While Kristin Cavallari gave fans a peek at her marital ups and downs with now-estranged husband Jay Cutler on her reality show Very Cavallari, sources revealed that things between the pair were much more contentious behind the scenes.
“He would make her cry all the time during production. He talked down to her and belittled her,” a Cavallari friend told PEOPLE of Cutler’s behavior towards The Hills alum. “She couldn’t take it anymore.”
Another source close to her said the couple has been “struggling” for “at least three years,” and that Cavallari has been unhappy for some time.
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“He belittles Kristin and makes her cry in front of other people,” the source said. “He flies off the handle at the littlest thing and would make Kristin absolutely miserable.”
On season 2 of Very Cavallari, the reality series featured an argument between the Cavallari and Cutler at the dinner table with friends. Cutler, who seemingly appeared inebriated, told guests how Cavallari was not the breadwinner, but “the breadspender,” wasting their money, before leaving the table. During a confessional interview, Cavallari commented on how “embarrassing” the moment was. Later on, the pair reflected on how they’d “switched roles”: When Cutler supported the family financially with his football career, she was a stay-at-home mom. However, when he retired in 2017, Cavallari focused on growing her clothing and jewelry business – and didn’t feel supported by him at home. In the third season of the show – following rumors Cutler had cheated on Cavallari with her then-friend Kelly Henderson, which everyone denied – she admitted they still had some “issues.”
“Jay has been great, yes. From the outside, things are so perfect and things are so great. But actually, they’re not. And that sucks,” Cavallari said on camera at the time. “That’s the thing, though, with marriage … it’s ups and downs. But in two months we could be up here again … that’s how we’ve always been, our whole relationship. It is what it is.”
Sources told PEOPLE the couple held off on officially separating because of their three children: sons Camden and Jaxon, and daughter Saylor.
But now, Cavallari is focused on moving forward with her life. “She just wants to be happy and to be a good mom,” the source said. “They tried to make it work for the kids, but Kristin realized Jay is not going to change.”
Cavallari and Cutler announced their decision to separate on Sunday, April 26, via Instagram. “With great sadness, after 10 years together we have come to a loving conclusion to get a divorce,” read their joint statement. “We have nothing but love and respect for one another and are deeply grateful for the years shared, memories made, and the children we are so proud of. This is just the situation of two people growing apart. We ask everyone to respect our privacy as we navigate this difficult time within our family.”
One day after the separation announcement, the court documents painted a different picture.
In the documents, Cavallari cited both “irreconcilable differences” and “inappropriate marital conduct” as grounds for their separation. The reality star also claimed in her filing that “further cohabitation” with her estranged husband would be “unsafe and improper.”
The pair also had a different official date of separation listed. While Cavallari listed their separation date as April 7, Cutler listed their date as April 21.
In Cutler’s petition, which he filed first, he claimed he “has always been the available at home parent and primary caretaker” of their children.
Cavallari, who is seeking primary custody of their children, responded back to his claim, claiming she “has been the primary residential parent.”
In a new court document, Cavallari claimed Cutler is refusing to move out of their current home and release funds for her to purchase a new house. According to the legal filing, she also claimed when she began to look for a new home last fall during a rough patch in their marriage, she changed her mind and “decided not to purchase the house” after they “attempted to salvage the marriage.”
However, Cutler “informed her that his attorney was going to stop her from purchasing the house she wanted” after she “refused to accept” a settlement that was “unfavorable to her,” she claims in the filing.
“Wife does not believe that it is in the best interest of either party or their minor children to reside in the same house … Wife fears that if the parties are required to remain in the same residence, it would be an unhealthy environment, causing irreparable harm to their minor children,” according to the filing. “Husband makes inappropriate statement to and about Wife and attempts to draw her into an argument in front of their minor children. Now that Husband has announced he will not leave so Wife can exercise parenting time with the children, Wife fears the situation will escalate.”