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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Kyle O'Sullivan

Dawn Ward's Premier League footballer husband and why she left Real Housewives

Dawn Ward first hit our screens in the first ever episode of The Real Housewives of Cheshire back in 2015 - and is now more famous than her footballer husband.

The reality TV star, who was never far from controversy on the ITVBe show, decided to quit in December 2020 after 12 series of drama.

The businesswoman lives in a stunning £15million mansion with her ex-Premier League footballer husband.

Dawn is married to former striker Ashley Ward, who appeared for a host of clubs during his 16-year career including Manchester City, Leicester, Norwich, Blackburn and Bradford.

The couple, who tied the knot at St Michael's Church in Middleton in June 1995, share four children together - Aston, Charlie, Taylor and Darby.

Ashley retired from professional football in 2005 and has set up a number of businesses with his wife, including running a nursing home and management of luxury property development.

Dawn Ward is married to former footballer Ashley Ward (MEN)

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Dawn has described her hubby, who she first met in a pub in Bolton after returning from her London life as a model, as her "rock".

"We got married and had children so my work was put on the back burner really for a number of years," she explained.

"Ashley was my first proper boyfriend. He's my best friend and my business partner. He's my rock."

Last year, the couple shared gushing tributes to one another on their 26th wedding anniversary - and looked forward to becoming grandparents for the first time.

In June 2021, Dawn wrote: "Happy anniversary to my best friend @ashersnine 26 years today. We have shared so much together I love you more everyday.

"We have the best children and this time next year we will be grandparents where has the time gone.

"Thank you for being the best husband, dad and soon to be pops here's to the rest of our lives together. Love you so much Darling."

Dawn and Ashley are business partners as well as husband and wife (Manchester Evening News)
Dawn has described Ashley as her 'rock' (David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

Showing his love for his wife, Ashley then posted snaps of the pair together and claimed she would be "one of the world's most glamorous grannies".

The former footballer wrote: "Happy Anniversary to my gorgeous wife of 26 years! Time has flown by so fast - I wouldn't believe it was so long if there wasn't records to prove it!

"I'm sure your getting younger each year and will soon be surely one of the world's most glamorous grannies [sic]!!!! Thanks for all the great years and here's to many more to come xxxx."

Dawn and Ashley became grandparents last year when her daughter Darby gave birth to baby Skye.

"This is by far the best post I’ve ever posted," Dawn wrote on Instagram. "Meet my gorgeous granddaughter Skye Lynne Jackson. We are so in love with her I cannot believe I’m a nanna."

Dawn also revealed she was present at the birth of her granddaughter and thanked her daughters fiance, Michael Jackson, for sharing the "most incredible experience" with her.

"I cannot describe how proud I am of @darbyward she was unbelievable and already is the best Mummy ever," she continued.

"I’ve been waiting for days to share her picture with you she’s just perfect I can’t stop looking at her. I’m so excited for the future can’t wait to spoil her rotten."

Ashley isn't the only professional footballer in the family, as their daughter Taylor was "secretly married" to Manchester City winger Riyad Mayhrez at the end of last year.

According to The Sun, the parents-to-be tied the knot at a Muslim ceremony known as the Nikah and signed a contract to ensure they were legally married under Islamic law, after the footballer popped the question with a £400,000 ring.

Earlier this year, Taylor confirmed she is expecting her first child with the Algeria national team's captain in an Instagram Story, so Dawn will have another grandchild.

According to Cheshire Live, it was recently reported the the 48-year-old has the highest net worth out of all the the other Real Housewives.

Spears estimate her worth as upwards of £42 million, which is a result of her success as a TV star and through her career as an interior designer and business woman.

Dawn shocked Real Housewives viewers at the end of 2020 when she announced she was leaving the show for good to pursue projects with her family.

In a statement, she explained: "Having been on the real housewives of Cheshire for almost 7 years & 12 seasons, I’ve had the most incredible journey, not just me, but my whole family. It really has been amazing for us.

"Season 12 has now come to an end and filming has finished. It’s been difficult this season with the pandemic but the cast and our amazing production team have pulled it off again, it’s been fun!

Dawn's daughter Taylor is pregnant with her first child with Riyad Mahrez (Instagram)
Taylor and Riyad reportedly got married in secret (Instagram)

"Everyone who knows me knows I’m all about my family, so I’ve decided that after 12 seasons on the show I would like to concentrate on projects with them. I am so grateful to ITV, Monkey Kingdom and all the amazing cast over the years past and present!

"Most importantly the amazing fans for their incredible support. It’s a great show and will only go from strength to strength as it’s done since season 1.

"I want to wish everyone involved on the show the best of luck and I can’t wait to tune in for season 13! Once again thank you so much for all your support, you really have been incredible. Exciting times ahead"

But it seems she won't be off our screens for much longer as Dawn is reportedly getting her own spin-off show - with husband Ashley, their kids and partners getting involved.

A source told The Sun : "Dawn was one of the most popular Housewives so it’s no surprise that she has landed her own show.

"She has a fabulous and vibrant family - and they live an incredible life. Fans will finally get to see what really goes on behind closed doors.

"Filming started a few weeks ago and they’ve already been shooting in Dubai, so the show looks set to be super glamorous."

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