Fergie's Friends Told Her to "Take One for the Team" and Go Out With Josh Duhamel

They “hit it off straight away.”

Josh Duhamel, Fergie
Josh Duhamel, Fergie. Photo: Albert L. Ortega/Wireimage

Who: Daytime Emmy-winning actor Josh Duhamel, 49, and Grammy-winning singer and former Black Eyed Peas member Fergie, 46.

How They Met: In 2004, Duhamel was having a barbecue at his house with his Las Vegas co-star Molly Sims and her boyfriend at the time, Enrique Murciano. The actor went inside and found Murciano watching The Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama" video. Referring to Fergie, Murciano said, "This girl shakes it like she wants a career" and Duhamel agreed (?).

Duhamel told Anderson Live host Anderson Cooper that he had a crush on the singer from that point on — and he wasn't shy about it. He went on to tell InStyle, "My recurring dream involves the lead singer of The Black Eyed Peas. Oh, my god, I've got the biggest crush on her! God, she is hot!"

Driven by his crush, Duhamel spoke with Las Vegas producers and suggested they book The Black Eyed Peas for an episode of the show. Evidently the actor is very persuasive; the Peas appeared in an episode of the show's second season.

On set, Duhamel opted for, uh, flattery. When he finally met Fergie, he told her, "You're hot."

"The crush of a lifetime, and that was my line!" Duhamel lamented in an interview with Best Life.

Lucky for him, Fergie had heard about Duhamel's crush and told the actor, "Yeah, I read InStyle. So … how was I in your dream?"

"All my friends knew about him because he had been a soap opera star," Fergie explained in a 2007 interview with Playboy. "I'm not into soap operas, but they told me, 'You gotta go out with him. Do it for the group. Take one for the team.'"

Once they finally met, she said they "pretty much hit it off straight away."

Josh Duhamel, Fergie
Josh Duhamel, Fergie. George Pimentel/Getty Images

By the end of 2007, People reported that the couple was engaged. The actor proposed with a diamond ring engraved with "J heart S." "I feel like the happiest, luckiest girl in the world," Fergie told Glamour a few months later. "The ring is still too big."

Duhamel and Fergie tied the knot in January 2009 at a ceremony in Malibu.

Four years later, Fergie announced that she and her husband were expecting their first child together. They welcomed son Axl Jack in August 2013.

Why We Loved Them: Married life got off to a rocky start. Less than 10 months in, Atlanta stripper Nicole Forrester told The National Enquirer that she'd had an affair with Duhamel. Both Duhamel and Fergie vehemently denied the allegation, but the story persisted in the media.

But they didn't let the negative attention derail their relationship. They renewed their vows the following January and emerged stronger than ever.

"When you go through difficult times, it really makes you stronger as a unit," Fergie told Oprah Winfrey of how her and Duhamel's marriage thrived in the aftermath of the tabloid coverage. "Our love today is a deeper love."

Of course, this didn't happen overnight. Fergie admitted that she and her husband went to "a lot of therapy," but that the ordeal ultimately "became a positive for us."

Duhamel echoed his wife's sentiment. "I'm actually happy that all that happened because we wouldn't be as strong as we are now; we wouldn't be as happy as we are now," he told Oprah. "In a lot of ways it made me straighten my ass out."

When They Peaked: Duhamel and Fergie were always delightfully candid, but this gem from the latter's 2015 Allure cover story might be our favorite overshare from the couple.

Fergie revealed that Duhamel once walked in on her during a bikini wax, and his reaction was … unexpected. "I'm like, 'OK, honey, hi,'" she said. "And I'm on all fours … But he doesn't just leave; he gets curious!" Is this the dual toilets anecdote of 2015?

On a less TMI level, both parties had discussed a sweet pastime of theirs: singing to their dachshunds, Meatloaf and Zoe.

"We make up our own songs about our dogs," Fergie told E! News in 2011.

Duhamel (rightfully) praised Fergie's skill as a canine chanteuse.

"Fergie will sing ballads to the dogs and they'll sit there rapt," he told Redbook in 2011. "You know your wife's a star when she keeps the dogs entertained for 20 minutes."

The Breakup: In September 2017, after eight years of marriage, Duhamel and Fergie announced that they'd separated earlier that year.

"With absolute love and respect we decided to separate as a couple earlier this year," they shared in a joint statement. "To give our family the best opportunity to adjust, we wanted to keep this a private matter before sharing it with the public. We are and will always be united in our support of each other and our family."

Josh Duhamel, Fergie
Josh Duhamel, Fergie. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Relativity Media

Of course, the announcement coincided with Fergie's press tour for her long-awaited sophomore solo album, Double Dutchess, so avoiding breakup q's was pretty much off the table.

Later that month, Fergie told Entertainment Tonight that she and Duhamel were still "great friends" and that the only thing that had changed between them was their romantic status.

"There's so much love we have for each other," she said. "We really like each other; we have fun with each other; we're just not a romantic couple anymore."

During a visit to The Wendy Williams Show that October, Fergie tearfully explained that the separation "wasn't my plan" and that she "wanted to stay married forever."

Their commitment to co-parenting never faltered, and the exes even joined forces for Axl's superhero-themed fifth birthday party the following year.

Duhamel remained Fergie's biggest fan, too. The actor visited the Ellen DeGeneres Show soon after his ex-wife's maligned national anthem performance and stood up for the singer. "The girl is crazy talented," he said. "She's an amazing woman. It's hard to see someone you care about get beat up like that." Still, he assured DeGeneres that she would bounce back from the vitriol. "She is about as resilient as they come."

When Duhamel released his directorial debut, Buddy Games, fans noticed that the actor's ex received a special thanks credit.

"She was the one who said, 'You know what? You can direct this. You can do this,'" Duhamel told Today.

"When we were doing the final credits, I go, 'You know what? I gotta give Ferg a little shoutout' because she was somebody who told me to go do it," he went on. "Because honestly, I wasn't sure if I could."

Where They Are Now:

Duhamel got engaged to Audra Mari in early 2022, and Fergie even shared her enthusiastic "Congrats!!!" on the actor's Instagram post.

The actor is currently starring in NBC's The Thing About Pam and will appear in Jennifer Lopez rom-com Shotgun Wedding this summer.

Fergie's current relationship status is unknown. Any plans for a Triple Dutchess are also undisclosed, and the singer seems to be focusing on family at the moment, which includes her involvement with Ferguson Crest — the winery she founded with her late father, Pat Ferguson.

#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.

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