Speaking her mind. Kristin Cavallari is breaking her silence about her split from husband Jay Cutler.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” The Hills alum told PEOPLE on Wednesday, September 23. “We tried really, really hard for years and years. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.”

The Very Cavallari star admitted that because she and Cutler share three kids together — Camden, 8, Jaxon, 6, and Saylor, 4 — her ex will be in her life “forever.”

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“I still care so much about him,” she told the outlet. “[I] talk to him almost every day.”

“When you work at something for so many years and nothing’s changing, I think you have to just make a decision. We all want to be happy,” the 33-year-old said about why she and the athlete couldn’t make things work.

Before the split, the mom of three revealed that she “felt like I was drowning.” Ultimately, Cavallari is “proud” of herself “for making this decision” to start a new chapter in her life.

“I feel like my whole world is opening up now because of it, and I’m just feeling the best I’ve felt in a really long time,” she shared.

The former couple tied the knot in June 2013. In April, the former flames announced they separating after 10 years together.

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Cavallari and Cutler’s custody agreement took effect in May. Camden, Jaxon and Saylor share 182.5 days a year with each parent.

Now that Cavallari is back on the market, she feels like she can “take a breath” for the first time in a while. “I’m enjoying things slowed down and having more time to focus on what really matters in life. I want to take this extra time I have right now to better myself and be the best mom I can be,” she told Us Weekly in August.

In late August, the Uncommon James designer recently got a butterfly tattoo, which has been “such a sign for me when going through difficult times,” she wrote on social media.

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Tattoo time @jonboytattoo

A post shared by Kristin Cavallari (@kristincavallari) on

The cookbook author debuted her new ink — which was created by tattoo artist JonBoy — on her Instagram Stories. “Tattoo time @jonboytattoo,” she captioned the snap.

Sounds like Cavallari is onto bigger and better things!

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