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The ways in which the pandemic and self-quarantining have changed the U.S., and the world at large, are too numerous for quick estimations, with hard (and sometimes strange) tolls taken across both professional and personal fronts. Romantic relationships of all kinds have been tested particularly hard, with many getting strained beyond their breaking points. Such as it went for regular Today Show contributor Jill Martin, who has ended her engagement with now-former fiancé Erik Brooks.
Jill Martin made the big reveal in part by not having her engagement ring on, which prompted speculation across social media concerning the current nature of her relationship with Erik Brooks. According to Page Six, the Today fave confirmed that she and Brooks were no longer together, with their issues stemming from being quarantined, first together and then apart.
Here's how Jill Martin put it:
This pandemic has taken a toll on so many aspects of life — it’s such a difficult time for everyone. Erik is the most magnificent person, but with him living in Boston with his children and me living in New York, the distance just became too difficult for us to maintain the kind of relationship that's important to us both. He is an amazing man, and I wish him nothing but the best.
The former couple reportedly hadn't been dealing with long-distance problems for the entirety of the pandemic. Initially, Jill Martin and Erik Brooks were together at her home in the Hamptons, but Brooks took leave to Boston in order to spend time with his three children. It would appear that being kept apart during that time snapped the loving bond they'd previously shared.
A Today show segment from late March essentially set the path in place for their break-up. Jill Martin and Erik Brooks appeared together on Today specifically to talk about the pressure that some couples get put under whenever they're required to spend unending spans of time together. They were alone together for three weeks, and she specifically brought up that there were "major blow-ups," and that it was pretty rough.
Martin and Brooks met on a dating app, and after they'd been dating for two years, they got engaged in May 2019. Brooks popped the question inside a tent on a beach in the Hamptons, having told Martin a fib about attending a friend's summer kick-off party.
A few months prior to that, Jill Martin shared some now-ominous words about her relationship with Erik Brooks, saying this to Today:
Erik is kind, honest, funny and puts family first: He has three beautiful children whom I adore. It took dating someone like him to make me see that I had been dating the wrong men and was looking for the wrong thing. I had this unrealistic expectation of ‘perfection’ when in reality, life is a little messy and we all come with our own set of baggage.
Here's hoping any and all of that baggage can be left at the door, and that things can remain amicable between Jill Martin and Erik Brooks moving forward. Unfortunately, their break-up comes after news about Mary-Kate Olsen's impending divorce, after Kristin Cavallari's increasingly messy split from Jay Cutler, and after Megan Fox's apparently break-up with Brian Austin Green. Although elsewhere, Bruce Willis and his longtime ex-wife Demi Moore have been happily quarantining together, so nothing is assured, I guess.
As the host of Today's "Deals and Steals" segment, Jill Martin can regularly be seen on the NBC staple, which airs weekday mornings at 8:00 p.m. ET.