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Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger separate but remain 'best of friends'
TORONTO -- Chavril is kaput.
Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger -- the couple that many Canadians simply loved to hate -- announced their separation on Lavigne's Instagram account on Wednesday.
"Through not only the marriage, but the music as well, we've created many unforgettable moments," Lavigne
"We are still, and forever will be, the best of friends, and will always care deeply for each other."
The pair's whirlwind romance began in March 2012, when Nickelback frontman Kroeger was enlisted to help with the songwriting on Lavigne's self-titled fifth record.
They began dating in July, became engaged in August, and married the following Canada Day at a grand medieval castle in France.
Each already had a knack for provoking strong reactions. Kroeger's unstoppable commercial juggernaut, Nickelback, had long been one of the world's most enthusiastically maligned rock bands. Lavigne had been a divisive presence since she first skated into public view.
Together, the backlash was amplified to ear-splitting effect.
"(It) was an odd thing when Chad and Avril hooked up, because it was almost too perfect," said Roz Weston, reporter on Global's nightly "ET Canada."
"They both had a really hardcore fanbase, but they also had people who just viciously disliked them. And the two of them getting together -- you almost expected this wormhole to open up in the Canadian universe.
"They were the perfect couple," he added, "just for all the wrong reasons."
Initially, their seemingly mismatched romance created a maelstrom of publicity and social media commentary.
Even industry insiders were gobsmacked by the union.
"If you had polled our newsroom and said: 'Hey, Chad Kroeger just got engaged, who do you think he got engaged to?' You could ask everybody in our newsroom -- the (top) five people wouldn't have been Avril Lavigne," said Ben Mulroney, anchor of CTV's "eTalk."
"We were just all so caught off guard by it."
The pair was almost defiant in response to the public's scorn, rarely shying away from opportunities to flaunt their romance -- including a memorable Howard Stern interview during which the duo shared intimate details of their sex life.
As rumours of trouble in the relationship circulated -- Us Weekly reported that the couple was splitting a year ago -- Kroeger, 40, and Lavigne, 30, continued to put up a united front, whether through blissful social media posts or cheery interviews.
But over the last year, both Canadian rockers were stymied by health issues.
Lavigne, who was previously married to Sum 41's Deryck Whibley, revealed a Lyme disease diagnosis in May, while Kroeger had to cancel a lengthy list of Nickelback tour dates to undergo surgery for a cyst on his larynx.
There was little shock when news of their breakup spread Wednesday.
"They didn't seem like a great fit from the get-go," Mulroney said. "Maybe (the public's) confusion turned into pressure on them.
"But (the split) doesn't surprise me because we have been talking about it for a long time, and with the exception of a few public appearances ... I don't necessarily remember seeing them on a lot of red carpets, sitting together at award shows, or a lot of that.
"In my mind I still saw them as two individuals and never really saw them as a couple."
Of course, among the erstwhile couple's army of detractors, there were many who believed that the relationship was never genuine to begin with.
"It did almost seem like a weird arranged marriage in a way," Weston said. "(But) all I know is this: Avril Lavigne really became a different woman when she hooked up with Chad Kroeger.
"Avril Lavigne became very open. She was smiling so much more than she ever had. I genuinely think that when Avril was with Chad, at least for the beginning of it, it was the happiest I've ever seen her, and I've seen Avril Lavigne since the first day she ever stepped foot on stage."
In fact, Weston added, Chavril often talked children.
"Every time I've interviewed them before, we brought babies up and Chad was very vocal about the fact that he wanted to start a family -- there was no skirting of the question, no 'I don't talk about my personal life,"' Weston said. "He was very up front with stating he wanted to start a family.
"(Lavigne) was talking about future plans too. She was talking about family.... I don't think you do that unless the relationship was genuine and you really believed in what you are doing."