“I remember leaving with my purse and my duffle bag, and I was out of there,” Gina, says in the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday. “I haven’t spoken to Pat in four years.” The couple, who were high school sweethearts rose to fame on the Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys—split in 2014 after over 20 years together.
Even though the couple seemed like the perfect pair in front of the camera, Gina revealed that the couple was growing apart over the 7 years their show was on air.
“It didn’t feel like a marriage anymore,” Gina says. “I wasn’t sexually attracted to him. He became my business partner, whereas I needed a husband.”
“There was no balance, no boundaries,” she continues. “We should have been allowed space so we could have a stronger feeling of love for that [other] person. But when you’re with a person all the time and then that person tells you, ‘I feel like we don’t spend enough time together,’ what do you do then? I remember specifically saying to him, ‘What more do you want from me? I don’t know what else I can do? I give you all my time, everything.’ I was done.”
Even though Gina received backlash from fans for divorcing Pat, they eventually came around and started to see her as a symbol of strength.
“People thought I was wrong,” Gina recalls. “We had become this symbol of love, and it was like I had destroyed that. They were mad!”
“Women sort of embraced it,” she says. “Like, ‘Wow, that took a lot of courage.’ I was no longer the villain or even a victim, I was a survivor.”
Check out Gina Neely on To Rome For Love on Bravo TV.