The new single, "If I Don't," is off Hayley Orrantia's new EP, The Way Out, which details her grieving process: "It was heartbreaking"

By Julie Jordan
May 10, 2019 09:30 AM
Credit: Diana Ragland

Writing music has been “the best therapy” for Hayley Orrantia.

The Goldbergs star, 25, is releasing her first single, “If I Don’t,” off her new EP, The Way Out, which reflects her grieving process after her ex-boyfriend of one-and-a-half years, former Marine Brandon Pelletier, betrayed her. Listen to the single here.

“It was heartbreaking,” Orrantia tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue of Pelletier stealing almost $9,000 through fraudulent credit card charges and bank withdrawals. “I thought we were going to get married.”

  • For more from Hayley Orrantia, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

In December 2017, Pelletier, 32, was taken into custody in Texas and released on bond. He received four years of deferred probation. (His attorney declined to comment for this story.)

Credit: Matthew Berinato

“He didn’t spend any time in jail, but he has to pay me restitution,” Orrantia says. “So I got that. I kept asking myself, ‘Why do I need to do this?’ And really it’s for myself. It’s the fact that I’ve always been a truth teller.”

The songs on Orrantia’s new EP reflect her journey through the betrayal to acceptance.

“I had this vision of doing it as the five stages of grief,” she says. “The more I thought about it, I realized I’ve gone through every phase.”

Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty

Even though she knows that her own experience is “very specific and unique,” Orrantia hopes she can help others by sharing her story.

“I know that it’s relatable,” adds the singer-actress. “And hopefully it will move people.”