The 34-year-old actress - who was wed to her 'One Tree Hill' co-star for five months in 2005 before the pair called time on their union - has "refused" to let her personal life overshadow any of her achievements, though she admits the breakdown of their marriage was a "trauma".
Speaking openly about her love life to Cosmopolitan magazine, the brunette beauty said: "In my 20s, when I was starting out my career as an actor, I wasn't looking for a relationship, but one found me and became serious, even though I hadn't planned to settle down until my 30s.
"But when the person you're with asks you to marry him, you think: 'This must be happening because it's supposed to.'
"I refuse to let that one relationship define me, which is why I've done my best to avoid discussing it for 10 years. The reality is that, yes, it was a massive event in my life. And the trauma of it was amplified by how public it became, which was incredibly foreign and bizarre to a girl who'd been just another college kid 24 months before her life blew up."
However, the star has admitted her break-up has educated her about love and she now believes a relationship isn't a failure if it doesn't lead to a "lifetime commitment".
She continued: "I was able to process all that had happened and find a deeper understanding of love. I came to appreciate that relationships often serve a specific purpose at a certain point in time, for myriad reasons. Some are meant to heal you, some are meant to teach you how to build yourself up, and some are meant to show you how to trust your own intuition. You call in exactly whom and what you need over the course of your life, as you are learning life's lessons. And learn them you will. Even if you try to avoid these teachings, they're coming for you.
"This reality has taught me that the relationships that don't lead to lifetime commitments are not failures. Not every love can last forever."