Ashley Darby is resilient. She jumped onto our call with valor and brought her vulnerability to the table, immediately opening up about her divorce.
She may have quickly risen to fame during her time on The Real Housewives of Potomac, but Ashley has stayed humble. Although she took time out of her jam-packed day to answer some of our questions, she still made sure to start our conversation by asserting, “I appreciate you.”
She carried that good-hearted nature through the entire interview as she answered questions with ease, praising her fans and calmly talking about the inner workings of her lost marriage. The star told all, from her relationship to her children to the ways she learned to cope with backlash from her fellow RHOP cast members.
Filming this season was tough for Ashley. She had freshly separated from her husband, Michael Darby, and she’s still in the process of healing from that difficult wound.
Ashley Darby talks about her divorce
“It was a challenging time. It is a challenging time,” Ashley said softly. “I’m still in the thick of it with Michael, and I guess you never really know how your partner is going to be once you’re not together. You know them as your spouse or as your boyfriend, your girlfriend. But then once you decide to part, it’s so unknown how the other person’s going to react, what your relationship [will feel] like. So Michael and I don’t – we don’t really have a relationship at this point.”
Last year, Ashley was pregnant with her second child with Michael, but now the pair don’t even speak to each other unless it’s a necessity.
“We really only communicate for the children, and just logistics in terms of our house or whatever,” Ashley added. “But it’s really hard for me emotionally, because I do feel like I’m still mourning what used to be and I thought by now I would be like on my way to getting over it. You know, I made the decision in February, now we’re in October. So it’s been eight months. I thought it was six months – actually, it’s eight months – so, I’m – I just thought I would be a little bit better about it, but it’s still really hard and it’s very up and down for me. I can’t speak for him, but…”
She won’t let other people’s opinions get to her
Since it’s her seventh season on RHOP, Ashley is used to fielding shady commentary from fans and fellow Housewives, but she’s grateful this hardship came now rather than earlier on in her time on the show.
Throughout the past six seasons, she’s learned to be resilient, so she’s really carrying that into the forthcoming episodes.
“You know, it’s funny: if this were season one or two, I think I would probably be a little more vulnerable to outside opinion, but I’m 34 years old now. I’ve got two kids. I’ve been dealing with you ladies for seven years. It takes a lot to get to me, because I know I live my day-to-day life so fully. I’m going through my experience as we all do. We live our own lives so fully that when someone who’s not immersed in this [lifestyle] tries to tell me how I should conduct myself or what I should be doing, I’m like, ‘You’re only getting a snapshot.’ How can I want someone who’s getting a snapshot – how can I let their judgment really affect me at the core? It just doesn’t.”
A mirror is a good thing, so hopefully she looks in one the next time she has something like that to say.
Ashley Darby responds to Mia Thornton’s comments
Ashley is not even phased by recent comments from her co-star, Mia Thornton. In an interview with Page Six, Mia said that it seemed that “she’s been held in captivity and now she’s been let free” after separating from Michael.
“I have heard about [her comments]. You know, the streets are alive. But I honestly don’t particularly care what Mia has to say about my relationship because I don’t know Mia’s experience,” Ashley explained thoughtfully. “Obviously, she’s not with her first husband, or her first partner. So something went awry there. And I think that people do tend – especially those who have been in previous relationships that didn’t work out – they tend to pass on to other relationships what they think. It’s not like I’m innocent [of it]. I’m guilty.”
“So, I think Mia is maybe just projecting something that she experienced or that she, I don’t know, hopefully is not right now going through, but whatever. I just think she did a little projection and a mirror is a good thing, so hopefully she looks in one the next time she has something like that to say.”
Shortly after Ashley delivered a perfectly subtle clapback to Mia’s comments, she offered up some equally clever shade about newcomer Jacqueline Blake, Mia’s long-term best friend.
“Jacqueline, Jacqueline, Jacqueline,” she sighed. “You know, I like Jacqueline because Jacqueline is not a wallflower. And it can be very hard to come into this group – or any well-established friendship group that has history – and some people tend to be really quiet and they tend to sort of like mute themselves because they don’t want to rub anyone the wrong way. That is not Jacqueline.”
“She is she is who she is. She and Mia have, you know, they have known each other for a long time. And Jacqueline, she was a ride or die for Mia. “
While it’s hard to say if she’ll get along with Jacqueline, one surprising person she does seem to get along with in season 7 is Candiace.
You may also like: Here are Gizelle Bryant’s wildest fashion moments through the years.
Could Ashley be forming a friendship with Candiace Dillard?
In the trailer for the new season, it seemed that the pair – who have had long-standing beef – were shockingly amicable.
So, when I asked if there was a possibility that the two could form a friendship, Ashley said she was leaving that door open.
“You know, I’m a glass half full kind of person. So I will say that, yes, I think there is potential for us. There have just been so many things that have happened in the history of this relationship. I can’t call it a friendship quite yet, but there are things that have happened in this relationship that have been really impactful and I think we have a long way to go, a lot to work through. She’s hurt me really deeply and she’ll probably say the same about me. So we just have to get through that, I think, before we can really call what we have a friendship, but we’re getting there.”
It seems that there will be a lot of shifting dynamics this season. “I think that fans will be able to enjoy each of our personal stories,” she teased. “We all have a lot going on. I can attest to that. But our group dynamics change.”
“It’s one of the things that I love so much about these women: we’re all always evolving and our perceptions are always changing. We’re chameleons and we’re just always adapting. To what? I’m not sure, but we’re always adapting to something. And that affects how we interact with each other. Like, I formed a really close bond with one of the ladies that I never saw coming. To be able to see that is so cool. And then of course, you know, the way that we tend to address our differences and our disagreements is always a time. So there will be lots of times to be had.”
Despite these shifts and new-formed bonds, the most important relationship in Ashley’s life is her relationship with her children.
She’s putting her children first
As a mother, Ashley has always put her kids first. Growing up without a father, Ashley wants to ensure that her children are cared for, despite the end of her relationship with Michael.
“My kids are just my everything,” she urged. “I didn’t know how much I would love my kids. You know, you don’t know until you get into it like, man. It’s deep. But as far as how my parenting has changed, Dean is now three, so he understands a lot. He’s very perceptive and intuitive. He notices that we don’t sleep in the same bed anymore. He says ‘mommy’s room’ and ‘daddy’s room.’ So he’s already starting to learn the distinction.”
Despite struggling through their divorce, both Michael and Ashley are trying to prioritize being good parents.
“But what Michael and I are striving to do is to be as cohesive as we can for them. Both of us had a pretty dysfunctional upbringing in terms of his dad being abusive, my dad being nowhere to be found. We just don’t want our kids to experience anything like that. Life’s hard enough. So, we’re trying to at least have a united front with that. We still do family days. Saturday, for example, we took them to the museum and we took them to a restaurant. We do things together as a family. We just – we only talk to the kids, actually. Kind of funny.”
So, through the divorce and shifting friendships, it looks like Ashley will be at her most resilient to date. Amidst huge life changes and dealing with difficult emotions, she’s still ready to bring the drama into this upcoming season.