It’s safe to say Ashley Darby and Michael Darby’s relationship made waves on Bravo since the debut of The Real Housewives of Potomac.
The Maryland-based franchise premiered in 2016, less than two years into Ashley’s marriage to Michael. Her costars were quick to question their union as Ashley is 29 years younger than her spouse. On season 2 of the series, the couple struggled to navigate opening their restaurant Oz.
“Michael and I do have this age difference. He’s 29 years older than me. And he has so much business experience that I think that he kind of forgets that I don’t necessarily have all those years,” Ashley told The Daily Dish in 2017. “And so, he has these expectations of me to be this strong, confident, self-assured businesswoman when really I’m still navigating the ropes. I’m still learning as I go. And yes, I’m definitely going to make some mistakes. So stepping into this role of being responsible for people’s livelihoods and having budgets with a lot more zeroes on them has been a learning experience for me, to say the least, so it does cause some issues for Michael and me and really made us think about why we were doing this. We didn’t do this restaurant to tear ourselves apart; we did it to bring us together.”
During the season 2 reunion of RHOP, which aired in July 2017, Ashley revealed she had moved out of her home with Michael as they spent time apart. “She’s in her 20s,” Michael said during the episode. “She’s feeling out who she is going into her evolving life and future. And I’m at my age, coming through the end of my career, looking to all kinds of things that are very different from some of the things I am looking for.”
Months after their initial separation, the twosome reconciled and went on to welcome two sons, Dean (born in July 2019) and Dylan (March 2021). Things were hardly smooth sailing, however, as Ashley admitted to the duo having an unconventional marriage and Michael was accused of sexually harassing a Bravo cameraman, which he denied.
The duo officially called it quits ahead of the premiere of season 7 of RHOP, with Ashely announcing they had split after “almost 8 magical years” of marriage.
“We have decided to separate. We are aware that there will be many speculative views as to why we have made this decision,” she said in a statement in April 2022. “People will be quick to assume that the causes were too much intrusion by reality TV into the most personal parts of our lives, age gap issues, cultural problems, or child-rearing differences. Pieces of all these may have affected our pure love for each other, but no one reason is the root cause of our mutual decision to go our separate ways.”
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Scroll through for a timeline of the pair’s ups and downs: