They were the cutest couple in reality TV, and their romance lasted much longer than most Bachelor or Bachelorette pairings. But after meeting in 2009 and winning the third season of The X Factor USA in 2013, Alex & Sierra are sadly going their separate ways — both personally and professionally.
On Friday, the indie-pop duo of Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton announced via Twitter that their romantic relationship in fact ended more than a year ago. Though they continued to work together musically — releasing As Seen on TV (an EP reprising some of their most popular X Factor covers) in September 2016, and wrapping a tour in March 2017 — they explained, “We’ve been best friends forever and really tried to keep A&S going. However, we’ve arrived at a point where it feels better to branch out rather than continue making music together.”
During their tenure on The X Factor, judge Demi Lovato expressed concern about Alex & Sierra’s professional future if they ever were to split up. At that time, the couple assured her that they planned to stay together forever, but this week they tweeted, “Unfortunately, things change a lot in eight years,” “No band lasts forever,” and “This last album and tour were hard on our hearts.”
Ironically, while competing on The X Factor, Alex & Sierra had their biggest iTunes success with a cover of A Great Big World’s “Say Something,” a devastating heartbreak ballad. That weepy performance, as well as their interpretations of other breakup songs like Sara Bareilles’s “Gravity,” Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” and Gladys Knight/Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” actually had worried fans speculating that the two were dealing with on-the-set relationship problems. However, backstage after winning the show, Alex & Sierra assured Yahoo that their X Factor experience had only made them closer.
“It 100 percent strengthened our relationship. It didn’t change it. It’s not like we were ever going to break up,” said Deaton. “We were best friends first, and we’ve been dating for two years, so we already knew how to get through life and hard times together. We’ve just stayed best friends and made sure to remind each other that we’re here to have fun and this is an amazing experience, and we’re so grateful to be here. So it was easy to not get into stuff with each other and get angry with each other.” Kinsey added, “We just made sure we were taking care of each other, that we were both vocal about things and didn’t keep things from each other.”
Along with As Seen on TV, Alex & Sierra released one full-length album, It’s About Us, in 2014. Check out an interview and performance from those happier days below.