Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo has confirmed that he and wife Francesca Abbott have separated, explaining in a joint statement shared on social media that “sometimes after so many years people just move in different directions”.
This is what you need to know.
Are Ashley Banjo and Francesca Abbott getting divorced?
In a joint statement shared on both Banjo and Abbott’s respective Instagram stories, the pair revealed that they had made the “difficult decision to separate” last year.
The statement read: “After much thought and consideration we both feel now is the time to share some personal news. Nearly 18 months ago we took the difficult decision to separate. After being together for over 16 years, since we were teenagers, this is not a decision that has been taken lightly. It has not been easy and the processing of the situation has not been fast by any means. But we feel that as we approach the new year it is time to share this news with others.
“Our main focus will always be our beautiful children. Every decision that has been made is to make sure we can continue as a loving family and give the very best of ourselves as parents. Raising Rose and Micah in a healthy and happy environment is the most important thing to both of us. Sometimes after so many years people just move in different directions, but we do so lovingly and we continue to try and be both the best parents possible and the best of friends to each other.
“We have always been private with our personal lives, so we kindly ask that everyone please continue to respect that privacy. We won’t be making any further comment on the situation.
“Thank you… Lots of love, Ash and Chess x”
Who is Francesca Abbott?
Abbott works as a talent manager, and is part of the Diversity Management Team, the dance group that Banjo is a part of and with whom he found fame after they won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.
Like Banjo, Abbott is also a dancer, having previously been part of the all female dance troupe Out Of The Shadows. The group, which Banjo choreographed for, was known for performing at a variety of large events, as well as representing brands and companies like River Island, Adidas and Pineapple.
How long have they been together?
Banjo and Abbott had been together for over 16 years, with the two beginning their relationship when they were both teenagers. In an old Instagram post, Banjo had revealed that he had taken Abbott to the Science Museum in London for their first date in 2005, saying that he wanted to “impress her with how much I know about the nerdiest subjects possible”.
The pair tied the knot on 4 July 2015, after 10 years together. They got married at a venue in Essex following a six month long engagement.
Do they have children?
Banjo and Abbott share two children together. Their first child, daughter Rose, was born in 2019, with Banjo posting on social media at the time: “Our beautiful daughter came into the world at 6:45pm on 21st February 2019 - weighing a healthy 8lbs and 13oz. Her name is Rose Adura Banjo. I am in the deepest love ever with my little family.”
Their second child, son Micah, was born in March 2020 at the beginning of the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Instagram, Banjo wrote: “On Thursday the 26th March at 6:45pm our son come into the world weighing a healthy 8lbs 15oz. His name is Micah Grace Banjo… Our son, our little ray of light in a dark and uncertain time. @francescabanjo and I love him with the deepest part of our hearts.”
Discussing fatherhood in an interview with the Sun last year, Banjo said: “The past few years have been amazing, you always hear the words that it is ‘life-changing when you have kids’ but you never really know what it is like until you experience it. Kids are the best thing that has happened to me in my life. But oh my gosh, I feel like I experience dad guilt 24/7 if I am honest.
“Just because you want to do more for them don’t you? It’s a really interesting position where you are lucky to be able to give them a lot but one thing that you can’t always give them a lot of is your time, and it is like the most precious commodity.”