There’s no doubt that Ashley Graham and her husband, Justin Ervin are total couple goals. The former, in particular, has been very open and honest about her relationship with the talented cinematographer and has regularly gushed about her love for her husband and their lengthy romance in various interviews and on social media.
Graham and Ervin first met under somewhat unexpected circumstances back in 2009 (but more on that, later) and dated for just over a year before the latter popped the question. The happy couple went on to welcome their first child into the world, a son named Isaac, in January 2020 (via People), and it really seems like these two just couldn’t be happier.
But for all the sweet moments Graham and her husband have shared, there are some, well, pretty strange things about their relationship, too. Read on for what you may not know about the former Sports Illustrated model and her husband.
Ashley Graham wasn't 'sure' about Justin Ervin when she agreed to be his girlfriend
Though most couples are usually pretty certain they’re with the one they want to be with when things are made official, Ashley Graham admitted that wasn’t exactly the case with her and Justin Ervin — despite them already having known each other for four months. She recalled her uncertainty in her 2017 memoir, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” (via Glamour), where she explained she wasn’t all that physically attracted to her now-husband when they first met.
Graham recalled Ervin asking her, “‘I really like you, and I really want to be your boyfriend. Will you be my girlfriend?'” While that seems like it could have been a fairytale moment for the couple, it wasn’t the most romantic moment for her. “I said yes. But the truth is, I wasn’t sure,” she wrote.
Graham revealed her uncertainty stemmed from her experiencing some bad relationships before she found love, as well as him not being her “type.” She joked of her first impression of Ervin, “With his short hair, ill-fitting, baggy Old Navy jeans, white Hanes T-shirt, and Converse sneakers, he exuded a major nerd factor.”
Justin Ervin called Ashley Graham 'the worst kisser' he's ever met
Though kissing is usually a pretty big indicator for whether things will go well between two people, Ashley Graham admitted her husband, Justin Ervin, actually thinks she’s “the worst kisser he ever met.” While most may want to keep their partner calling out their tonsil tennis skills quiet, the supermodel made the admission in her book, “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like.”
Graham wrote (via Glamour) that he thought she was so bad he took it upon himself “to teach [her] how to kiss.” But while it sounds like things may be a little better several years into their marriage, it’s actually a little surprising the two ever even got there. Sparks didn’t exactly fly the first time they locked lips, as Graham also described their first kiss as being “terrible.”
But it sounds like this one may be a source of playful contention for the couple (because, hey, who wants their spouse to say they’re bad at smooching?). While Ervin blamed Graham, she went on to put the blame on him. Speaking to Australia’s Stellar in 2018, she recalled their first time locking lips: “He said I was a bad kisser, but then I said, ‘You’re a bad kisser!’ It was sloppy, but now he’s such a good kisser I forgot how bad it was.”
Ashley Graham met Justin Ervin at church on 'Porn Sunday'
It turns out Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin have a very strange meet-cute. While “porn,” “Sunday” and “church” aren’t exactly three words usually found in the same sentence, that’s exactly where this love story began. Graham confirmed during a 2017 interview with In Style that she and Ervin met while “in church for ‘Porn Sunday,'” which she described as being “a day where ex-porn stars came in and talked about how their life had been changed by church and God.”
Graham divulged a few more details in “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like,” admitting, per Glamour, that she had a volunteer job at the church welcoming people and working the elevator. “When two tall men walked in, I didn’t bat an eye. One nudged the other and said, ‘If you don’t talk to her, I will.’ His friend left the elevator, but he stayed on,” Graham recalled, with the man that stayed behind being, you guessed it, Ervin.
As we now know, Graham didn’t feel an instant physical attraction to him, but there was something bubbling under the surface. “There was something sweet about Justin, and I was at church, so I had to be polite … He seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked. He was smart and funny and had traveled the world,” she remembered, sharing that was why she agreed to go on a date with him.
Justin Ervin gave Ashley Graham a short deadline to get married
It sounds like Justin Ervin was pretty keen to lock Ashley Graham down — and who could blame him? Speaking to BAZAAR Bride in 2019, Graham shared that Ervin gave her a very short deadline to head down the aisle immediately after proposing. Graham recalled her then-fiancé told her, “I want to get married in two months,” and that’s exactly what they did. The couple planned their nuptials quickly and got married in August 2010 (per PopSugar), around a year after meeting.
