Alex Kinsey & Sierra Deaton are going their separate ways — both personally and professionally.
The boyfriend-girlfriend duo — who scored X Factor‘s $1 million recording contract in their December 2013 win — announced via Twitter Friday that they ended their romantic relationship over a year ago and are splitting as artists as well.
“We may be artists, but it seems the next words are some of the hardest we’ve ever had to write. Many of you have been keeping up with us for years; you watched us go from two kids who met on the beach in Florida in 2009 to a couple who won a TV show and released albums and toured the country,” the “Little Do You Know” singers wrote.
“We’ve had an awfully magical time with each other and with you. Unfortunately, things change a lot in eight years, and though we didn’t tell the public, our romantic relationship ended over a year ago.”
They continued, “But as everyone does know, we’ve been best friends forever and really tried to keep A&S going. However, we’ve arrived at a point where it feels better to branch out rather than continue making music together. This last album and tour were hard on our hearts. So thank you to anyone who ever watched videos of us, bought a CD, came to see us live, bought merch, or simply enjoyed the music and listened and shared with friends.”
“No band lasts forever, whether they dated or not, but we will cherish every memory, and our love for will most certainly last forever,” Kinsey, 25, and Deaton, 26, — whose partnership produced a studio album (It’s About Us), national tours and a hit single, “Scarecrow” — wrote. “We have a lot of love for each other and ALWAYS will, and we are the real people behind the screen you’re looking at, so keep that in mind before you say anything and please respect our privacy.”
When they first auditioned for X Factor, Simon Cowell asked if the two — who had already been dating two years — were “really in love.” “Indeed,” Kinsey replied.
After performing their acoustic and sultry rendition of Britney Spears‘s hit “Toxic,” all the judges rallied behind the two, with judge panelist Demi Lovato exclaiming that she was “in love” with the couple. “I’m in love with your love. I love you,” Lovato said.
Cowell — who was their mentor for the show — was extremely supportive of the duo during the televised competition.
“I feel like Christmas just came early,” Cowell said of the couple’s eventual win.
The couple — who opened up last year about being dropped from their record label — previously said they had considered what would happen if they ever broke up.
“We could always try continuing Alex & Sierra, like other bands who have had break ups within them (ala Fleetwood Mac/No Doubt) or do the whole solo project thing but we haven’t put TOO much thought to it. We currently write and release songs together, and have a lot of fun, but we also have solo songs JUST because it’s fun to write and do something that sounds different,” the couple wrote in a 2016 Reddit AMA.
Alex & Sierra released their most recent EP, As Seen on TV, last September and toured behind the record through March of this year.