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Pete Wentz’s whole world turned upside down when his marriage to Ashlee Simpson came to an end in 2011.
“My life was just like … a bomb had gone off in it,” the Fall Out Boy bassist told Nylon while reflecting on his divorce from the “Pieces of Me” singer in an interview published Monday.
Wentz’s relationship with Simpson began to crumble in 2010 while the pair were raising their son, Bronx, now 14, who was just a toddler at the time.
The guitarist, 43, explained to the magazine that he was also traveling all the time with his band and dealing with the pressure that came with rising fame.
Wentz expressed that he was stunted in some ways and could barely navigate through an airport without one of his handlers nearby.
But his breakup from Simpson, now 38, forced the rock star to grow up and served as a reality check.
“You’ve atrophied all of these life skills,” he explained. “I was like, ‘Oh. You have to figure out how to be happy as an adult.’”
From there, Wentz went on a self-reflection journey. He hit a rocky patch during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown when he admittedly was in the worst shape of his life. But as the world began to open back up, Wentz embraced life again.
“’Why don’t you just do the s–t you want to do?’” he recalled asking himself. “’Life is so short, and it’s so long, that maybe you should try crazy s–t because it will break you out of the feeling of nihilism.’”
The musician said he started explored new adventures and challenges in addition to picking up sports like tennis and golf. He also tried ketamine therapy, baked and did pottery, read 52 books in 52 weeks and at one point showed up at a local comedy club’s open-mic night to try stand-up.
“There is no aspect of me that is a comedian,” he admitted. “Five minutes felt like eternity. The whole time I felt like I was going to barf … and I don’t know if I was successful, but it was one of those things where I was just happy to get out unscathed.”
Wentz previously shared that he had struggled with depression ahead Simpson filing for divorce.
“At 31, we’d had all these great years as a band, and then we took time off, and I basically became Mr. Mom. I had the beard, the flannel shirt. I didn’t know what my identity was,” he told Howard Stern in a 2015 interview. “That factored in. When your identity is what you do, it’s hard when you stop doing it.”
Wentz continued, “It was the first time where I was like, ‘Well, no one’s really taking my picture. I’m just basically hanging out with my kid all day. Who cares?’ I think when you stop caring about your personal appearance, your personal hygiene, it makes you even more depressed, but it makes you do it more. It’s like a vicious cycle.”
At the time, the Grammy nominee felt like the “Ashlee Simpson Show” alum had abandoned him, but looking back, he understood he played a part in their relationship’s demise.
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“I would be an idiot to think that I didn’t contribute to the unraveling of it,” he acknowledged. “Of course, at first, I’m like, ‘This sucks! You bailed on me!’ But you get perspective. We have a kid together.”
Wentz and Simpson tied the knot in 2008, the same year they welcomed Bronx, whom they continue to co-parent.
After finalizing their divorce, Wentz moved on with Meagan Camper. He and his longtime girlfriend, 33, share two children together: son Saint, 8, and daughter Marvel, 4.
The “La La” singer, for her part, wed Evan Ross, the son of Diana Ross, in 2014. She and Evan, 34, have two kids together: daughter Jagger, 7, and son Ziggy, 2.
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