotick

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and billionaire Bobby Kotick have split, a source confirms to PEOPLE.

“Sheryl and Bobby broke up recently after three years together,” a source close to the former couple tells PEOPLE. “He’s located in L.A. She’s in Silicon Valley. There had been a lot of travel involved over the last couple of years, and their busy schedules and the distance came between them.”

“But they remain very close friends,” the source adds.

Sandberg, 49, and Kotick, 56, started dating in early 2016, almost a year after the sudden death of Sandberg’s husband, Survey Monkey CEO Dave Goldberg.

“I found someone who has brought me joy and laughter,” she previously told PEOPLE of Kotick, who is the CEO of video game company Activision Blizzard.

In her 2017 book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, Sandberg opened up about life and romance after the death of a partner.  

RELATED: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Recalls Husband’s Death: ‘I Could Barely Get Through the Day’

“People judge women much more than men if they start dating again,” Sandberg told PEOPLE that year. “And that is unfair.”

“Men date sooner, men date more, and women get judged more,” she said in an interview with The Guardian the same year. “And, you know, obviously that’s super unfair. I think I’m helping people remember that dating, for those who want to do it, is part of moving forward, and it is option B. If I could I would only date Dave. I made that choice. I just had that taken away from me.”

Dave Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg
Courtesy Sheryl Sandberg

Goldberg died at the age of 47 of a cardiac arrhythmia while he and Sandberg were on vacation with friends in Mexico in 2015.

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“I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice,” Sandberg wrote in a moving Facebook post a month after his death. “You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past 30 days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well. But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.”

“It will be four years [since Dave’s death] on May 1,” Sandberg told PEOPLE last month. “When someone dies, it’s not just the family. I lost Dave, my kids lost Dave, the world lost Dave. I want people to remember him.”