A few months in, it didn’t appear as if 2018 was set to be a banner year for Jenna Dewan.
By early April, she and Channing Tatum had finally worked up the nerve to announce a truth they had accepted long before: their envied, adored marriage simply wasn’t working. “Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now,” they shared in matching social media statements. “There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision—just two best-friends realizing it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible.”
While the news was equal parts crushing and baffling to fans—Weren’t they one of Hollywood hottest couples? Didn’t they simply radiate chemistry?—the pair had already taken the time to wrap their minds around the end of their nearly nine-year union.
“They have been separated and have had a few months to get used to this privately. They are both doing ok with it because it was a long time coming,” a source reported to E! News. “They had been trying for a long time to see if they could make it work. It became clear over the last year that they wanted different things and were no longer on the same path.”
Still one had to wonder how they would do forging off on their own. Having met as 25-year-olds on the set of 2006’s campy good girl ballerina-meets-bad boy break dancer rom com Step Up, the pair had spent nearly the whole of their adult lives together, tying the knot on July 11, 2009, at the Church Estates Vineyards in Malibu and welcoming daughter Everly Tatum not quite four years later.
For some, finding themselves suddenly single for the first time in more than a decade might feel daunting, the idea of going it alone, if not paralyzing, at least a considerable challenge.
Dewan has thrived. As she celebrates the start of a new year today, the 38-year-old triple threat is also embarking on several fresh career ventures—she has two films in the can, a recurring role on Fox drama The Resident, a Netflix musical dramedy in the works, a capsule collection with dance clothing brand Danskin and several projects in development with her production company Everheart—an intriguing romance with Tony-winning actor Steve Kazee and a decidedly optimistic mindset.
“It’s a new dawn,” she shared in a May interview with Harper’s Bazaar, a profile that takes pains to note how positive Dewan seemed about this transitional period. “There is a joy and there is a vulnerability to it. But I have a lot of hope for what the new chapter of my life will be.”
Some eight months in, the story is panning out quite nicely. “Things are going well and she is moving on from her marriage,” an insider tells E! News. “She’s happy to be getting back on her feet and adjusted to her new setup.”
Her bounce back comes after months of some decidedly new world soul-searching, including a holographic breathing meditative technique that she credits with opening her up to new possibilities.
A self-described “spiritual nut” and early adopter of crystals, she joined up with her closest girlfriends to form a goddess circle. Huddled together, they “talk about what we’re going through,” she shared with Harper’s Bazaar, then take part in a shaman-led group meditation utilizing the ever-present crystals and sound bowls. “I’m aware how weird that sounds,” she admitted. “It’s the whole L.A. hippie experience.”
File it under you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to move past a painful divorce. Tatum noted her band of pals have helped her find the courage “to confront the unknown.” The raison d’être of their gatherings, she said, “is women coming together and supporting each other, and connecting, and bonding.” The longer she’s existed in this world and the greater Hollywood sphere—her first role coming in 2002’s The Hot Chick—”It sounds cliché,” she said, “but it’s more important to have a really solid group of girls that are there for me, who get me.”
Who that “me” is—dancer, host, producer, actress, entrepreneur, mom—well, Dewan is having fun figuring that out.
“I did a lot of work healing from the inside out, becoming more in touch with my womanly power,” she told Women’s Health in July. “It was always, ‘I’m a dancer,’ or ‘I’m married,’ or ‘I’m an actress.’ Over the last couple of years, it became about learning about myself.”
It’s hard to imagine her current career surge isn’t at least tangentially connected to her discoveries, though she insists her marriage had no affect on her professional life. “The moves I’m making are completely not related to my marriage or separation, interestingly enough. I was always very happy being a wife,” Dewan told Harper’s, but she copped to grabbling with life’s bigger questions, such as, “‘Who are you? What do you want to give to the world? What excites you?’ Those feelings started bubbling up for me, naturally…so I really wanted to expand my life, and myself. And that was my journey, no one else’s.”
While she’s making her way down a new road, she still accepts Tatum as co-pilot when it comes to Everly. The couple meant it when the said they would always be “loving, dedicated parents” to their 5-year-old daughter, a willful, free-spirit that Dewan already predicts big things for: “If she’s not running her own business, or ruling the world, I have failed as a mother.”
Though Tatum moved out of their shared Beverly Hills home, he had every intention of continuing to pop over for visits, possibly giving Everly another chance to craft a masterpiece on his face.
