Lake and Evans wed in 2012 and divorced in 2015

By Natalie Stone
February 14, 2017 08:16 PM
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Ricki Lake was a self-proclaimed “cynic” about marriage — but that was before Christian Evans came into her life.

After a messy divorce from Rob Sussman in 2005, the actress and talk show host, 48, didn’t expect to fall in love again. But when a mutual friend introduced Lake to the jewelry designer in 2010, the pair became inseparable.

“She’s my soulmate,” Evans told PEOPLE in 2012.

The couple got engaged in August of 2011 and eloped on April 8 the following year in an intimate outdoor wedding that was secret, secluded and, “something just for us,” said Lake.

In attendance at the coastal California wedding were Lake and Evans’ beloved dogs ― Jeffie, a Goldendoodle, and Pacha, an English bulldog — Lake’s glam squad and Evans’ hairstylist pal.

During the ceremony, held at a private cottage at the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California, Lake read three pages of “very personal” handwritten vows filled with “how he is an inspiration to me” while Evans opted for “off-the-cuff” approach.

Though Lake — who is mother two sons Milo and Owen — considered a large wedding, she and Evans opted for something more personal. “At the end of the day, the best solution was to have our moment of being together and getting married,” said Evans.

“I’m so happy,” Lake told PEOPLE after saying “I do” to Evans in 2012. “It feels like the most joyous time in my life.”

“It was exactly what we wanted,” Lake said of the 20-minute nondenominational ceremony.

After two-and-a-half years of marriage, Lake separated from Evans on Oct. 9, 2014 and filed for divorce a week later, according to court filings in Los Angeles. Their divorce was finalized in 2015.

On Tuesday, Lake revealed in an emotional Instagram and Facebook post that her ex-husband had passed away after a battle with bipolar disorder.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share that my beloved soulmate, Christian Evans has passed,” Lake began the post. “The world didn’t understand this man, but I did. He succumbed to his life long struggle with bipolar disorder.”

“For anyone who has ever lost a family member or friend to mental illness, my heart goes out to you. I am a greater person for having known him and spent the past 6 and a half years of my life with him,” she continued. “He was a man of love and what mends my broken heart today is knowing that he is finally at peace and his spirit is free.”

She ended the post with, “Rest in peace, my love.”