On what would have been her first wedding anniversary — October 23 — Courtney Hope (Sally, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS) opened up for the first time about her split from Chad Duell (Michael, GENERAL HOSPITAL). In a lengthy and moving Instagram post, the Daytime Emmy nominee reflected upon the couple’s unique wedding day, the end of their relationship, and the transformation she’s gone through over the course of the past year as a result.
In her emotional post, the Y&R star shared several photos from the lavish black-and-red steampunk-themed wedding in which she and Duell exchanged vows. The images Hope selected did not include the GH star, but rather were snapshots of her in her red lace gown with her mother, father, and brother. The caption for the photo carousel was a quote from Harry Potter’s Dumbledore, explaining the transformation that the phoenix goes through when it is time for the mythical bird to die and be reborn from the ashes — and in the note accompanying her photos, Hope shared a bit of her own rebirth. “One year ago, I was getting ready for what I thought would be one of the biggest dreams come true of my life. Little did I know,” she confessed, “it was the beginning of the end.”
Just eight weeks after they tied the knot, Hope and Duell quietly separated, ending their five-year relationship. Neither actor ever publicly divulged the reason for their split, but Duell later shockingly revealed in January that the couple was never legally married. In her post, Hope neither addressed the details that led to the break-up nor confirmed Duell’s confession about their union — but did state that the five years they spent together was “one of the greatest, albeit testing at times, half a decade of my life. A love that was built through memories, patience, adventure, lessons, challenges, and laughter, a love that did not stand the test of time, and a love that will forever hold a place in my heart because it changed me.”
In the months after the breakup, Hope often shared posts on social media about self-reflection, letting go, putting herself first, and other inspirational messages. “I’ve lived the life of a phoenix this last year, and it was far less majestic than I had previously believed it to be,” she confessed. “It was painful. It was infuriating. It was powerful. It was enlightening. It was cathartic. It was grounding, and it was my greatest teacher.”
Feeling that her relationship with her self is stronger than ever, Hope was able to look back on October 23, 2001, with a certain fondness, rather than ignoring the significance of what the day was supposed to represent. “I know now I need to honor this moment for what it was, a powerful celebration and fight for love and a beautiful amalgamation of all those involved,” she wrote. “I was proud of what this day turned into and represented in the moment, regardless of what anyone else has to say. It was almost everything I imagined it to be, and at this point, that’s good enough for me.
“Though I’m still picking up pieces, where I’m at greatly surpasses anywhere I’ve ever been before. This is my story, this is my one-year celebration, and though it may not be like the rest or what I imagined, I’m at peace with it and I’m thankful for where I’m headed next.”
We wish Hope well as she continues on her journey!