Deion Sanders and fiancée Tracey Edmonds end their relationship after 12 years together

Deion Sanders and Tracey Edmonds have ended their engagement, the couple announced on Instagram Sunday night.

“To EVERYONE who has been there for us, supported us, and shown us love…We have mutually decided that it is best for us to move forward in life AS FRIENDS and have made this decision with love in our hearts, respect for each other, and appreciation for the time we’ve shared together,” Edmonds and Sanders wrote in a joint statement on her Instagram page.

“Please keep us in your prayers as we go through this transition. Thank you for being there for us ALL THESE YEARS! We love you and appreciate you SO MUCH!” she concluded, adding praying hands and a red heart emoji.

Sanders responded in the comments section, adding, “Love u Tracey and You’ve been a true blessing to me. I appreciate the times we’ve shared and they laughs we’ve had. You are an amazing woman and a tremendous mother. God bless u with every endeavor and every step u take. You are HER. Tracey-Mack !!!”

Sanders and Edmonds, both 56, met at a movie premiere party in 2012 for a film Edmonds had produced. They only chatted briefly during their initial meeting, but Sanders was so taken with the producer that he asked a friend to get her business card that night.

A few months later, the football coach reached out to Edmonds to set up a meeting where they discussed his vision for a reality series. “I started off thinking I was just going to produce [Deion’s Family Playbook],” Edmonds explained, “But as I started working with Deion on the show, we grew quite fond of each other and ended up dating.”

The couple navigated being long-distance throughout their relationship. During a joint interview with PEOPLE, Sanders, who has been married twice before, reasoned that he and Edmonds are “at the age and stage where I don’t think neither of us needs a lot.”

The retired athlete shared that he and Edmonds don’t regularly call or text throughout the day in order to give each other the space to build their respective careers.

“Tracey is a go-getter; she is that. I get up early, and she knows I’m up working out and I’m ready to go get it,” Sanders added. “It’s a blessing, but we understand each other because we’re busy in our own right.”

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The Colorado coach said he loves “what both of us contribute to society and to this world,” while they’re apart from one another. “It’s not just a separation because you want to be separated, it’s a separation because you are active and you are really influencing lives.”

Edmonds, who launched her own production company called Edmonds Entertainment Group, where she currently serves as CEO, also chimed in, noting that “there’s no regular schedule with us” and “we just do our very best to see each other as much as we possibly can.”

Tracey Edmonds and Deion Sanders attend the Inaugural GQ Sports Style Hall of Fame event
Tracey Edmonds and Deion Sanders attend the Inaugural GQ Sports Style Hall of Fame event in 2023.EMMA MCINTYRE/GETTY

In 2019, Edmonds announced their engagement in an Instagram post on Valentine’s Day. “Happy Valentine’s Day Fam! Sending LOVE to MY LOVE/MY FIANCÉ @deionsanders! ❤️💍,” she captioned a snap of her and Sanders smiling. “God is SO GOOD! We’re 8 years in, made it through the storms TOGETHER, and will be spending the rest of our lives TOGETHER!”

Edmonds ended the post with some relationship advice: “To all the couples out there… stay REAL with each other, LISTEN to each other, and MOST of all.. keep LOVE and GOD in your heart. When you do, you can make it through ANY storm! Spread LOVE and JOY on this day! ❤️”.

Edmonds shares two sons, Brandon and Dylan, with musician Babyface. She’s also put certain perimeters in place to help “keep them out of the Hollywood craziness.”

“As a single mom, I’ve always felt that it was so important to have honest and daily conversations about life with both of my boys. It’s just been the three of us inside my household, so they’ve grown up very close to me in every aspect of their lives,” she told the digital outlet Tinseltown Mom.

Sanders had two children with his first wife, Carolyn Chambers: a daughter, Deiondra, 31, and a son, Deion Jr., 29. He also had three children with his second wife, Pilar Biggers-Sanders: sons Shilo, 23, and Shedeur, 21, and daughter Shelomi, 18.

Deion sanders Shedeur Sanders
Deion Sanders and son Shedeur Sanders attend Jackson State football game.JUSTIN FORD/GETTY

As a father, Sanders has been able to combine his love for his children with his love for sports. Both of his daughters were talented athletes in basketball and all of his three sons played football, with Sanders coaching Shilo and Shedeur at Jackson State — and now Colorado University.

“Whenever we step on the grass, practice, game, it doesn’t even matter, he’s a whole different man and I’m a whole different person, too,” Shedeur told PEOPLE about balancing the father-son, and player-coach relationship with Sanders. “So after the game whenever we walk off the field, outside of white lines, then it’s dad and that. But when we get on the field it’s straight coach.”

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