Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart were married for 14 years

By Jodi Guglielmi and Abby Stern
June 05, 2019 10:11 AM
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Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart may no longer be together, but the exes will always support each other.

The Euphoria actor said he was “of course” proud of Gayheart for opening up for the first time last month about being responsible for a tragic car accident that left a child dead.

“I lived with her for 15 years,” he told PEOPLE at the Euphoria premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday. “She shared the story with me — if it was of any benefit, absolutely [I’m proud of her].”

Dane, 46, and Gayheart, 47, were married from 2004 to 2018 and share daughters Billie Beatrice, 9, and Georgia Geraldine, 7.

He also discussed his role in HBO’s mysterious new thriller about high school kids.

“You’re hopefully going to walk away feeling something different by the end of the season than you felt at the beginning of the season,” he teased.

Gayheart shared her story on her friend’s The Only One in the Room podcast in May, revealing that she still has “trouble talking about” the 2001 accident, which killed 9-year-old Jorge Cruz Jr.

“A 9-year-old child died. And, you know, everything changed from that,” she said. “It just turned my world upside down and I lost faith in everything, like, I questioned God, like, ‘Why me? Why Jorge?’”

Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane
| Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

On June 13, 2001, Gayheart was driving a vehicle owned by her Dusk Til Dawn 3 costar, Marco Leonardi, when she accidentally struck Cruz as he was walking across the street in Los Angeles.

Cruz died from the injuries sustained the following day, and Gayheart paid the family $10,000 for funeral expenses. After pleading no contest to vehicular manslaughter in November 2001, the actress was sentenced to probation, a one-year suspension of her license, a $2,800 fine, and 750 hours of community service. She also settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the child’s parents out of court.

During the podcast, Gayheart said that following the accident, she found it difficult to move on and considered taking her own life.

Gayheart later told PEOPLE that while it was “scary,” she decided to speak out in hopes of providing comfort to others grappling with tragedies in their lives.

“I did it because I was thinking, if there’s one person out there who feels the same way and I can offer them some perspective of it all being okay, then it’s worth it,” she said.

Although Gayheart admits she still struggles with what happened, she has since found both happiness and further success in her life, and is trying to keep a positive mindset.

“Today, I am able to ponder those questions and still realize that I deserve to be happy,” she added. “That I am meant to be on this planet and that I have a purpose and I’m making, living amends for that, even though it was an accident.”