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Lauren Porter
Feb, 22, 2018

When Gina Neely left her husband Pat Neely in 2014, she did so with no intention of looking back. Nearly four years later, the Food Network star shared that she and Neely have not spoken a word to each other since that day. 

"I haven’t spoken to Pat in four years," Neely told PEOPLE. "I remember leaving with my purse and my duffel bag, and I was out of there."

The former high school sweethearts quickly rose to fame with their hit Food Network series, Down Home With The Neely's which happily showcased their love for food and each other while the cameras rolled.  

Now, the star reveals that was far from the truth. 

"I would cocoon myself [because] I never wanted to be a TV chef. I was a branch manager at a bank. I was going to divorce Pat prior to the show. And then all of a sudden the train jumped on the track and I had to hold on for my life."

The two were together for 20 years before Neely left. They shared two daughters; 29-year-old Spenser (Gina's oldest child from a previous relationship) and Shelbi, 23. With grown children, Neely expressed that their lines of communication aren't open for the sake of the kids, but she has the best of hopes for him. 

"I don’t wish him any harm, but he’s never reached out to me…I guess he’s well? Our girls are older so we’re not really co-parenting or anything."

"It didn’t feel like a marriage anymore. I wasn’t sexually attracted to him. He became my business partner, whereas I needed a husband," she continued. "There was no balance, no boundaries. 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."

Because she hasn't given up on finding love, Neely is opening her heart to the promise of a new relationship on the new Bravo series, To Rome For Love and she's ready to embrace whatever life has in store for her. 

"You only get one life and like it or not, I chose to grab hold of mine and live it…This other half? It’s going to be on my terms."