Ashley Darby Announces Separation From Husband Michael

By Terrance Turner

April 19, 2022

“Real Housewives of Potomac” cast member Ashley Darby is separating from her husband Michael. Darby revealed the news in a statement to Bravo’s The Daily Dish, saying: “Almost eight years ago, when Michael and I said ‘I do,’ we anticipated sharing every single day together from that moment forward. Unfortunately, that is not our current reality. We have decided to separate.”

“We are aware that there will be many speculative views as to why we have made this decision. 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,” she said. “We are now both at very different stages in our lives and have different goals for our futures. We both want the other to achieve true happiness and fulfillment and feel that we cannot do this together.”

“While our romantic bond is broken, we will always love and respect each other. We also know that true happiness can only be achieved by continuing to work together and putting our hearts and souls into raising our two beautiful boys, Dean and Dylan. They will always feel loved and supported, for they were truly created out of love. As this is a personal matter for us, we appreciate everyone who has been a part of our journey and ask for your continued support by respecting us as we go through this emotional situation.”

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This move comes after a tumultuous marriage. The pair married in 2014, two years before “The Real Housewives of Potomac” debuted on Bravo. Ashley was part of the original cast, which at that point included Gizelle Bryant, Robyn Dixon, Karen Huger, Charisse Jackson-Jordan, and Katie Rost. The marriage cam under scrutiny almost immediately when Michael allegedly grabbed the rear end of Katie’s then-fiance, Andrew Martin, at a party. The Darbys denied the rumors at the season one reunion in April 2016.

But it wouldn’t be the last time the two had to combat accusations of sexual misconduct. Though Ashley quickly became a reliable pot-stirrer — blithely bringing up the infidelity in Juan’s marriage to Robyn, eagerly discussing Karen and Ray’s tax issues — her own union would soon become front and center. Season 4 was dominated by an explosive series of accusations against Michael that would threaten their marriage and presence on the show.

In September 2018, Michael was charged with felony second-degree sexual assault and improper sexual assault after allegedly groping a cameraman’s butt during filming. Cameraman Orville Palmer claimed the incident occurred on September 1, according to the New York Post. Mr. Darby was suspended from filming and faced up to 11 years in prison.

But the charges were dropped a month later. “The case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence,” Ramon Korionoff, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, told Us in October 2018. “The complaining witness states there were no witnesses who actually saw the incident.”

Michael’s attorney, Mike Rowan, also offered a statement. “The charges were dropped. They were baseless,” the lawyer argued that same month. “There were a number of alleged witnesses who said it did not happen. The peace order request by the alleged victim was also denied. There was simply nothing that happened, and nothing here.”

But the news rippled through the “RHOP” cast, and several cast members openly questioned Michael’s denials of wrongdoing. His credibility was undercut by a lewd comment that he’d made during filming. During a night of drinking at a relative’s birthday party, both Robyn Dixon and castmate Candiace Dillard Bassett (plus Candiace’s husband Chris) said they heard Michael make a suggestive remark about Robyn’s now-fiance Juan Dixon.

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At the season four reunion, the situation was discussed at length, and both Darbys firmly denied any inappropriate behavior on Michael’s part. “It was not a charge; it was a claim by an individual,” Michael stated. “The claim had no evidence, and so it was thrown out.” But the rest of the cast was skeptical at best, and Robyn Dixon levied a new, more damning allegation. “That same evening when he grabbed Andrew’s butt [in season 1], we also were made aware that he grabbed a couple of our producers’ butts as well,” Robyn said.

“I’ve heard this,” one Housewife agreed.

“I’ve heard it also,” said Karen Huger.

“You’ve all heard this?” asked host Andy Cohen.

“Yes,” answered Gizelle, Candiace, and Karen, in unison.

Cohen turned to cast member Monique Samuels. “Monique, you?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Samuels confirmed.

The conversation is captured in the clip below.

Through it all, Ashley stood by her man. The two even welcomed a baby boy a year later, in July 2019. But as season five got underway, another incident threatened to derail Ashley’s maternity glow.

Candiace Dillard Bassett received a text from a friend while the ladies were on a trip to Samuels’ house in Maryland. The friend texted Bassett alleging that Michael had been seen at a gentleman’s club with several dancers. Darby reportedly was heard telling people that he had “a boyfriend and a wife”.

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