Already have an account?
Get back to the

Peter Facinelli Compares Jennie Garth Relationship to an ‘Arranged Marriage’ as They Recall Divorce 

Jennie Garth invited her ex-husband Peter Facinelli onto her “I Choose Me” podcast to publicly discuss their coparenting journey for the first time.

“We haven’t really spoken a lot about life about stuff in years, so I honestly don’t know you … and I don’t think you know me,” Facinelli, 50, said on the Wednesday, June 5, episode of the iHeartRadio podcast. “And yet, it’s like when you go home and you’re with your mom or your dad or, you know, your sisters and they just treat you like you’re 16, 17, 18, like, you know the time they saw you last when you were younger, and so there’s this feeling of like, ‘Oh, I know her because we were together for so long, but you’ve grown into this mature, wonderful adult woman and I’ve grown.’”

He continued, “When we look at each other, we still look at each other like the 21- [and] 22-year-old version of each other.”

Garth, 52, and Facinelli were married between 2001 and 2012. They share daughters Luca, 26, Lola, 21, and Fiona, 17.

Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli's Ups and Downs Through the Years: From Falling in Love on Set to Coparenting

Related: Jennie Garth and Ex Peter Facinelli’s Ups and Downs Through the Years

“When you break up with someone and then you still have this immense, tremendous responsibility with them,” Facinelli said, specifically referring to their children. “You have to put everything aside to like to work together. And there’s still a lot of pain there in the relationship not working out [and] a lot of feeling like if you failed the kids, or you know, we failed the kids in some way, and a lot of feelings of, like, ‘my way is right, your way is wrong, your way is right.’”

Keep scrolling for the biggest revelations from their “I Choose Me” discussion:

Having Kids Young

Peter Facinelli Compares Jennie Garth Relationship to an 'Arranged Marriage' as They Recall Divorce 
Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli with daughters Fiona Eve Facinelli, Luca Bella Facinelli and Lola Ray Facinelli. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

“I was a baby having a baby,” Facinelli said of being 21 when Garth was pregnant for the first time. “Like, no, how did [I do] that? I pray every day, I’m like, ‘Please, [I hope our daughters] don’t have a baby because you need had a little bit of wisdom and a little bit of knowledge at that age.’”

He continued, “At 21, [Jennie], you were a year older [and] you’ve been working in the business since you were 15. I literally just landed in L.A. … and six months later, I was having a baby. So you know, that wasn’t planned, obviously.”

Reliving Their Breakup

Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli Break Down Coparenting Dynamic: Biggest 'I Choose Me' Takeaways
Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli. Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Facinelli informed Garth that he wanted a divorce while they were sitting in an RV that they jointly owned.

“That’s why we sold that RV,” she quipped on Wednesday, revealing she got “pissed” at him for wanting to end their marriage.

For Facinelli, he wanted to be able to find himself outside of being a husband and father.

“I felt a lot of it was I was in this marriage and it felt to me a little bit like an arranged marriage,” he said. “Like, I loved you, and we had this beautiful family, from the outside but I just was I hadn’t developed who I was. I don’t even know how you could love me because I didn’t know me.”

Peter Facinelli Compares Jennie Garth Relationship to an 'Arranged Marriage' as They Recall Divorce 
Peter Facinelli and Jennie Garth. Getty Images (2)

Facinelli continued, “Sometimes we would drive up to your mom’s house, and I was the guy who drove, I planned the vacations, I was the dad. I was the soccer coach and then I go play parts [on acting jobs] and I was this other person playing parts, and so I was just like, ‘Well, I never got [to] fully develop me.’ I didn’t know who I was, and so I needed to figure that out. I didn’t feel like I had the space to do that within the marriage.”

The Twilight actor was in a place where he was “just starting” his career while Garth was “almost [ready] to retire.” Facinelli ultimately stayed in the marriage longer because of their kids.

“I think that if we didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t have stayed because I would have had the freedom to go, ‘OK, I need to be able to figure out who I am,’” he said.

Jennie- Garth-s Family Guide

Related: Jennie Garth's Family Guide: 3 Daughters With Ex Peter Facinelli, More

Sharing Custody 50/50

Peter Facinelli Compares Jennie Garth Relationship to an 'Arranged Marriage' as They Recall Divorce 
Jennie Garth with daughters Lola Ray Facinelli, Fiona Eve Facinelli, and Luca Bella Facinelli. Paul Redmond/WireImage

After Garth and Facinelli agreed to separate, they “settled on shared custody.”

