Courtney Hope sally "The Young and the Restless" Set CBS television CityLos Angeles09/10/21© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

“This is my story. This is my one year celebration.”

It’s not, we’ll admit, what we expected to see. But then again, so much of this tale is about the unexpected. It’s about pushing through the pain of something you never saw coming and reclaiming yourself, your identity and your future. So when Young & Restless‘ Courtney Hope (Sally) shared photos from her wedding day to General Hospital‘s Chad Duell (Michael) exactly one year before, we were a bit surprised.

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Their marriage, as we’re sure fans know, only lasted a couple months. Hope and Duell split, and though they’ve briefly touched on it, they have, understandably, kept the details private. And while Hope shared photos of herself on her wedding day, the focus of the Instagram post wasn’t on what happened to them in those weeks together, but on what’s happened to her ever since.

The actress, who we all know, is a massive Harry Potter fan, quoted Professor Dumbledore’s description of a phoenix — a mythical, immortal bird that bursts into flames when it dies, only to be reborn from the ashes time and time again. That, excerpt, though, was just the beginning of far more inspiring words of wisdom that Hope shared in the slides of the post itself.

“One year ago,” she writes, “I was getting ready for what I thought would be one of the biggest dreams come true of my life. Little did I know it was the beginning of the end. I’m not going into details, because honestly, it’s nobody else’s business but the parties involved.”

Courtney Hope, Chad Duell"The Bold and the Beautiful" 32nd Anniversary PartyGranvilleWest Hollywood, Ca.02/19/19© Tammie/jpistudios.com310-657-9661

Though there has clearly been pain, Hope sounds beautifully free of anger and bitterness, writing that her relationship was “one of the greatest, albeit testing at times, half a decade of my life. A love that was built through memories, patience, adventure, lessons, challenges and laughter.  A love that did not stand the test of time, and a love that will forever hold a place in my heart because it changed me.”

Echoing the sentiment of what happened in the relationship itself, she continues on writing that, “The story of how I’ve spent the last year, scraping myself off of the floor time and time again and then walking out in the world trying to seem ‘OK’ will be housed safely in the hearts of those closest to me who had to bear witness to it and live through it with me. But I have finally come to terms with the fact that a lot of energy went into creating this day.”

For that reason, she wanted to honor what she’s been through and what others have been through, understanding that she’s not the only one who’s had to pick herself up after crushing heartbreak. This post is for herself, for everyone touched by what happened and for everyone who’s had to learn hard lessons and keep moving forward.

“I’ve lived the life of a Phoenix this last year,” Hope continues, “and it was far less majestic than I had previously believed it to be. It was painful. It was infuriating. It was powerful. It was enlightening. It was cathartic. It was grounding, and it was my greatest teacher.”

Her relationship with herself, she says, is stronger than ever, “and for the first time in my life, I know that I fully, unshakably, have my own back.”

“Though I’m still picking up pieces,” she concludes, “where I’m at greatly surpasses anywhere I’ve ever been before. This is my story. This is my one year celebration, and though it may not be like the rest or what I imagined, I’m at peace with it and I’m thankful for where I’m headed next.”

Check out the entire Instagram post here. She has far more to say, and we have a feeling we won’t be the only ones who feel her words deep in our bones.

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Sometimes peace is more than we can wish for, and we’re glad Hope has managed to find some measure of it in her journey. It’s enough to inspire anyone to keep pushing forward through the pain and heartbreak.

Take a look back on the relationship that has become a source of growth for Hope in our photo gallery of her and Duell