RHOP’s Ashley Darby Shares How Ex Michael Feels About Luke Gulbranson Romance Amid Split, Plus Dishes on Their Budding “Friendship”

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RHOP’s Ashley Darby Shares How Ex Michael Feels About Luke Gulbranson Romance Amid Split, Plus Dishes on Their Budding “Friendship”

Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo

The Real Housewives of Potomac’s Ashely Darby is opening up more about her budding relationship with Summer House star, Luke Gulbranson, including how her estranged husband, Michael Darby, is reacting to the coupling.

Speaking to Page Six’s Virtual Reali-Tea podcast, Ashely, 34, shared that Michael, 63, hadn’t really paid much attention to her dating life. That is, until Ashley and Luke, 38, seemingly went Instagram official with their “friendly” relationship after posting a photo of the two at a Washington Capitals hockey game.

Ashley knew the photo may cause a little tension between her and Michael and noted that she and Luke “had a little conference” on whether to post the photo, before ultimately deciding to go forward with the snap.

‘Should we really take this picture?’” the RHOP star recalled. “Because we’re both being a little bit private about this, you know? So, he was like, ’Should we?’ And I was like, ‘Eh, why not?’ So, we took the picture.”

So now that Michael has seen Luke, Ashley said that Michael is “not too fond” of the pair, remarking, “It’s probably not his wallpaper on his phone, for sure.”

Ashely remains unbothered by her ex’s opinions because, according to her, Michael’s “living his best life” at the moment, so she should be able to as well.

“Let’s be fair, he’s an attractive man,” Ashley said. “I know he’s a little bit older, but he’s still got his personality, his business is thriving. So, Michael, even though this is a difficult time for him too — as he’s told me — he’s doing his thing, he’s floating like a butterfly.”

According to Page Six, Ashely and Luke began to hit it off after meeting during BravoCon 2022. Also, Andy Cohen urged the two Bravolebrities to get together.

“We watched Tom perform on stage, and it was so good. Both of us got really wrapped up in the music. I was, like, with somebody who I was meant to be [with] at that concert. It was a really surreal feeling,” Ashley remembers.

She continued saying that the two were “vibing and singing together,” and she began to realize that there was a spark there, and it was “a little more than I thought it was going to be.”

Since their meeting, the two have been spotted together multiple times. However, Ashley claims the two are just “establishing” a friendship and keeping it casual for the time being.

“I do really want to get to know him first, and we really are friends. Like, when I tell you we’re establishing a friendship, I’m not even exaggerating that,” Ashely insisted.

She also noted that it’s “refreshing” to be “connecting with someone” who is also in the Bravo-sphere.

Ashely continued to gush over Luke calling him a “really great guy” as well as “compassionate [and] kind” after initially thinking he would turn out to be a jerk.

I’m going to be honest, when I first heard about him, I didn’t know anything about him … but that he’s very attractive. And I’m like, ‘Oh gosh, is he just going to be this, like, pretty douche?’” she confessed.

The early stages of Ashley and Michael’s divorce are currently playing out on season 7 of The Real Housewives of Potomac, airing Sunday nights at 8 PM EST on Bravo.