Real Housewives of Potomac star Ashley Darby‘s husband Michael Darby was charged with sexual assault, according to Us Weekly. Michael was charged with felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual contact after he allegedly groping and grabbing the butt of a cameraman Orville Palmer, who was filming an episode of the hit Bravo reality TV series.
The incident occurred on Sept. 1, according to District Court of Maryland documents that were filed on Sept. 4, which were obtained by Radar. “I was operating the camera filming for the TV show Real Housewives of Potomac. As I walked out to the pool patio area, Michael Darby grabbed and groped my butt several times. As I turned around he smiled and gave me a flirtatious look,” Palmer wrote in his statement to police.
Michael is set to appear in court on Oct. 16, and if convicted, Michael would be facing up to 11 years in prison. He did not immediately respond to Life & Style‘s request for comment.
Michael appears as a supporting character in Ashley’s storyline on RHOP. The couple has been open about the issues in their marriage on the show, like Ashley’s desire to have children even though Michael is reluctant, as well as Michael’s strained relationship with Ashley’s mother and the rest of her family. Their Season 3 storyline featured Ashley and Michael working on their relationship after choosing to stay together and not divorce.
Shortly after the news broke, fans flooded the comments section of Ashley’s recent Instagram post. “Is the news true? Did your husband grope a man? Ashley, you are beautiful and intelligent. Don’t waste your youth and life on this man,” one fan wrote, while another commented, “Girl file for a divorce, he is embarrassing you AGAIN [sic]!!! Clearly ur [sic] husband likes men!”
Back in 2016, rumors started swirling about Michael’s alleged affair with another man. During a recent episode of RHOP, Ashley’s co-star Karen Huger brought up the rumors again during a fight with Ashley and Ashley continued to deny the rumors.
“Every time I ask Karen a question, she brings up the rumors swirling about Michael,” the 30-year-old said in her confessional. “For the record, they are not true. No one has ever seen my man with another man.”