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Why Ashley Darby Almost Didn't Marry Her Husband Michael
The #RHOP restaurateur dishes on why she once broke up with her hubby — and why she finally said "I do."
It's easy to see Ashley Darby's love for her husband Michael Darby on The Real Housewives of Potomac. Whether Michael wanted to take a dip in the water in the middle of a swanky yacht party or he crashed the girls' trip to Bethany Beach, he has had the support of his wife of almost two years through it all.
But when Michael proposed to Ashley in 2012, a grand gesture of a romantic helicopter ride over the Hudson in New York was almost not enough to convince her to say "yes" to her then-boyfriend, who she had actually broken up with about a month before he popped the question.
"It was fairly surreal when Michael proposed just because I wasn't sure if I was going to say yes. I didn't give him an answer for about five minutes," Ashley told The Daily Dish (clip above). "I had to let it sink in because we had issues where he was saying he wasn't ready for commitment yet. And he had been married for 20 years, and he had only been separated for 10 months when we got together, when we first started dating. So he didn't really have a chance to go out and date and explore. He just kind of went from one relationship — he did go out on a couple dates with some girls I heard about, but whatever — and then right into me."
Even though Ashley also dated around during the couple's split, she admitted that she "wasn't quite happy about it" and "was a little jealous" of Michael's flings. As we all know, Ashley did eventually accept Michael's proposal, and she's now glad it all went down the way it did. "When we finally did get together, it was like, because we did have that time apart, we just knew that this was the right thing to do. We had clarified," she said. "We came into the relationship with a much more sound sense of who we wanted to be and how we wanted to be as a couple. So I wouldn't change it for the world."
Looking back, Ashley now says that "the wedding proposal was obviously way over-the-top" and is one of the most romantic things Michael has ever done for her, in addition to gifting her that Porsche for her birthday, as we saw earlier this season on RHOP. "I mean, he just kind of keeps trumping himself. He's upping the ante every single year," Ashley said. "I don't know what's next. Am I gonna get a helicopter? Am I gonna get my own plane? It seems like the possibilities are endless with this man."
Not only have Ashley and Michael shared romantic moments with these lavish gifts, but extreme activities also keep this couple strong. "I think one of the things that binds Michael and I together and one of our common characteristics is that we both love adrenaline. We have skydived together, we climbed [Mount] Kilimanjaro for our honeymoon together. We did the Great Barrier Reef, which for him is nothing, but to me is everything because I've never been that deep in the ocean before. So bloody scary," Ashley said. "But when I came out, I just felt so close to Michael because I had done that with him. It definitely brings us closer together."
And despite all of their differences, that seems to be all this couple needs to be in love. "People ask all the time, 'What do you have in common? You're 29 years apart. He's from a different continent. He's a different race. He has a different political affiliation,'" Ashley said. "Like, I don't know if you could get anymore polarizing than Michael and me, but we have those common characteristics that just bring us together."
Of course, Michael has been a polarizing figure on RHOP this season, finding himself at odds with many of Ashley's castmates, more so than any other significant other on the show. "Michael is a very strong personality, period, so I knew that there would be some issues," Ashley said of the negative reception her husband seems to be getting among her fellow 'Wives. "He's just very assertive, and he knows exactly who he is. He won't change for absolutely anyone. Whereas I — and I think that's also because he's a man — as a woman, I'm more likely to adapt and more likely to try to bend myself to accommodate a situation, whereas Michael will go in as a steel rod and not move. So I could see that there would be some issues. He's very outgoing, fun, and some of the women are a little more conservative, we'll put it nicely. That's a recipe for disaster, if you ask me."
Appearing on a reality TV show together can be difficult for some couples, but not for Ashley and Michael. "Michael and I are actually stronger after being on The Real Housewives of Potomac because we're going through it together, and when I talk to him about it, he understands me," Ashley said. "I try to talk to my friends, or I try to talk to my family, but they don't really know where I'm coming from. But because Michael is actually living it with me, there's this commonality where he just gets me. And so it's made us stronger. He's my righthand man."
See more photos of Ashley and Michael that just ooze romance, as well as other throwback pics of the other RHOP ladies, below.