"I'm your sister, always. Judges sisters!" Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba said

By Aurelie Corinthios
June 01, 2020 10:10 AM
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Carrie Ann Inaba had some kind words for Julianne Hough amid her split from husband Brooks Laich.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the Dancing with the Stars judge referred to Hough, who was a pro dancer and then a judge on the ABC competition show, as her "sister."

"I'm really sad. I get how relationships go up and down — look at me!" said Inaba, whose engagement to actor Robb Derringer ended in 2017, five years after she called it quits with fiancé Jesse Sloan in 2012. "You have to follow your heart because life is once, that we remember, and it's so hard to be married in the spotlight and then break up."

"I wasn't even married and it was so hard to break up with my exes, so I get that," Inaba continued. "All I want to say to Julianne is that I love you and I support you. Anything you need, I'm right here. I'm your sister, always. Judges sisters!"

Hough, 31, and Laich, 36, announced the news of their separation in an exclusive joint statement to PEOPLE on Friday after nearly three years of marriage.

"We have lovingly and carefully taken the time we have needed to arrive at our decision to separate," they said. "We share an abundance of love and respect for one another and will continue to lead with our hearts from that place. We kindly request your compassion and respect for our privacy moving forward."

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The split came after multiple sources told PEOPLE earlier this year that the stars had hit a rough patch in their marriage. The two have also been social distancing separately during the coronavirus outbreak, with Laich in Idaho and Hough home in Los Angeles.

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"It's over, it's been over for a while, and it's time to just call it what it is — and it is over," one source with knowledge of the situation told PEOPLE. "There is honestly no ill will. He loves her. She loves him. I can truly say they always will. But they both understand they are not meant to go through their lives as husband and wife to each other."

According to the source, the fact that Hough and Laich were "perfectly happy and fine being apart" during the pandemic made them realize it was time to part ways.

A second source close to the couple added that this "wasn't a rash decision."

"They tried living apart and spending time apart, and also spending more time together to see what would be best. But their romantic relationship is over now," that source said. "It's really sad because there is a lot of love and respect between Brooks and Julianne, but they are both determined to remain friends."