10/05/2006 at 08:00 AM EDT
Nicole Richie and Brody Jenner ended their relationship Wednesday. "Nicole and Brody are no longer dating but remain friends," Richie's rep confirms to PEOPLE. Richie and Jenner had been dating since August
, but have known each other since they were toddlers.
They began seeing each other just weeks after Jenner, 23, ended his year-and-a-half relationship with Laguna Beach
star Kristin Cavallari, and months after Richie, 25, broke up with Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein (she and AM had ended their engagement in December but later reconciled, then split
again in May).
In August, Jenner's mother, Linda Thompson, told PEOPLE, "They spend time together. I think they're very cute. Will they get married? Who knows. He's young, and so is she."
Added Richie's dad Lionel, "They grew up together. To see them together now is like, 'Where are you going with this?' But they're having a wonderful time."
And backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 31, Jenner told PEOPLE of his date, who'd presented an award, "I love Nicole. She's amazing. Amazing."
But after two months of hitting L.A.'s nightclubs and Malibu's eateries together, Richie and Jenner were each spotted out several times this past week without the other. They were last seen together on Thursday at the opening of the club AREA in West Hollywood. "They looked happy," said an onlooker. "They were kissing and cuddling."
A source close to Richie says that Jenner's interest in being in the spotlight was an issue. "Brody likes to go out a lot and doesn't mind being photographed," says the source, "but Nicole prefers to stay out of the press."
On Monday night, Jenner hit the L.A. hotspot Shag with The Hills
stars Lauren "L.C." Conrad and Heidi Montag. "They were taking pictures together and dancing," a patron observed. "They all looked very friendly."
On Wednesday, Richie posted the following message on her MySpace.com page: "I know there are rumors regarding my 'breakup' with Brody Jenner. The truth is, we were never really together. We hung out, and he's a nice guy, but my heart was never in it. Anything further is just a cry for publicity."
Richie is due to begin filming the fifth season of The Simple Life
later this month.