Sorry, Ashley Darby and Luke Gulbranson shippers, the couple has decided to call it quits! The Real Housewives of Potomac star confirmed on Sunday’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that after less than three months of dating, it’s officially a wrap for the Bravolebrities.
“Luke and I are not romantically involved anymore,” the 34-year-old reality star told Cohen and the audience, responding to the speculation that spread after the two had deleted photos of the other from their respective Instagram accounts late last month.
She explained that her ongoing divorce with estranged husband Michael Darby — with whom she shares sons Dean, 3, and Dylan, nearly 2 — is to blame for their split.
“It was my situation with Michael that affected Luke and I,” she shared, noting that she and Michael “have a really hard time” co-parenting and separating. “Really, my life is very complicated. As you guys can imagine, I’m going through a very difficult situation.”
But Darby noted that Gulbranson “was a trouper,” adding that the Summer House alum “went through some things” during their time together. She also revealed that she had even met his entire family during their time together. “They were amazing, I fell in love with them. So great,” she said.
Darby and Gulbranson made headlines with a flirtation that struck up at last year’s BravoCon in New York City. ET spoke with the Potomac star about her text exchange with the 39-year-old reality star, where she told ET, “They’re actually super innocent. I invited him to come hang out with us.”
Admitting that she’s in her “hot girl villain era,” Ashley agreed that Luke “is a man.”
“I know he is! And that’s like a little bit intimidating for me honestly,” Darby confessed. “He’s really hot and he knows it.”
Blushing, Ashley quipped, “I can’t believe how hot my face is at this moment…I have to admit, I get a little tingle when I look at Luke’s picture — so that’s a good sign.”
Darby’s “unconventional” marriage to Michael has long been a focus of discussion amongst the RHOP OG’s co-stars and viewers alike. In the beginning, there were questions about why a beautiful, young pageant queen would tie the knot with an older businessman, who largely already lived his life. Then, as the seasons went on, new questions started to poke at the ins and outs of their relationship, with claims of infidelity and suspicion of inappropriate behavior becoming a main theme in the show’s storylines.
Back in October, she chatted with ET about the “difficult decision,” explaining that “I just really am a different person than I was was when he met me.”
“I do want people to remember that we’re human, that I’m a human,” she said as a message to viewers, “and I really do wish that I could operate in this very linear, ‘This is how it’s gonna go and so it shall be…’ but these emotions are really complex, and I just I hope people do have an understanding of that. It’s been a challenging time for me.”
The star couldn’t exactly boil down her decision to end things to one reason, but shared that she and her estranged husband “just have different expectations for the relationship.” After Darby gave birth to her and Michael’s sons, she shared how she was ready to put some of their past habits behind them, like inviting third parties into the bedroom.
“It has just sort of been a long time coming,” she lamented. “And yes, there is something that happened, that I do share in this season, that was sort of the pivotal moment that made it come to fruition, but ultimately … it’s just been piling up, if you will.”
But don’t count the mom of two out just yet! Despite her trials with Michael and the brief stint with Gulbranson, Darby told Cohen on WWHL that she isn’t worried about getting back into the dating scene. “This is my first relationship after. And it’s nice to be reminded that I am that girl and I love to love and I love to be loved,” she told Cohen, even encouraging him to put his matchmaking skills to work as he did for her and Gulbranson. “Give me all the love!”
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