Though Ashley Darby is coming off of a fairly recent reconciliation with her husband, Michael Darby, this season of The Real Housewives of Potomac following their separation last year, it seems as though the source of most of her drama is with her mother, Sheila. The two have had some tense discussions about Sheila's future this season after Michael told Ashley that she needs to stop providing her financial support.
Even though it's been months since Ashley filmed those moments with her mom, the passage of time hasn't made it any easier for her to relive them. "Watching the interactions that my mom and I had during that time, it's still really heartbreaking for me," Ashley shared during a recent interview with The Daily Dish. "One of the most difficult episodes actually aired on Mother's Day. So it was during a time when she was still going through finding a place to live, and I was giving her tough love, which was just as draining on me as it was on her. And to be taken back to that place, it's very emotional for me."
Ashley addressed the difficulties with her mother this season of RHOP in her Mother's Day tribute to Sheila on Instagram. "This is the stabilizing core of my being - the beautiful family I've been blessed to love. Nothing will ever damage, replace, or rattle the bond we share. My mom selflessly raised us to be kind and fun-loving people, positive influences in the world. If you've been privileged enough to be in Mom's presence, you've experienced her unparalleled ability to make anyone smile," Ashley wrote about her mom. "Our relationship is evolving, and the process is full of tears, but the butterfly is soon to emerge. I cherish you endlessly."
The other side of watching this season of RHOP, according to Ashley, is that she has seen what hitting rock bottom with her mom looks like —and that's a place she's confident they'll never go again. "I do draw strength from it because I feel like we can only go up from here. Our relationship has gone through so many growing pains, and believe me, they hurt, but we can just only improve because I love her, I will never stop loving her. Our relationship will never cease to exist because that's my mama," she explained. "So we can get better. It's just something that needs some love and attention."
When it comes to whether Ashley is still providing financial support for her mom, that's an area that they're also working on. "My mom and I are still establishing boundaries and figuring out how to find our pure relationship without financial ties," Ashley said. "We're getting there. We're not 100 percent there, but we're almost there."
Ashley also clarified for all the critics out there that her mom isn't solely relying on her for financial support, either. "She works six days a week. She works in a retirement home. She works very hard," she said. "She's not a drug addict, alcoholic, loafing off of her rich daughter's husband. That's not what she's doing at all, so that's a fallacy."
Ashley has learned to deal with the haters since she competed as Miss D.C. in the Miss America pageant in 2011. But Ashley's mom isn't exactly getting used to dealing with this sort of online criticism. "Anyone can say anything they like about me. I don't care. Say it. My skin's pretty thick. I've been doing this for a while now. I was Miss D.C., so I've experienced people being trolls from behind their keyboards from back then. But my mom's different. She's very sensitive to those things," Ashley said, adding that their conversations this season of RHOP were never about accusing Sheila of being "a bad mom." "It was more so about focusing on another element of her life. Her mothering skills are fantastic. She's very nurturing and loving. But in relation to finding her own financial independence and confidence, that's where she needed to just improve."
Watch Ashley open up more about the challenges of navigating her relationship with her mom during her recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, below.