Ashley Darby, star of the hit Bravo series Real Housewives of Potomac, opened up about the sexual assault allegations against her husband Michael Darby, telling her therapist during a recent episode of RHOP that she “put on [her] smiling face,” in order to protect her husband.
“I knew if I got sad and I broke down, Michael would feel bad or guilty, so I wanted to be strong for him,” Ashley told her therapist. “So when I saw everybody, I put on my smiling face. I don’t want people to see me wallowing and see me sad or crying and think that I’m weak or don’t believe in my husband. It’s not a big deal. I know the truth about Michael, and that’s that.”
Michael Darby Was Accused of Groping a Cameraman on RHOP Last Year
Michael Darby was accused of sexual misconduct late last year after a cameraman named Orville Palmer alleged that he “grabbed and groped [Palmer’s] butt” while filming an episode of Real Housewives of Potomac, according to People. In initial reports, Palmer claimed Darby gave him “a flirtatious look” after the grope. You can see footage of the alleged incident above, around the 2:13 mark, and read the criminal complaint here.
The claim against Michael became public in court documents filed in September 2018. On October 4, a Montgomery County court dismissed the charges of felony assault and misdemeanor sexual conduct due to insufficient evidence, according to Us Weekly. Heavy checked the Maryland court website and found no documents on the case, likely due to the fact that the case was dropped and the charges removed from the system.
“The case was dismissed due to insufficient evidence,” a spokesperson for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, Ramon Korionoff, told Us Weekly. “The complaining witness states there were no witnesses who actually saw the incident.”
Ashley addressed the charges against Michael during an interview with The Daily Dish in May 2019, Bravo TV reported. “Those allegations that came were completely dismissed and all of the people who were there and were witnesses can attest that it didn’t happen,” she said. “This was an allegation that was proven to not be true, yet was treated with the same potency as what is true, and that’s really frustrating for me.”
Despite the charges being dropped, the reality star still struggled with the allegations against her husband and said the charges put an incredible strain on their relationship. When Ashley heard the news, on the show, she told her therapist that she “froze,” and that she couldn’t believe something like this could happen to her family. She said she doesn’t just view her husband as a partner, but also as a paternal figure, so she struggled to accept the allegations against him.
“When I got the news, I just froze,” she said. “It was not real that something like this was happening to my husband and I. My heart was racing, I was getting light-headed. Like, this just can’t be my reality.”
She continued: “Subconsciously and deep down I knew one of the things that draws me to Michael is that he’s nurturing and authoritative in a way that I would imagine a father would be. But I didn’t realize the hurt I experienced with my dad has also spilled over into my marriage,” Ashley said. “That part of me is still so raw.”
Ashley & Michael Are Still Together Today
The couple is doing well following the sexual assault allegations against Michael, according to the reality star. According to People, the couple is still together today. “We’re actually stronger than ever,” she said of herself and Michael, who recently welcomed their first child together on July 7, 2019.
She continued: “Even though this was a traumatic time for our relationship, and it did rattle us a little bit, we did come back stronger together. Now, had this happened before when Michael and I didn’t have the best foundation, I can’t exactly say how it would have played out, but we are so strong together, I know him, we’ve been through so much, and I feel just, I feel confident in the fact that this is the man that I love, I’m spending my life with, I want to father my children, and I know he’s a fair and honest person. He always has been.”
Tune in Sundays at 8 p.m. ET to catch the newest episode of Real Housewives of Potomac on Bravo TV.