“There were times when I really emotionally regretted that decision or not fighting harder for more,” Garth said. “But at the same time, I knew that having them [spend] 50 percent of their time with you, their father, was absolutely the best thing for them. Whatever I was dealing with, you know, that part of me that wanted to have them more was just me being selfish and thinking about myself because it hurt so bad when they would leave.”

Facinelli also struggled with sharing custody and watching Luca, Lola and Fiona travel back and forth between their two homes.

“It was all about trying to find a balance and picking up the kids and knowing that they were going to miss you for the week and then dropping off knowing they were going to miss me for a week,” he said. “I always felt like they were visiting me and maybe choosing a home, like your house is the home house and there’s a lot of feelings of like, ‘Well, is my house the house they come visit? Is your house the house they visit? You know, like where is their home?’”

How Peter Navigated Parenting and Divorce Simultaneously 

Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli Break Down Coparenting Dynamic: Biggest 'I Choose Me' Takeaways
Peter Facinelli with daughters Luca, Fiona, and Lola. Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Facinelli noted that the girls could often tell when he and Garth had tension, so they tried to put any personal issues on the back burner. “I feel like they needed both of us. You know, they really did benefit from having both of us,” he said. “And I always felt that if the parents are OK, then the kids will be OK.”

Parenting Differences

Without a “manual” for raising kids, Garth and Facinelli each looked to their respective upbringings for guidance.

“I remember going to your house in Queens and … I remember it was so much energy, the Italian dinners in the family, and I was not used to that,” the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum recalled. “I come from a really quiet family, and I remember just being overwhelmed. I was pregnant … [and] we weren’t married and it was in this Catholic home, like [I was] the illegitimate baby mama; it felt very weird.”

Garth felt that she was more emotional than Facinelli, who tries not to let his feelings “affect” Luca, Lola and Fiona.

“It was more of me not showing them how happy, [or] you know, sad about them not being there,” he said. “I think that they kind of benefited from both. You know. They looked at it and it was like it’s OK to express emotions and it’s okay to be wrong, you know.”

Fiona Often Attempts to ‘Pit’ Her Parents ‘Against Each Other’

The kids often tried to “play” their parents as they split time between them.

“With our youngest, there were times when we were both unified and something. We both sat down with her and she was, ‘[I] hated that.’ She was like, ‘This isn’t how it works,’” Facinelli said of Fiona. “Because she liked being able to kind of pit us against each other where you know in some ways she’ll still do it now in some ways.”

According to Facinelli, Fiona will come to his house for a “great” visit before Lola tells him later that her sister was “sad and depressed” the entire time.

“I’m like, ‘Why would she say that? We had a great week together,’” he added. “And then [Jennie will] hear she was kind of sad and depressed, but it’s really because she wanted to go to a party, and she’s kind of playing you, you know, to go to this party.”

Sharna Burgess Brian Austin Green Ex Megan Fox Are Amazing Coparents

Related: Former Celebrity Couples Who Are Crushing Coparenting

Looking Back on Their Coparenting Journey

“It’s tough. It takes patience [and] it takes a lot,” he said. “We could have been better at it, and I still try to be better at it. A lot of trying to understand where the other is coming from because I think when we had a passion for something, you know, about something our kids were going through, and we understood, you know, where you were coming from and where I was coming from, even if we didn’t agree on the end result of it there was a compassion there that I think helped us through it.”

Garth struggled with letting Facinelli make his own parenting rules that differed from hers.

“I would send them to you and I would think they weren’t being taken care of well enough or to my standards or whatever it was,” she said. “But then just I would have to step back from that because like you were doing the best you could and giving them all the things that you knew to give them.”

Facinelli further confessed that he felt he “wasn’t doing it right,” but eventually found his own footing once Garth gave him space to do so.

Jennie Gets Emotional About Her ‘Pain’ of Having Children of Divorce

Jennie Garth and Peter Facinelli Break Down Coparenting Dynamic: Biggest 'I Choose Me' Takeaways
Jennie Garth with husband Dave Abrams and daughters Lola, Luca, and Fiona Facinelli. Courtesy of Luca Bella Facinelli/Instagram

Garth nearly broke down in tears as she and Facinelli detailed the psychological impact of their divorce on the kids.

“It was making me feel a little emotional while you were talking about that because I know I could have been better about that,” she said. “I could have been better about that, and that’s hard for me because I did my best, but sometimes my best wasn’t the best, you know, and I acknowledge that and it pains me now to see that I created something there for us to deal with, for them to deal with because of my just my pain or whatever it was.”

Jennie Now Feels Support From Peter No Matter What

Garth acknowledged that she and Facinelli “have come a long way” in their dynamic.

“I am really proud of the progress that we’ve made over the years,” she said, adding that she is able to lean on Facinelli in times of need.

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!