It looks like it’s a wrap for Michael and Ashley Darby of The Real Housewives of Potomac, and fans couldn’t be happier. Their relationship drama has played out since the inaugural season of the show. Ashley and Michael married a little under two years before the show premiered, and from the beginning, it was clear that it was not a marriage filled with sunshine. Cheating rumors have always plagued their marriage and there has been much speculation about Michael, who is 29 years Ashley’s senior, and his sexuality. Despite a six-month separation trial, the couple stuck it out with Ashley standing by her man.
Two kids later, and Ashley has filed for legal separation in the state of Virginia. Their new normal will reportedly play out on Season 7 of the show. Here’s a look back at the Darby’s rollercoaster love affair.
2014 - “I Do”
Ashley and Michael met at a D.C.’s L2 Lounge where Ashley worked as a bartender and Michael was co-owner. They began dating shortly thereafter and married in a beach ceremony in 2014. She was even featured in an episode of Say Yes to The Dress.
2017 - Ashley moves out of their Viginia condo
In between filming seasons 2 and 3, Ashley moved into an apartment in Arlington, Virginia. There were several reasons for their split. Michael didn’t approve of Ashley financially supporting her mother, Sheila. Ashley wanted to start a family, but Michael was hesitant due to having adult children and not liking the dynamic in Ashley’s family.
There was also added stress due to owning a restaurant, Oz. They reconciled by the end of the year and closed Oz. After they reconciled, Ashley had Michael adjust their prenuptial agreement to reflect a postnup.
2018 - Sexual assault case
While filming Season 4, news broke that Michael was suspended from filming after a crew member accused him of groping him. Michael denied the allegations, though there was audio in the show in which the cameraman confronted Michael over the incident. The man in question filed charges for federal sexual assault. Charges were eventually dropped due to insufficient evidence. More speculation about Michael’s sexuality ran wild as other rumors surfaced about him being involved with or attracted to men.
2019 - Expanding their family
After years of trying and a miscarriage, the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Dean.
2020 - Cheating scandal
Photos and videos surfaced of Michael hanging out with a woman at a D.C. casino. The same woman snapped photos of Michael getting dressed in her hotel room the next morning.
When confronted with the information, Michael told Ashley that he passed out drunk in the woman’s hotel room and nothing happened, though he did intend on being intimate with her. Michael also attributed his indiscretion to lack of intimacy between him and Ashley after she gave birth to their child.
Later, Ashley told the women that she and Michael had not always been fully monogamous but only included other parties when both were involved. She warned Michael that if monogamy wasn’t something he could abide by, she’d divorce him.
2021 - And baby makes 4
The Darby’s welcome their second son, Dylan. This time around, Ashley made it a point to have Michael feel wanted so that he didn’t feel the need to step out as he tried to after she gave birth to Dean. But more cheating rumors would surface. Michael defended himself during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.
“Both Ashley and I go out. Sometimes we go out together; sometimes we go on our own, and so I went out and had a good time,” he said in August 2021. “Of course, there’s fans all over the place and they came up and said hello. But you know, I’m always going to have pictures taken of me in places — I really don’t care anymore. I have a good time, and I love this woman dearly. And we’re together forever.”
April 2022 - Legal Separation
In an exclusive statement to Daily Dish, Ashley spoke on her decision to separate from Michael. “We are aware that there will be many speculative views as to why we have made this decision,” she said in part. “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.”