"I am going to go under a rock and I am going to go off the grid," she said when the trailer for season 3 dropped in May. "It's not the ideal situation to be put in, to have cameras surrounding you at that time. It was not something I would have chosen obviously, but hopefully the viewers will follow us along the journey and be kind."
Justin filed for divorce in November 2019, citing irreconcilable differences and listing the couple's date of separation as months before, in July, even though they had made public appearances together after that date. Selling Sunset's third season was filmed after July too. At the time, a source told ET the couple's friends were "completely shocked by Justin filing for divorce. The couple has always been incredible, with no signs of things being on the rocks. Friends are speculating this was an impulse on Justin's side due to something that happened, and are hopeful the couple can work things out."
Up until this point, details of the split have remained speculative. Selling Sunset offers a lot of insight, all from Chrishell's point of view, of course. Justin never appears on the show.
"I obviously really truly love him and it's unfortunate the way that everything happened and the timing of everything, because I still had a month to go of shooting the show when this all went down," Chrishell told ET. "Hopefully we can get to a place where one day we will look back at this and laugh, I don't know… hopefully. It's very unfortunate and relationships are hard."
Pretty much every episode of season 3 features a reference to Justin, starting in the premiere when Chrishell gushes over purchasing her and Justin’s "dream house" and getting the chance to make it a home. But, the seeds of something to come are also planted right away, as Chrishell gets an ominous palm reading from a fortune teller at Christine Quinn's birthday dinner.
"In your work, it's about passion," the psychic tells Chrishell. "You have to be excited, it has to be interesting or you get bored. In your personal life, you like freedom. So, like, your home is your comfort oasis."
Fast-forward to episode 3 and Chrishell and Mary Fitzgerald -- who tied the knot with her fiancé, Romain Bonnet, at the end of season 2 -- cheers to married life. Mary tells Chrishell that she and Justin seem like "the happiest, perfect couple" and "couple goals."
"I knew right away when I met Justin, he was gonna be my husband," Chrishell then recalls in a confessional. "Like, I knew so much so that I text my, one of my bridesmaids that I found him. Justin and I just lucked out."
"Justin and I aren't, like -- he's more patient than me, but I definitely would’ve thought I would be a mom at this point," Chrishell offers when the topic of kids comes up with Mary. "But I love him. He's my person, so things change."
In episodes 4 and 5, Chrishell throws together a charity event, which includes an auction featuring items including a signed This Is Us cast poster and a coffee date with Justin (Chrishell even proudly tells an attendee, "That's my husband!"). And then, the bomb drops. The day after the event, Christine surprises her fellow Oppenheim Group agents when she announces she just got a Google alert that Justin had filed for divorce.
"She was totally fine," Heather Rae Young says. "We were just with her. … It makes me feel sick."
Episode 6 starts with Mary Fitzgerald meeting up with Chrishell at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, where she's temporarily moved to after being "blindsided" by the divorce filing.
"I'm just kinda in shock with it all," a teary Chrishell tells Mary. "I'm trying to, like, keep it together, but it’s a lot at once, 'cause everybody in the whole world knows, like, at the same time that I do. Have you ever been knocked over by a wave and you don’t know what way to swim to get up?"
"I don't think anyone gets married thinking that they'll ever get a divorce," she then says in a confessional. "I'm definitely a hopeless romantic, and I feel stupid even saying that out loud."
Mary then asks Chrishell what happened, noting -- like Heather did earlier -- that everything seemed fine at the charity event. Chrishell says everything was fine.
"I thought we were totally fine," she tells Mary. "I found out because he text me… that we were filed. Forty-five minutes later, the world knew."
"We had a fight that morning over the phone and I had never saw him since," she then reveals in a confessional. "We didn’t talk things through, and before we had a chance to figure things out, he filed."
"Because of the crazy way this went down, people want answers," she adds, in tears. "And… I f**king want answers."
"I know people were saying like, we were only married two years, but it's like, we were together for six years!" Chrishell goes on to tell Mary. "In a fight, like, that’s his go-to. 'I'm out! I'm out!' I hate that kind of impulsive stuff, but I always thought, that’s just an issue we’ll work through. … If that’s really what you wanted, there are better ways to go about [it]."
"I talked to him right after, 'cause I thought that must be a joke, but that was kinda the end of the communication," she says. "What am I supposed to say? What would, what do you say after that? It’s like now, I have to find a place to live. Now I have to scramble and figure this out, you know?"
Chrishell reveals that the text from Justin about the filing came in "minutes before" she was leaving the house for work, so she grabbed what she could and packed a small bag just to get out of the house quickly.
"I didn't… I don't think I really knew where I was going or what I was gonna do, but I just had to leave," she says. Mary asks if Chrishell and Justin have any communication now, or if they're just talking through lawyers.
"Like, that is so weird," Chrishell remarks. "Like, whose life am I living? I’ve never had an attorney in my life. I don't even know, it's just so strange."
"Sorry, this is so depressing," she then offers in apology to Mary. "It's hard, like, it takes a toll on your self-worth, where you just feel, like, the anger. Like, how could you do it this way? And the sadness, but like, I love him so much. This was my best friend. Who do I talk to know? It’s just such a roller coaster."
"When I think of marriage, I think of, you know, you work on things with people," Chrishell reflects in a testimonial. "They're not perfect. No one is. You work on it. You talk about it. You… ugh, I just… you don't throw out -- you don't go out looking for greener grass. Sometimes you have to water the grass that you have. That’s what marriage is. Sometimes it can be hard. I mean, I don't think it should be more hard than easy, at all, but that’s why I'm so confused, 'cause I didn’t feel like that balance was off. I just feel stupid."
Episode 6 then briefly pivots to the other women and how they're handling the news of Chrishell’s divorce, most notably Christine, Maya Vander and Davina Potratz, who all seem to be on the same page: While they support Chrishell, they don't believe she was "blindsided" by the news and agree that there must be more to the story. It's a thought process that will become a point of contention later on in the season.
Meanwhile, Chrishell has found herself a new house (she's left the Valley for the Hollywood Hills!), but her move is made difficult by paparazzi, who followed her from her and Justin's home to her new place.
"I just got my stuff and got out of there as fast as I could. I'm literally just barely getting everything together, so..." Chrishell tells Amanza Smith, who comes over to help her get settled, giant wine glass in hand. Amanza, who went through a divorce herself seven years ago, says moving day is the hardest day in a split.
"Just going through the photos and our stuff of, like, all the things that we had, that he promised. I want to hide under a rock until this all goes away," Chrishell admits. "I hadn't thought about a plan B. I'm madly in love with him. That's the part that sucks. I'm like, what?!"
Amanza, a mom of two, then asks if Chrishell was able to say goodbye to her stepdaughter, Isabella.
"I love her so much and I had to write a letter to her, like..." she starts to say before breaking into tears. "Sorry. I don’t want to be crying."
An alert on Chrishell’s phone then interrupts her heart-to-heart with Amanza: It's the app for the smart doorbell at what is now just Justin's house.
"I have to take this off my phone," Chrishell realizes. "When someone rings, it comes to my phone. Like, I’m still getting packages to the house. That's how fast this all -- I’m literally still getting stuff I ordered before I knew anything coming in. It makes me so mad, because this all could've been avoided if we could have done this privately. My mind is blown that he would think this is the way to conduct himself."
"At the end of the day, there can't be one person fighting for a relationship," she continues. "You have to have two people. And I think a lot has changed in the six years that we were together, and then the two years we were married."
"I mean, I didn't know him before. His life is, just went, like, sky high. I don't know what that does to somebody's head or..." Amanza offers, referencing Justin's rise from soap opera hunk to A-lister on primetime TV.
"But like, I don't care about that stuff," Chrishell says. "I met him before all of that!"
"Yeah, to you he's the same person, but maybe to him it was… a lot, fast and maybe he couldn't…” Amanza starts, before Chrishell cuts her off.
"I can't talk about it, I'm sorry. It's so hard. It's just annoying, 'cause then you get rid of the people…" she says, a sentence Amanza finishes with, "That have been there for you and have helped you climb."
"'Cause one day, that's gonna go away," Chrishell notes.
