The Step Up stars announced in a joint statement on Monday that they were separating after eight years of marriage. While it came as a shock to many, including some of their friends, a source tells ET that the two had actually "struggled" to make their marriage work for quite some time.
"[It has] been very difficult," the source says, adding that they "were very much in love" and just couldn't find a way to work through their differences. "There was a lot of pressure in Hollywood to stay a happy couple. Some friends were stunned by the joint post regarding their split, while others saw this coming."
"It has been very challenging for a while and many of their fans are devastated," the source continues. "But this decision is truly is for the best."
Channing and Jenna, both 37, share one child together, daughter Everly, who turns five next month. The source says they attempted everything in their power to avoid a split "because they both felt it was worth it."
Now that they have finally made their breakup public with the joint announcement, the source claims the actors "are both relieved."
"Hiding the fact [that] their marriage has been over for some time was devastating to Jenna and also hard for Channing," the source adds. "At this point they both feel the future will be better. And while their marriage couldn't last, their daughter is their first priority."
Channing and Jenna first met on the set of the popular 2006 dance film, Step Up, and took their onscreen romance off-screen shortly after filming wrapped. The two said "I do" at the Church Estate Vineyards in Malibu, California, in July 2009, and while vacationing in Bali, they decided to get matching tattoos -- a line from their wedding vows.