Graham also shared some sweet details about the proposal, suggesting that it was all caught on camera, though they haven’t made the footage public. She shared that Ervin popped the question while they were talking about marriage on their show, “The Justin and Ashley Show,” which never aired. Graham teased Ervin by saying, “You’re never going to ask me to marry you,” even though they both knew that they wanted to. He then asked her how she thought he’d pop the question, before showing her.
“He said, ‘Actually, I would do it like this…’ He told me how I was his best friend, how he wanted to do life with me, how he’d never met anyone like me… all these incredible things. And then he pulled a ring out, and said ‘Will you marry me?'” she shared. Awww!
Justin Ervin basically had to beg Ashley Graham for a second date
It turns out Justin Ervin had to be pretty darn persistent to get a second date with Ashley Graham after he made a big mistake with the supermodel during their first, which the latter recalled in “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” (per Glamour). Though the date itself went well (she wrote they had a “great time” together), the supermodel was seriously unimpressed when Ervin didn’t offer to pay the whole check.
“I went to the bathroom, and when I returned the check was still resting on the table with his half on top,” she remembered, and to quote “Pretty Woman,” it turns out that was a big mistake. Big. Huge. Graham wrote that she paid her half and vowed never to see him again. Ervin tried desperately to get her to go on another date and spent a whole month calling, texting, and even emailing her. His persistence paid off and he finally persuaded her to give him a second chance, where he explained his controversial decision.
Ervin told Graham he “assumed” because she was a model she was “one of those beautiful women who uses guys for a fancy dinner” and he didn’t want to be played, to which the latter explained she would never do that. He paid for that dinner (wise choice, it seems!) and also vowed to pay for the next one too.
Ashley Graham thinks Justin Ervin is 'weird'
Leading on from Justin Ervin’s decision not to pay the check on his first date with Ashley Graham, going Dutch actually turned out to be a major positive in their relationship. Graham confessed that the moment caused her to brand her now-husband “weird” because he was so unlike anyone else in the way he handled their minor falling out. Graham revealed in “A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like” (via Glamour) that talking things out with Ervin marked the first time she and someone she was dating had spoken so openly to one another, forming a solid foundation for their relationship in the years to come.
She called it a “profound” moment and admitted after they got it all out in the open that “all [she] wanted to do was keep talking to Justin. The consistency and openness was so new it felt weird.” Graham added that she “told him this all the time: ‘You’re weird.'”
Weird or not, it seems like this is a match made in heaven.
Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin had very different views on sex before marriage
Sex is a pretty big part of most relationships, so it can sometimes be surprising when couples who seem so compatible on the surface have very different views on something important like intimacy. That was the case for Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin, as the two abstained from sex before getting married because it was so important to the latter.
During a 2019 interview with Elle, Graham jokingly admitted that it marked a big change for her because she had “slept with half of New York City” before settling down with Ervin. That being said, she admitted in her book, “A New Model” (via Glamour) that she was happy to practice abstinence alongside him because it “was a firm commitment to his faith.” She shared that not getting physical too quickly allowed them to “build up [their] friendship” as well as their “trust and communication” before they introduced a physical side to their relationship.
But that doesn’t mean it was easy. “Of course, we were sexually attracted to each other — we would make out heavily. All those things were there. I wasn’t worried about, ‘What’s sex gonna be like with him?’ It was more, ‘Do I trust him? Is he someone I want to be with for the rest of my life?'” she added. To make sure they never got too tempted, Graham revealed that they would avoid going to each other’s apartments at night.
Praying with her husband gets Ashley Graham in the mood
While prayer may not exactly be the first thing people usually think of as an aphrodisiac, it turns out that speaking to God with her husband, Justin Ervin, is a major turn-on for Ashley Graham. The star, who was pregnant with her and Ervin’s first child at the time, revealed the somewhat strange sex quirk during an appearance on “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” in November 2019.
