Rachel Bilson & Adam Brody Split

12/05/2006 at 07:00 PM EST

Rachel Bilson & Adam Brody Split
Bilson and Brody
Mike Guastella/WireImage
Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody – who play a couple on The O.C. – have broken up off-screen, PEOPLE has confirmed.

"It was a typical romance and they just grew apart," a source close to the pair tells PEOPLE, adding, "They’ve been on and off for awhile now."

In October, the couple of three years denied breakup rumors. That month, they were spotted looking lovey-dovey strolling hand-in-hand in Toronto where Bilson was shooting the sci-fi drama Jumper. Yet that romantic scene wasn't an indication that they were still together, says the source: "Exes do hang out."

But during Brody's gig with his band Big Japan at Hollywood's Viper Room on Dec. 2, Bilson – normally a fixture at his performances – was noticeably absent, fueling rumors that their romance was over.

In April, Bilson, 25, gushed about her beau, telling Teen People that Brody, 27, is her best friend. "We always have a lot to talk about, and we tell each other everything. I feel like I have everything now – the dog, the house, the job and him. I can't ask for anything more!" (Together the couple adopted a pit-bull terrier, Penny Lane.)

Early in their relationship, the low-profile couple, who started dating during the first season of The O.C. , denied rumors that they were engaged.

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