'Mean Girls' Star Daniel Franzese Calls off His Engagement

Mean Girls actor Daniel Franzese and his fiancé, Joseph Bradley Phillips, have ended their engagement. Franzese, who played Damian in the iconic comedy, announced the news Tuesday.

daniel-franzese-joseph-bradley-phillips_getty-Chelsea Guglielmino : Staff
(Photo: Chelsea Guglielmino / Staff, Getty)

"Sometimes shooting stars shine so brightly that they burn out and now we must go separate ways but I hope my path always crosses with his," the actor told PEOPLE, who broke the news. "Joseph Bradley Phillips and I have decided to part ways, break our engagement promise and continue on into the future as friends."

He hinted that their relationship forced them to stop paying attention to themselves as individuals and is part of the reason why they broke up. He also added that the breakup happened some time ago.

"We cared so much for each other that we ignored things that were important to our individual personal growth," Franzese said. "We have taken some time to heal before letting everyone know and I'm grateful to all my friends and family who have shown us support during this difficult time. I'm excited to see what Joseph will offer the world and I can't wait to get back on tour and make people laugh."

The 40-year-old proposed to Phillips in 2016 after more than a year of dating at the same Starbucks in North Hollywood where they first met.

He reportedly got down on one knee after giving the ring to a barista, who called out their drink orders as "Mr. and Mr. Franzese."

At the time, Franzese told PEOPLE that he was beside himself with the engagement after years of "struggling" with himself.

"Joseph has given me the best of his heart and I'm so happy he said yes," Franzese told the magazine at the time. "Finding my soul mate has made all the years I struggled with myself worth it."

He may have been hinting at the time in his life when he was not openly gay, which he announced publicly just two years before becoming engaged to Phillips. In an open letter to his Mean Girls character, Franzese explained his emotional journey.

"Dear Damian: It's been a long time since our last encounter. Ten years to be exact," part of the letter, published in IndieWire, read. "I was twenty-six; you were sixteen. You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I'd had you as a role model when I was younger. I might've been easier to be gay growing up. You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn't bring you down."

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The actor and comedian shot to fame in 2004 as Damian in Mean Girls (Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey) and later appeared in the HBO series Looking. His Yass! You're Amazing! comedy tour is going on now and he's headlining the Burbank Comedy Festival in August.