"It just sucks because I feel like outer elements have reared their ugly head and inserted themselves into our relationship that, you know, these aren't normal things," Chrishell opines in a confessional. "It's not normal to meet somebody and then they become wildly famous, or they become wildly rich. All these things, it's like, I don’t, at the end of the day, think that those things matter. And I can understand, God forbid, your feelings obviously changed for me at some point, but I just feel like that’s how you would treat the garbage that you would throw out."
"I know it is lame and cliché to say 'everything happens for a reason,' but it does make me think of, like, things that I’ve bended on for him," she then says to Amanza. "I had a plan, but then I met him. And I loved him so much that I changed my plan for him. So, it just makes me think then, maybe there is a bigger plan for me."
At the end of the episode, Chrishell visits the Oppenheim Group offices to let Jason Oppenheim know she needs a little time to process everything, which he encourages her to take. She announces that she'll be visiting family to "just figure this out," admitting she's "been a little overwhelmed" by all the attention.
"My phone, it's like everyone found out at the same time," she reiterates. "So, I kinda shut my phone away and I just feel like everybody is watching."
"I feel like I'm not OK, but I will be OK," she proclaims, as the rest of the agents gather around her to offer their condolences, a few asking if she's eating, as she looks visibly thinner. Christine guesses Chrishell's dropped at least 15 pounds in just a few days.
"It's just a lot of stress," Chrishell says before making her exit. "I should get out of here, because I just don’t know how stable I am seeing everybody."
Episode 7 picks up with Chrishell landing in St. Louis, where her older sister Shonda lives with her family.
"It's just a real relief to be with Shonda, because you know, she's my big sister after all, and at this point in time, I need someone to take care of me for a second, you know?" she admits in a confessional. "Just kinda regroup and, this is exactly where I know I need to be."
Chrishell downloads Shonda on her trip from California to Missouri, revealing she was recognized a few times at the airports and on the plane, but luckily no one bugged her about the split. As they drive away to Shonda's house, Shonda says the family is "in shock" over the divorce news.
"I'm so mad," Chrishell tells her sister. "I say that and then I wanna cry so, like, I don't even know what I'm feeling. … I just can't believe everyone's finding out when I'm finding out. I had literally no time. People that were in our wedding found out from TMZ. That's so disrespectful. You couldn't have given me a heads up? You couldn't have… I just, I'll never, ever be able to comprehend how this is how someone would choose to handle something like this in the public eye. Like, you go to therapy and you talk about it, or you talk about it with family members and you have a plan in place. This is not -- you don't just make a decision and then text someone. I can't even believe these words are coming out of my mouth! I'm still in shock. That doesn't even sound like real life, what I just said. It’s insanity."
"That's the respect you owe that person, that you've spent so much time with,” she adds, referencing therapy and a plan again. "I mean, we were together for six years! And then you just… I... I don’t know. I need to, like, exhale."
Chrishell gets that chance to exhale during a day of pampering courtesy of her sister, who is a licensed esthetician and owns a spa, where she reveals even more about the circumstances of her split.
"It's hard not to feel worthless in this moment," Chrishell says. "It's hard not to feel like everyone’s laughing at you."
Shonda then asks Chrishell if there was any sign that the divorce was coming, to which Chrishell says, "A sign? I don't really know that there's a sign that someone is going to file for divorce with no face-to-face conversation."
"When I got home that night, everything was fine," she shares. "But we got into an argument. When I look back on it, part of me thinks he had made a decision and… I wasn't given a say in this. Just part of me can't wrap my brain around the fact that he would make such a hasty decision without sitting me down and talking to me, but then the other part of me uses that to realize, like, he had made a decision. He didn't want to be talked out of it. It has to be two people that want to be married. Like, you can't just have one person, and I just feel like it was just me fighting for something that was a lost cause, because he didn't even care enough to sit me down and tell me. I get it. Like, that’s a lot to change in your life, all that money and fame, but that shouldn’t change how you treat people."
"I would've done anything for him," she professes. "You work so hard to, like, make choices to prop someone up and support their life and what they want, and now all of a sudden I’m like, wait a minute. What do I want?"
Chrishell says, when she looks at what's happened to her life, it doesn't feel like her life. She calls it "so surreal."
"It feels like this is something that happens to other people," she says. "This isn't something that actually happens to you, and so I just kinda feel like I'm putting one foot in front of another and trying to move to the right place, which is at this point, you know, my family and hopefully I’ll wake up from this nightmare."
