What’s really going on with Julianne Hough and Ben Barnes?

Dancer-turned-actress Julianne Hough Hough got the rumor mill buzzing in mid-April 2020 when she was spotted taking a walk with Westworld actor Ben Barnes. People reported that the pair was seen taking a casual stroll in Los Angeles — a quick outing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Interestingly, as of this writing, Hough is self-isolating away from her husband, former professional hockey player Brooks Laich. A source told People, “They are still together, but just not quarantined in the same place. Their relationship has always been like this, though — they like to do their own thing,” the source said. Hough set up camp in Los Angeles, while Laich decided to self-quarantine in Idaho. The former hockey player is “living the simple life in nature, which makes him happy,” the source told People.

According to People, the former Dancing With the Stars dancer and Barnes have been friends for quite some time, even being photographed together in 2016 at HBO’s Emmys Party. The walk around L.A. seemed casual enough with both Hough and Barnes dressed down in sunglasses, sweats, and sneakers (though Hough carried hers and showed off dog-patterned socks, per Entertainment Tonight.) There’s no word on whether or not Laich knew about the walk — before seeing pictures splattered across the Internet, that is. 

Outside of taking walks with friends, Hough revealed her thoughts on isolation to Extra in March 2020. “In life, we are so constantly hustling and bustling,” she said. “This is a really beautiful time to go inward and connect with yourself and your body.”

Inside Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich's shaky marriage

Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich tied the knot in 2017 in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. That being said, according to People, the honeymoon phase has come to an end. In early 2020, several sources told the magazine the pair seemed to be in the midst of a rough patch. “They’ve been having problems for months,” one source told People. “She’s very independent and a free spirit, and that’s been tough for Brooks and their marriage.”

Hough made headlines in August 2019 when she admitted in a magazine interview with Women’s Health that she didn’t identify as straight. And in February 2020 on an episode of his iHeartRadio podcast, How Men Think, Laich opened up about his sexuality as well. “A big part of my journey in 2020 is exploring my sexuality,” he said. “And by that I don’t mean if I’m gay or straight. I mean, in my sexual relationship, what is my sexuality and what am I craving, and what are my desires and what are my wife’s?”

As recently as late March 2020, the couple appeared to be doing well, spending time together and posting Instagram photos of each other. A source told People, the couple was doing much better. “They are spending more time together and seem happy,” the source said. “They actually seem to have figured out how they can stay married. Both have had to make changes, Brooks especially so.”

All that to say, it seems like Hough’s outing with Barnes was just two friends enjoying each other’s company. 

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