It’s been six months since Jennie Garth reconciled with her husband Dave Abrams after a 10-month separation — and the BH90210 star is opening up about their painful split and how they came back together.
“We definitely had to part ways completely,” Garth, 47, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “We needed that time to grow.”
After meeting on a blind date in late 2014, Garth and Abrams, an actor, quickly became serious and were married within months.
The short timeline “hurt us,” Garth admits. “We rushed it too much, and we had individual things we needed to work out. Maybe it was a mistake [to move so fast] and we’ve all had to learn and grow from that.”
Continues Garth: “When everything wasn’t shiny and pretty and fun like it had been initially, when things got challenging, [Dave] didn’t know how to handle it as much.”
And when Abrams, 38, filed for divorce in 2018, less than three years since they wed, Garth was blindsided — and even used what happened as inspiration for a story line on BH90210, the hit reboot she stars on and co-created with Tori Spelling.
“I found out that he filed for divorce from TMZ,” says Garth. “That was a big deal for me. So we used it in the show, because why not use the things that hurt us most and then take the power out of them and make them funny.”
But it wasn’t all a laughing matter.
“The [possibility of a third divorce] really devastated me,” says Garth, who was previously married to musician Daniel Clark and actor Peter Facinelli, with whom she has three daughters. “I was in a really bad mindset for a good five or six months. It was just embarrassing. And it made the accepting of it so much harder. But when I finally did accept, like, we’re breaking up, I had to tell myself, Dave is not an option. Because I kept wanting it. And then, just when I felt whole again, we started hanging out.”
Ultimately, says Garth, “we both had separate learning to do, and then coming back and sharing that growth was kind of the fiber that connected us back together like, ‘I see you differently now.’ ”
And Garth says she and Abrams are still working on making their marriage the best it can be.
“It’s very easy to go back to those old ways,” she says. “So it’s a process and it’s continuously wanting to better the relationship.”
And that means taking time for the lighter moments, too.
“Dave keeps me young and fun,” says Garth. “He makes me laugh. And that is the most important thing!”
BH90210 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
For more from Jennie Garth, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.