“They will be doing all kinds of family things together,” insisted a source. (See: her June preschool graduation, their recent trick-or-treating adventure.) “They want to keep her routine the same and will be going to the farmer’s market on the weekends and hanging out with friends,” said the source. “Nothing is going to change in her life and she has two parents who will be very involved in everything she does.”
Having worked out any initial kinks, they’ve settled into a different type of partnership that holds firm to that plans. “She and Channing are doing the co-parenting thing,” the insider tells E! News of Dewan, “and always put Everly’s needs first.” Chief among them, guiding the kindergartner through her latest milestones. Says the insider, “They are both helping her get adjusted and make the transition from preschool.”
Their co-parenting vibe includes “a lot of love” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “We’re just getting used to it. We’re in a very positive energy together, trying to be the best parents to Everly.”
Their conscious uncoupling game is so on par that the Supergirl alum didn’t seem the least bit fazed when news broke in October that Tatum had been courting another talented brunette: British pop singer Jessie J.
“Jenna knew that Channing was dating and it wasn’t a surprise,” a source shared with E! News. “A friend had told her what was going on.” Even without the heads up, though, continued the source, “She doesn’t really care what Channing does as long as he’s being there for Everly. Jenna’s dating too and they are both moving on with their lives.”
She showed not a trace of pettiness even when the most superficial of fans pointed out the ladies’ physical resemblance and offered their thoughts on who was or wasn’t up to snuff. Dragging the new significant other may be a time honored tradition enjoyed by exes everywhere, but Dewan wasn’t playing.
She offered a virtual high five when the Grammy-nominated singer, 30, took to Instagram to share her thoughts about “a story I have seen be re written over and over again in the past few weeks that talks about myself being compared directly to another beautiful woman regarding our looks and people picking who they think is prettier.”
Continued the musician, “Is picking who is prettier and then continuing to say why a good activity for women to participate in? No.” Dewan was quick to show they were on the same side of this particularly offensive battle, posting to her own Instagram page, “Amen Jessie! Yes!!!!! Women for women all the way. No need for negativity. Let’s live in a world where we support each other and raise each other up.”
Besides, she couldn’t possibly get herself riled up about her former husband’s new gal when she had her own smoking hot romance to attend to. The truth came out at Mike Meldman‘s Casamigos Halloween bash when Dewan was spotted engaging in a full-on make-out session with a handsome mystery man. Turns out she had been seeing the striking suitor—Shameless and Nashville alum Kazee, who scored a Tony and a Grammy for his work in the Broadway musical Once—for several months.
“She was introduced to him by mutual friends,” a source explained to E! News, “and they hit it off right away.”
In the 43-year-old dog-loving Kentucky native (an avowed “proud feminist”) she found someone who got her excited at the prospect of being back on the dating scene. “She has completely moved on from her marriage and is happy to have met someone new,” said the source. “Steve treats her very well and is doing everything right. She’s hopeful about the future, but not getting too far ahead of herself.”
With the news out there, suddenly the pair and their sweet displays of affection were everywhere: posing together with pals at the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride attraction, walking hand-in-hand through Palm Springs one day, stopping to kiss in front of a Mexican restaurant in the desert resort town the next and grabbing a smooch to go with their Pressed Juicery drinks while out in Beverly Hills.
For Dewan, being outed was the best thing that could happen to her romance. “She is glad she can be out in the open now,” a source told People last month. “She loves strolling around with him and going for lunch. Before they mostly spent time at night. Jenna seems very happy and excited about her life.” (She made as much clear when asked about her new relationship at the Baby2Baby gala Nov. 10, telling Us Weekly, “I don’t talk about my personal life, but thank you! I am very happy.”)
Perhaps this is what she predicted when she spoke with Women’s Health for their July issue, reflecting on what life would be like as Jenna Dewan, no longer Tatum.
“It’s been a journey, and it’s been a transformation of myself—my needs and wants as a woman,” she shared. “I think everyone wants to hold on to what’s in front of them, but when you open your mind saying, ‘I want what’s best for myself and my daughter,’ you have to be OK with however that looks. I feel like I’ve been on a wave of growth. It does look different; it’s a new normal, and I really think we’ll get used to that.”
It took time to adjust to the outcries of fans who declared the end of their romance meant the end of all love, the belief being if these two incredibly attractive people couldn’t make it, what hope did the rest of us have?
But eventually they moved on right along with her, she told the mag. “It’s always challenging to go through a big change and have the whole world have an opinion about it. It’s OK for a relationship to change into a new form that is actually better for both people involved, and I think maybe that’s what shocked everyone so much—that it can be a positive thing. That was ultimately what happened with us.”