"There were some important fundamental values that weren't lining up," Kaitlyn Bristowe admits
“It’s been a really hard few months now,” she admitted. “I really did think we’d get through it.”
While Bristowe said she knew fans had suspected the split for a while, she was always optimistic that they would stay together.
“To be honest, I thought we would choose the road where we would end up together,” she said as she became emotional. “I just never took our commitment or being engaged, lightly at all. I had the mindset of doing whatever it took to make it work.”
She said the couple hit a “crossroads” in the relationship during a recent trip to Bristowe’s native Canada.
“With all the hard moments in life come life lessons and that’s what I need to take from all of this,” she explained. “Sometimes you need to take a moment and take a step back to think about what you are fighting for and if it makes sense for your longterm happiness.”
After three years together, Bristowe and Booth made the difficult decision to go their separate ways.
“There were some important fundamental values that weren’t lining up,” she said, adding that there were also “some things we’d probably never see eye-to-eye on. We were left with no choice but to be honest with ourselves and each other.”
But despite their split, the reality star said the relationship fans watched develop on The Bachelorette and over social media in the years following was genuine.
“I want to reiterate to people, what you saw on social media was real and what we had was real love,” she said. “But when it comes to roadblocks, and those fundamental values and getting through things together, I just don’t think we were on the same page — and it’s painful to admit that. But you need that foundation and you need that partnership if it’s going to last forever.”
Bristowe admitted that one of the hardest parts of their breakup was saying goodbye to Booth’s dog, Tucker.
“I think I’ve been grieving this for a while,” she said. “And knowing that Tucker isn’t in my home anymore. … Sometimes I feel like he was almost the glue to our relationship. I clearly love that dog so much, but I will still see him.”
Even though they’re no longer romantically involved, Bristowe said she and Booth “will remain friends.”
“I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has respected this decision and for all the kind messages,” she added. “I know that there are so many bright days ahead and, in a weird way, as much I was dreading releasing that statement and accepting it was the end, it has let me close the door on that thought of forever and start envisioning my new future ahead, which I am excited about.”
“This was the last thing Kaitlyn wanted. She was willing to fight for the relationship, but there was nowhere for it to go,” a source recently told PEOPLE.
“It’s only natural to think about the next steps when you’ve been together for three years,” the source said. “Kaitlyn wants to be married and have kids. But it didn’t seem like they were on the same page.”
Though this was the first time Bristowe has opened up about the split, Booth previously released a statement on Instagram.
“I just want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of my relationship with Kaitlyn over the years. You’ve made me feel incredibly special, supported, and very loved,” he captioned a July 2015 photo of him and Bristowe in New York City, shortly after she gave him the final rose on season 19.
“So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. It truly means a lot,” he added. “And thank you to everyone who has sent their love & support during this painful time. I love you guys.”