“I like to do meditations and prayer and so does he on his own, but then, when we do it together, it just feels more powerful,” she explained (per E!). “When we’re praying, it’s like, ‘Oh, s**t. Oh, oh, do you feel that?’ The lights go down, the worship music goes up and we’re like, ‘Hello!'” Graham added that as soon as they’re done praying they “rip [each other’s clothes] off” and get straight down to business. “It’s great. It’s a great bonding experience, for both, you know, the spiritual aspect and the physical aspect,” she added. Well, we guess maybe she has a point?
Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin didn't live together even after getting married
While it’s common for couples to live together both before and after heading down the aisle (and even with no plans to tie the knot at all), that wasn’t the case for Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin. The former revealed that even after they got married in 2010, they still didn’t move in together. It wasn’t like they were just down the street from one another either, as Graham and Ervin actually lived on opposite coasts. The supermodel called New York City home, while Ervin lived in Los Angeles where he worked as a cinematographer.
In March 2016, Graham opened up to ET about how she really felt about their long-distance love and shared that they put rules in place to make sure they spent enough time together. “We don’t go longer than two weeks without seeing each other. It’s absolutely fabulous. I love it. We just meet in L.A. or New York. We meet in Paris, Miami. It’s pretty sexy,” she admitted.
It’s not clear if the two moved in together on a more permanent basis after the birth of their son in January 2020, though Graham confirmed to Harper’s Bazaar in June 2020 that Ervin was in New York with her when she went into labor. They also quarantined together amid the coronavirus pandemic in her home state of Nebraska.
Justin Ervin held Ashley Graham's nude breasts for a Maxim photo shoot
While not all spouses would necessarily be comfortable with their partners stripping down for nude photoshoots, that wasn’t the case for Ashley Graham’s husband, Justin Ervin. In fact, Ervin was so supportive of his other half showing off her jaw-dropping curves to the world for an April 2016 spread for Maxim that he actually gave her a hand — or, more accurately, two. After much speculation, Graham confirmed the unique way her husband helped her while she posed topless.
“Yes, those are my husband’s hands supporting me,” Graham confirmed to ET, joking, “He supports me in more ways than one.” She also shared that she didn’t have to convince her spouse to take part, either. “What’s really funny is it was my husband’s idea to do that photo. We call it the Janet Jackson,” she said. Now that’s one (literally) supportive husband!
Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin tested out sex positions before sleeping together
NSFW alert! While Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin didn’t go all the way before they got married, that didn’t stop them from practicing for their first time — quite literally. Graham shared that she had considered how things would be physically between them when they finally got intimate, admitting during a 2017 interview with The Cut that they actually tested things out together to make sure their bodies were compatible.
She said that she’d previously dated “bigger guys,” so wasn’t sure it would work with Ervin. “My husband weighs less than me, but he feels bigger than me,” she explained. To make sure everything would run smoothly when it came time, the outlet noted that the model “tested [Ervin] out by having him toss her around in different positions before they were having sex.”
That’s certainly one way to get acquainted.
Justin Ervin has a unique nickname for Ashley Graham
While cute nicknames are commonplace in relationships, it turns out Justin Ervin has a somewhat NSFW pet name for his wife, Ashley Graham. The latter got candid about the special name he gave her while answering Vogue’s “73 questions” in February 2017, revealing his special name for her is “butt.” While it may not sound all that endearing, Graham certainly doesn’t seem to mind. It’s pretty self-explanatory why Ervin chose the cheeky (literally!) name for his other half, and Graham teased, “I don’t think I have to explain myself” with a glint in her eye.
The term may also have a deeper meaning for her, as Graham has been very open about how important it is for her to show others how to embrace their bodies. Speaking to Australia’s Stellar in February 2021, Graham admitted there are days she doesn’t want to talk “about [her] body, [her] cellulite, or [her] weird-shaped butt” but pushes through.
“At a very young age, when I wanted to give it all up, my mom told me, ‘Your body is going to change someone’s life,'” she said. “If I’m going to sit here and talk about my cube-butt and round cellulite arms and it makes someone out there go, ‘Thank goodness she’s talking about that because I don’t have to,’ or if it makes someone say, ‘Who cares?’ then I don’t care.” You go, girl!
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