Long before race car drive Josef Newgarden won the 2023 Indy500, he won the heart of wife Ashley Newgarden (née Welch).
“It was coincidental seeing one of the most ancient gardens in Kyoto, because I’ll soon be the Newest Garden of them all,” Ashley captioned photos of Josef proposing in Japan in October 2018 via Instagram. “I never knew that I could love someone the way that I love you.”
Gushing Instagram posts aren’t typical for the couple, who have largely kept their life together private after meeting in 2012. They tied the knot in October 2019 and announced in April 2022 that they welcomed their first child together, a baby boy.
“Kota Nicolai Newgarden has arrived,” Josef shared on social media at the time. “We are a pretty private family, so I won’t be sharing much, but since the racing world knows, Ashley and I wanted to say that Kota is here safe and sound. Both mom and little man are doing really great 💙.”
Ashley added an explainer on Kota’s name, which ties back to Japan, the site of their engagement. “Japanese origin meaning ‘happiness’ and ‘good fortune’ … Kota, in just your short time Earth side, you have given us just that. Eternal happiness. ❤️💙,” she wrote.
The actress has a long connection to the country, having lived there from 2013 to 2014 while working at Tokyo Disneyland. She played Disney Princesses such as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves while working abroad just after college.
They’ve come a long way since their start as a young driver and a princess. In May 2023, Ashley watched as her husband race in the Indy 500 for the 12th time — and he finally won. She was seen breaking down in tears as soon as the ESPYs winner passed the finish line.
Meanwhile, Josef tried to go straight into the grandstand to be among the fans.
“I’ve always wanted to go into the crowd here in Indianapolis,” Newgarden told NBC Sports at the time. “I’ve seen people go up into the fence. I wanted to go through the fence. I wanted to celebrate with the people. I just thought it would be so cool to be in that energy because I know what that energy is like on race day. This was a dream of mine. If this was ever going to happen, I wanted to do that.”
Ashley captioned photos of his joyous win via Instagram Story, “BABY, YOU DID IT!!”
Scroll down to see Josef and Ashley’s relationship timeline: