Inside Bristol Palin and Dakota Meyer's Relationship Ups and Downs Before Split
Less than two years after they tied the knot, Bristol Palin and Dakota Meyer's marriage is ending. Here's a look back at their rocky relationship
PEOPLE confirmed on Tuesday that Meyer has filed for divorce and moved out of the couple’s home. This news comes nine months after they welcomed their second child together, daughter Atlee Bay, and less than two years after their surprise wedding.
Their road to the altar had plenty of bumps along the way, too. In May 2015, they called off their first planned wedding – which was supposed to be a big, splashy affair in Kentucky – at the last minute and seemed to be splitting for good. They later reunited and tied the knot in June 2016.
“Life is full of ups and downs but in the end, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be,” the couple told Entertainment Tonight at the time.
Just months before their wedding, Palin, 27, and Meyer, 29, were locked in a custody battle over their other daughter, Sailor Grace, now 2. And now, less than a year after expanding their family with the arrival of daughter Atlee, they’ve split. So how did they get here?
The couple first met in Alaska in 2014, while Meyer, a former U.S. Marine, was there filming an Amazing America episode. The whirlwind romance led to an engagement in March 2015 – Palin’s second (she was once set to wed Levi Johnston, the father of their son Tripp, 9).
At the time, Palin called herself the “luckiest girl in the world” in a since-deleted Instagram post, and mom Sarah Palin said in a statement, “We’re honored to welcome Dakota into our family.”
Just two short months later, however, the wedding was off. With less than a week to go before the May 23, 2015, ceremony, Palin’s mom broke the news on Facebook without divulging whether just the engagement was over or the relationship in general. The announcement came amid rumors that Meyer had tried to hide from Palin his previous marriage to Cassandra Wain.
Palin wrote a blog post about their split at the time, saying: “I know God’s plan is greater than anything else, and [my son] Tripp and I are in Alaska beginning to rebuild our lives under much different circumstances than we anticipated.”
Then, a bombshell: Palin was pregnant. She wrote in a June blog post, “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.” Meyer wasn’t immediately confirmed as the baby’s father, however, despite Palin’s later assertions that the pregnancy was planned.
Palin gave birth to daughter Sailor Grace on December 23, 2015 – a happy moment soon mired in drama.
Meyer filed legal documents asking for joint legal and physical custody of Sailor Grace, a move that incensed Palin’s mother.
“For many months we have been trying to reach out to Dakota Myers (sic) and he has wanted nothing to do with either Bristol’s pregnancy or the baby,” the former vice presidential candidate told Entertainment Tonight at the time.
“Paramount to the entire Palin family is the health and welfare of Sailor Grace,” she said, also claiming that Meyer was trying to “save face.”
RELATED VIDEO: Bristol Palin Shares Adorable Family Photo
In March 2016, text messages between Meyer and Palin were released that revealed the couple were hashing out the custody situation.
After Palin implied that Meyer didn’t like her in the messages, he retorted, “I don’t hate you Bristol I have no reason to but my hands are tied when I legally have no right to a child that is mine.”
Shortly after, Meyer was awarded joint custody of Sailor, and allowed to visit the baby girl in Alaska, twice a month for four consecutive days at a time.
Weeks later, the pair were together, posing for a selfie with Sailor.
In June 2016, Meyer shared a selfie with Palin – who was wearing a diamond ring – on Instagram.
“On one hand, we know that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes or coincidences,” Meyer wrote on Instagram, alluding to the pair’s past. “On the other hand, we learn that we can never give up, knowing that with the right tools and energy, we can reverse any decree or karma. So, which is it? Let the Light decide, or never give up? The answer is: both.”
The month after their reunion made headlines, Meyer and Palin had another surprise in store: a wedding. They confirmed their unexpected marriage to Entertainment Tonight after sharing a photo from their tropical honeymoon that featured Palin wearing a wedding ring.
“Life is full of ups and downs but in the end, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be,” they told Entertainment Tonight. “We are so happy to share with loved ones the wonderful news that we got married!”
It was an exciting year for the couple: In December 2016 they announced that they were expecting their second child together, Palin’s third. “We are so excited to announce that our family is expanding!” they said in a statement to ET. “God has blessed us so much; we are thankful for His grace and new beginnings. A springtime baby in the Meyer home and we can’t wait!”
In May 2017, they welcomed daughter Atlee Bay to their family, sharing the happy news on Instagram.
But this seemingly happy ending wasn’t build to last. On Tuesday, PEOPLE confirmed that Meyer had filed for divorce. This news comes less than two years after the couple’s surprise wedding in May 2016.
A source with knowledge of the situation told PEOPLE that Meyer moved out of the family’s Austin, Texas, home around Christmas. He filed for divorce at the end of January.