Chrishell does get to a place where she can laugh through the pain, though, joking with her sister's family about how life could be worse. She could still be selling knives door to door, her job before she landed in Hollywood.
"Sometimes in L.A., we get too caught up in things that are supposed to matter that really don’t, and being here, you know, this is exactly what I think really does matter and really is something to be so proud of," she says of spending time with her sister, her sister’s husband and their three kids. "They've been married so long and they have this beautiful family. I just think it's really hard to be around, because that’s what I really wanted and that's what I'm realizing I don't have. But it helps me be inspired to know that it might be out there, it just might take a different path than what I was thinking."
Chrishell's time in St. Louis comes to a quick end, though, and she heads back to L.A. at the end of episode 7, admitting she has "a lot of anxiety" about returning home and her future.
"This is not something that I ever wanted for myself, but I have been through a lot in my life, so I know that I have the strength inside of me," she says. "I know I will get through this."
That takes viewers to episode 8, the season finale focused around Christine's wedding, with a dress code of white for the guests.
"I could wear my wedding dress!" Chrishell jokes. "For Halloween I could be, like, a dead bride and then put blood and then burn it after."
Chrishell wavers on whether she’ll actually attend Christine’s big day, admitting that it will be tough to celebrate a marriage when hers has just unexpectedly crumbled.
"I'm just doing as best I can to compartmentalize," she explains as she returns to work. "Like, today, you can't cry today. Today is business, stay focused. Be productive. But if I'm watching two people say their vows and I'm thinking about... it's almost impossible not to think about."
Ultimately, Chrishell puts on a brave face and shows up for her co-worker.
"I wanted to be here for my friends, and you know, even though Christine and I have had our ups and downs, this is a huge day for her," she says. "You only, well… I was gonna say you only get married once. F**k, that’s depressing."
What was meant to be Christine's wedding episode quickly becomes about Chrishell, with cameras trained on the Emmy-nominated soap star throughout the whole ceremony. At one point, she tosses her hair over her face so that cameras can't capture her seemingly crying. After the "I dos," the Oppenheim agents gather at a seating area outside at Christine's reception. It's the first time the group has had a chance to really talk to Chrishell since the news broke.
When one of the Oppenheim brothers mentions that it's the most beautiful wedding he's ever been to, he also notes he didn't attend Chrishell's, to which she says, "It's pointless if you had gone to it." The whole group commends Chrishell for being so strong, but things quickly take a turn when Mary brings up an interview Heather did with a magazine where she commented on Chrishell's divorce. Heather tries to explain that the interview wasn't about Chrishell’s divorce, just one question that then got turned into a headline.
"It is a vulnerable situation to be in," Chrishell tells Heather. "They are asking anyone that has ever known me ever for any kind of comment, and I’ll see these comments aren't true, and it's hard, because I'm also being told, legally, don't say anything."
"In this moment, there are so many things that I want to say, but none of them are going to be good right now," she adds in a confessional. "So I'm just trying to keep my mouth shut. Because I was married to someone who's a public figure, I have to be extremely careful what I say, legally, and this is certainly not a safe environment. And also, this is someone’s wedding. The last thing I wanna do is cause a scene at someone's wedding."
Well, a scene happens, because as the discussion around Chrishell's divorce continues, Davina defends her position that none of them really know what's going on and that Justin has his own side of the story. Because of that, Davina says, they can't blindly support Chrishell, a statement Mary calls "f**ked up" and disrespectful. Davina begins to push Chrishell on the details of her divorce, telling her co-worker she doesn't believe she didn't know that a divorce was coming. Davina pokes and pokes and pokes until Chrishell gets up and ultimately storms out of the wedding. She rips off her mic pack and heads home, where the season ends.
"Getting confronted by my co-workers is frustrating, but you know what? Maybe Davina is right," Chrishell says in her final confessional of the season. "There are two sides to every story and maybe it's time I start writing a new one."
Season 3 finished filming last December, but Chrishell and Justin's divorce is yet to be finalized in court. For details on what really happened during Davina and Chrishell's finale confrontation, insight into Chrishell and Justin's mysterious final fight and more answers to burning questions from season 3, click here.