Vicki Gunvalson
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" star Vicki Gunvalson, photographed at the 2015 NBC Universal Cable Upfronts held on May 14, 2015, in New York City, has decided to end her relationship with Brooks Ayers after four years. Getty Images

Vicki Gunvalson and Brooks Ayers have officially broken up. The pair, both of whom appear on “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” had been together for about four years despite the endless controversy surrounding their relationship. Although Vicki, 53, insisted she was happier than ever while dating Brooks, many close friends and family members disapproved of the relationship. It is unclear whether that played a role in their breakup.

According to Us Weekly, Vicki and Brooks announced their split on Sunday. The former couple released a joint statement to the publication. In it they claimed they still loved each other very much, but their lives had simply led them down “separate paths.” Vicki went on to say that their split will not play out on Season 10 of “RHOC,” which is currently airing new episodes weekly. Neither Vicki nor Brooks plan to discuss their split beyond their initial statement.

Read their full joint statement below:

After much prayer, thought, counseling, and consideration, we have decided to end our four year relationship. We both wish nothing but a great future for each other. We have come to realize that one can indeed love someone in their heart, but that the time may come for their lives to take separate paths. Though the remaining episodes of Season 10 of ‘The Real Housewives of Orange County’ will show us as a couple, the filming took place in January 2015 through May 2015. There will be no further statements or interviews regarding our relationship as we choose to move on with our lives. Though we choose to live our lives in the public eye, we thank you for your understanding and ask privacy during this difficult time.

Vicki and Brooks had been together since 2011. A majority of their relationship – and their ups and downs – played out in front of Bravo’s cameras on “RHOC.” As the Huffington Post reported, the couple hit a major bump in Season 9 when Brooks reportedly made an off-color comment to Ryan Culberson, Vicki’s son-in-law. According to Vicki's daughter, Briana Culberson, who has always had issues with Brooks, he suggested her husband start hitting her in order to “get her to fall in line.” Brooks apologized, claiming he was “drunk and angry” at the time, but he and Briana were never able to find common ground afterward.

As we previously reported, Vicki’s relationship with Brooks plays a major role in her “RHOC” Season 10 storyline. At the start of the season it was revealed that the couple had decided to take their relationship to the next level and move in together. Viewers also learned that Brooks had been diagnosed with stage three cancer – well, maybe. Despite his claims that he was undergoing chemotherapy pretty regularly, many members of the group staunchly believe he is lying about his diagnosis. In upcoming episodes, this will create a rift between Vicki and some of the women, including close friend Shannon Beador, as viewers will see in Season 10, episode 11.

"RHOC" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EDT on Bravo. Check out a clip from the upcoming episode below: