It looks like The Bachelorette‘s Michelle Young and Nayte Olukoya will not be getting their happily ever after. Six months after their engagement was announced — and just weeks after denying their rumored split — they have officially announced their breakup. “To those who have supported Nayte and I, including Bachelor Nation, I know I speak for the both of us when saying having a relationship in the public eye has not been easy,” Michelle, 29, wrote on her Instagram Story on June 17. “I’m struggling to say that Nayte and I will be going our separate ways but I stand with him in knowing the heaviness that is present in both of our hearts as this relationship has been very real for us.”
The fifth-grade teacher, who is on a hiatus from teaching, went on to address Nayte directly. “To you, Nayte, you quickly became my best friend and the love I have for you is incredibly strong. I will never stop wanting to see you succeed,” she said. “I will always acknowledge and appreciate the adventures, support, and growth both Nayte and this experience have brought me. At the same time, I’m deeply hurting and will need time and space to work through this heartbreak.”
Nayte posted a lengthier message on his own Instagram Story. “When we both started this journey, we were looking for our Soulmates. Our forever. Our best friends. However, as we grow and learn, we also realize that sometimes somebody that you hold dear to your heart isn’t somebody that you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with,” the 27-year-old began.
He next made sure one thing was clear: Everything between him and Michelle was real. “We genuinely fell in love, and we genuinely became each other’s best friends,” he noted before saying he will always cheer Michelle on. He went on to say the “emotions” and “heartbreak” are “real.” He ended his message by thanking anyone who has supported him and Michelle since they fell in love on Season 18 of The Bachelorette and asked people to give them both privacy as they heal going forward.
Michelle and Nayte got engaged in the Dec. 2021 finale of Michelle’s Bachelorette season after she picked him over traveling nurse Brandon Jones. Nayte popped the question with a handmade, pear-shaped diamond “set with 46 round brilliant cut diamonds and two tapered baguette diamonds” that was just above 3 carats, per People.
“Michelle, the very first night I met you, I knew right then and there that we had a connection that I wanted to hold onto,” Nayte sweetly told Michelle before making her his bride-to-be. “The second night that we were together, we talked about running away together. I’m standing in front of you right now and the feelings are the same — I want to run away with you. I want to run away to forever with the woman that I’ve come to love. This amazingly, crazy, loud kind of love. Through this journey, you’ve shared a lot of vulnerable sides of your past. I know that you’ve felt unseen at times and I want to let you know that I am completely prepared, willing and ready to make sure that you are always chosen first, seen, now, today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives. I love you, Michelle.”
Nayte and Michelle still follow each other on Instagram as of this writing and still appear on each other’s pages. Nayte’s last post of Michelle (seen above) was for her birthday on June 4. “Happy birthday to this special woman right here!” he wrote alongside several cute photos with the Minnesota native. “I admire how strong and caring you are. You have a heart of gold and I appreciate you for so much, Michelle. Can’t wait to see what this year brings you.”
Meanwhile, Michelle last posted about Nayte in April with a photo of them hugging. “I hear hugging increases serotonin levels…or at least keeps you warm,” she captioned the picture.
While it’s never good news to see a Bachelor franchise couple split, it helps that they’ve made it clear they are on good terms.