Kristin Cavallari Speaks Out on Divorce From Jay Cutler

Kristin Cavallari has opened up a bit more about what happened that lead to her divorce from Jay Cutler:

Now, Cavallari tells PEOPLE exclusively that she and Cutler, 37, had been struggling privately for years — and they made a conscious effort to keep their marriage woes hidden.

"I always thought it was interesting when people would refer to us as 'couple goals,'" says the Uncommon James founder, 33, who is releasing a new cookbook, True Comfort, on Sept. 29. "I was like, 'If you guys only knew.'"

As their marriage hit a crisis point during filming last season, "we definitely kept a lot of stuff private," she adds. "Producers saw stuff, but they didn't put it in the show — which is good, because I don't want my kids to ever [see that]."

While their split announcement seemingly came out of the blue, "it didn't happen overnight," Cavallari says of their breakup. "We tried really, really hard for years and years. It was the hardest decision I've ever made."

In the weeks following their divorce announcement, the exes engaged in a fraught few weeks of legal back-and-forth. But now Cavallari says she and Cutler — who share sons Camden, 8, and Jaxon, 6, and daughter Saylor, 4 — have settled into a solid co-parenting routine.

"I still care so much about him and talk to him almost every day," she says. "We have three kids together. He's going to be in my life forever."

That must have been hard to put on a front when all of this was going on. See more what Kristin said below!

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