It happens, couples break up all the time — but fans thought Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and her ex-boyfriend Stacey Ervin Jr. were going to last forever. They split in March 2020 after nearly three years together, but why?
The five-time, all-around world champion never explicitly revealed why she and the fellow gymnast split, but she did open up about a major shift in her life during the coronavirus lockdown shortly after the breakup.
“I think for athletes, it’s hard for us to be out of our element for such a long period of time. That kind of throws your whole balance off,” Simone told Vogue for their August 2020 cover story. “Because you go to work out and you release endorphins. You get any anger out. It’s kind of our oasis. Without that, you’re stuck at home with your own thoughts.”
Courtesy of Stacey Ervin Jr./Instagram
“It’s hard being young and having that long of a relationship and then ending it,” she added specifically about the demise of her relationship. “But it was for the best.”
The pair met in 2014 at the P&G Gymnastics Championships. Three years later, the pair reconnected after Simone’s biological grandmother, Nellie Biles, hired Stacey to coach at her gym in Texas. She first opened up to the press about the relationship in September 2017.
Shutterstock; Stacey Ervin Jr./Instagram
Simone has since moved on with NFL star Jonathan Owens. “He’s a real man. I love him. We have a great time together,” she gushed during a January 2021 interview with the Today show. “Our personalities match right up. We have the same sense of humor. He’s just great. He’s an athlete, too, so we really understand each other, and I think that’s why our relationship has been seamless.”
The Houston Texans player was so taken with Simone as a person when they first met that he didn’t even know she was famous. “Her work ethic was really the first thing that caught my eye,” Jonathan revealed during the third episode of Simone’s Facebook Watch series, Simone vs. Herself. “I never really watched gymnastics before I first started talking to her. When I met her, I honestly didn’t know who she was.”
He added, “It was just like, ‘Oh, she has a lot of followers — she must be pretty good or something. That’s how I would tell people and they’d be like: ‘Simone Biles?! You for real, the gymnast?!’ And I’m like ‘Man, she’s good like that?!’”
The pair took a huge step in their relationship and revealed their engagement on February 15, 2022.