Why are Ashley and Michael Darby separating?

THE REAL Housewives of Potomac's Ashley Darby announced she and her husband Michael Darby are separating.

Ashley and Michael Darby were first introduced to fans in the first season of The Real Housewives of Potomac in 2016.

Why did Ashley and Michael Darby separate?

Bravo TV reported that in a statement to The Daily Dish, Ashley Darby said, "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 added, "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."

Is this the first time they've separated?

This is not the first time the couple has separated. They had previously separated in 2017 after an explosive episode on their Bravo show, in which they ran their restaurant, OZ.

In the episode, Ashley Darby threatened her husband with divorce and they later announced their separation.

She told People at the time that she still loved Michael and hoped they would get back together.

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"We’re taking the time to evaluate exactly what we expect from our relationship and if both of us can give each other what we need," she told the outlet at the time.

"We still really care about each other, so the foundation is there. It’s just a matter of repairing some of the faults in the foundation.”

However, Michael said on The Real Housewives of the Potomac reunion that their separation was due, in part, to their age difference.

Michael, who was 57 years old at the time, said because Ashley was still in her 20s, she was "feeling out who she is," while he was moving toward the end of his career.

Ashley told People it was primarily due to the "trials and tribulations" that came with opening and owning their restaurant.

"It took a toll on me personally and on our marriage," Ashley said, adding, "Being in business with your spouse is certainly not for the faint of heart.”

How did they meet?

Ashley Darby met Michael Darby while working as a bartender at a lounge in Washington, D.C. that he owned.

She was 22 years old and Michael was 29 years her senior, but that didn't matter when she saw him on a security camera.

Ashley said in a 2016 interview with Bravo TV, "I was talking to my manager in the main office when I watched Michael walk in on the security camera. Sweet baby Cleatus! Even with a blurry, black and white picture, I was hooked. Love at first sight is real, y’all!”

Rather than approach him and ask him out, Ashley instead asked him about a marketing internship.

After a few months working for him, Michael still hadn't made a move, so Ashley took control and asked him out for drinks.

"Moral of the story: trust your gut and go for what you want!" Ashley told the outlet.

They officially started dating in 2012 and after only a few months, Michael proposed in a helicopter ride of the Hudson River in New York.

They were married two years later.

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