After announcing their breakup this past September, Wheeler Dealers star Ant Anstead is opening up about his split from his wife of fewer than two years, Christina Anstead, revealing the breakup wasn't his decision to make. In an exclusive with PEOPLE, Anstead, who shares 1-year-old Hudson with the HGTV star, got candid about the breakup and how he has been coping in the months since.
The automotive specialist first suggested a split was not something he had wanted in an Instagram just eight days after the news broke, sharing how he had "remained silent" while holding onto hope. "I think everybody knows this was not my decision. It really hit me hard," Anstead told the magazine. "If you ask anybody that knows me properly, they know that I give myself fully. I had so much love for her."
Anstead shares how he was in a "very dark places" in the months following their separation. "I reached this turning point; I had the choice to dwell on it, or move on and work on myself." That work on himself included taking part in a 35-day online "breakup recovery" course and a three-day faith-based retreat concentrated on mental health and physical fitness. He tells the magazine that not only helped him understand how "nobody controls" him but how it was up to himself to "empower" himself to "realize how incredibly worthy I am of healing."
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The newly single dad, who has two older children in the U.K. — Amelie, 17 and Archie, 14 — now exercises, eats a healthy breakfast, and says a prayer daily while sharing what he is grateful for. Additionally, he gets to spend plenty of time with his youngest son, Hudson. "Not only have I improved my mental health, [but I've also] actually made a real conscious decision to go and improve my physical health, as well. I mean, for the first time in my life, I'm actually now taking vitamins!"
Acknowledging how the grief of his breakup will take time, he explains recovery should not be rushed. "It really is a process, and the thing about healing is sometimes you feel like you're making daily progress, and then, from nowhere, your legs get taken out, and you feel like you start again. But I'm certainly making steps towards healing, even if it's really slow."
Anstead and Christina share one son, Hudson, whom they welcomed in September 2019 — a year after tying the knot in a wonderland-themed wedding at their home in Newport Beach, California. While Christina officially filed for divorce and joint legal and physical custody of Hudson in November, neither seek spousal support.