Brooks Laich has hinted a lacklustre sex life might be to blame for his split from estranged wife Julianne Hough.

The retired hockey star, 37, and the former 'Dancing with the Stars' professional called time on their three-year marriage earlier this year, and Brooks has now suggested their romance may have fizzled out because they didn't make sex a ''priority''.

Brooks explained that many of his past relationships have seen sex be ''pushed down'' the priorities list, and said it sometimes leads to a rift in the romance.

He said: ''I think sexuality is something that gets pushed down on the priority list, on the totem pole for people. They're, like, [focused on] work, kids, job, whatever. Gotta clean the house, get the groceries. It's something that people - at least in my experience - I have, like, pushed down versus holding it up at the top, almost like living, eating, breathing.''

The sports star added he doesn't think there's anything wrong with going without sex for up to a month, but said couples often need to work harder to reignite the spark in their relationship.

Speaking on his 'How Men Think' podcast, he explained: ''I think at some point you just have to realise, 'OK, our connection has dissipated a little bit. Let's intentionally move back into this space and even if we aren't feeling it ... even if it's not just naturally a pull, like, oh my god, we're all over each other, let's create an atmosphere or environment or something where we are making time to be intentional about this.' That can spark the natural pull too.''

Meanwhile, sources previously claimed Brooks and Julianne - who had been living separately amid the coronavirus pandemic - split because of their differing views on marriage.

One insider said: ''Brooks loves his outdoor life in Idaho, wanted a more traditional marriage and to start a family. Julianne wanted a less traditional marriage, to focus on her career and loves her city life and Hollywood existence.

''Brooks fell in love with Julianne but they have been living in different homes and even different states for months. They have been happier apart than together and realised they had no choice but to go their separate ways. Despite truly loving each other, they just didn't see eye to eye.''