Inside Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks's Breakup

11/11/2009 at 05:20 PM EST

Inside Julianne Hough and Chuck Wicks's Breakup
Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough
Kristin Barlowe; Kristin Callahan/Everett
Julianne Hough fans who saw her perform at the 22nd annual Pineapple Festival in Jensen Beach, Fla., on Nov. 7 likely had no inkling she and boyfriend Chuck Wicks were on the verge of a split: When Hough came down with the flu, it was Wicks who took her place.

"I talked to her this morning and she sounded like she was on her death bed," he said at the time, according to TCPalm.com. "She tried to hang in there as long as she could."

Added Wicks, 30, who had been planning to visit the Florida Keys with Hough, 21, after the festival, "I'm about the closest person you can get to Julianne. I probably know all of her jokes and can sing all of her songs."

Friends and Careers

So what happened? "They needed some time apart," a source tells PEOPLE. Another source says Hough's busy career – not only as a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars, but also as a singer – played a factor in the split.



Recently, Hough had been spending time in Los Angeles, where she partied with her brother Derek, fellow Dancing pros and girlfriends. "Julianne looked so happy to be out with her friends," says a source who saw her at Voyeur Oct. 29.

Wicks, too, is working hard on his career and just started recording a new album. On Monday, he tweeted, "About to walk in the studio to sing on the first song for my second record!!!!" Later that same day, he wrote. "Just left studio!! Feels so good to start on "New Music"!!!! Can't wait to get it out to you guys!!!!!!"

The pair, however, did celebrate Halloween as a couple. "Jules and I are getting ready for Halloween!!!" he tweeted last month. "Meeting up with her bro at Heidi Klums' party tonight!! So much fun! I'm rocking a Go-T…lol"

Mother's Approval

Spending holidays together seemed to come naturally for the pair, who had been dating for about a year.

"Last Christmas, Jules and I stayed home, here in Nashville," Wicks told PEOPLE last month. "We just relaxed because we had been so busy. Anytime we get to come home, and just chill out with family and friends, watch a movie and go to dinner, it's great."

Even his mother approved of her: "She is adorable," she told PEOPLE. "She's a sweet girl. What you see is who she is. We love her."

As for their next move, both Wicks and Hough are expected to be at Wednesday's Country Music Association awards in Nashville, where she is a presenter and he will be working the red carpet for Entertainment Tonight.

With reporting by JENNIFER GARCIA, MONICA RIZZO and KAY WEST

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