90 Day Fiancé season 10 star Ashley Michelle met fiancé Manuel Vélez by chance 10 years ago while studying abroad in Ecuador. Despite their relationship ending the first time around, the pair gave their romance a second chance and it led them to the K-1 visa process. TLC fans are curious if the couple is still together after reconnecting their romance more than seven years later.
How Did ‘90 Day Fiance’ Stars Ashley and Manuel Meet?
Ashley is originally from Rochester, New York, and during her undergrad years of college, she had a dream that inspired her to visit somewhere tropical.
“I was literally in the woods, in the jungle and I was like, working with the Earth somehow and it prompted me to talk to my biology teacher,” the self-proclaimed witch explained during the season 10 premiere, which aired on October 9, 2023. “And she’s like, ‘We’re going to Ecuador in December.’ And I was like, ‘Sign me up,’ and I went. I met Manuel that first year.”
Ashley revealed they met on New Year’s Eve after the Ecuador native asked her to dance. While the pair were “inseparable” and engaged within a week, the New York native admitted they were “caught up in the moment being young and in love.”
Unfortunately, upon her arrival home, the international couple tried to have a long-distance relationship but split not too long after.
The season 10 couple reconnected more than seven years later, only one week after Ashley got out of a long-term relationship. “I feel like everybody can relate to this. When you get out of a relationship, the exes come out of the woodwork, even if you haven’t announced it,” she told producers. “And Manuel, out of nowhere, [was like] ‘Hola.’”
Ashley admitted that when Manuel was in his 20s, he was a little bit of a “f—k boy.” The season 10 star also considered herself a “witch,” owning her own business that specializes in tarot, astrology and shadow work.
The entrepreneur also acknowledged that Manuel didn’t know the extent of her “witchy practice,” and worried about how he would receive it once he arrived to the United States.
How Did Manuel React to Ashley Being a Witch?
Upon his arrival in New York, Manuel immediately had issues with her dog, Rico Suave, sleeping in their bed with them and also had a hard time understanding her being a witch.
“It’s a person whose attributes are magical powers obtained from the devil,” Manuel said as he read the definition of the word “witch” as they sat for dinner during the October 15, 2023, episode. In a private confessional, the Ecuador native told producers, “A witch looks to tie up and hurt people. It’s very hard for me to hear her say that. And it hurts me. It really hurts me because I’m very Catholic.”
What Other Obstacles Did 90 Day Fiance’s Ashley and Manuel Face?
While the pair worked through the issue and “banged it out,” Ashley learned that Manuel had a lot of family in New York during the October 29, 2023, episode.
Manuel’s phone had been inoperable since arriving in the United States and Ashley opted to purchase him a new phone. While initially, he was adamant about using his own phone to contact his relatives, his mother eventually gave them Ashley’s phone number.
“So they’ve been blowing up my phone to talk to him,” Ashley told producers, revealing they called more than nine times. “Why are you calling so much? I didn’t know who you guys were when he was over in Ecuador. Now you’re blowing him up?”
Ashley was glad he had family nearby for close support but wanted Manuel to make sure he was there for their relationship. “They are secondary,” Ashley emphasized in another scene. “I’m not saying this man is here for a visa. I truly believe he loves me, but I also believe that if things don’t work out and if we don’t get married, he has no intention of going back to Ecuador.”
In the midst of their issues, Ashley and Manuel visited a therapist to get “clarity on their relationship.” The New York native felt Manuel was “living a double life” as she had never met his two teenage children.
“Now I’m this lady that his boys have no clue who I am. All they know is that I took their dad away,” Ashley explained to the medical professional during the November 19, 2023, episode. “Like it’s putting me in the s–tiest place ever, you know?”
Manuel felt the language barrier would be difficult and felt Ashley would “lose her patience” trying to understand the way his kids spoke. “Ashley is very intense at times. She lights up quickly,” he told producers in a private confessional. “My kids are only 12 and 14 years old and I still have to protect their well-being. But I hope everything changes.”
During the counseling session, Ashley also questioned why Manuel had to send $250 home to Ecuador, despite not making any money himself.
“You can’t work, so I am being required to do it,” she told cameras. “So when were you going to have a conversation with me about what it is you were promising others in my name?” The session ended in a heated argument, with Manuel refusing to get in the car with Ashley and opting to walk home.
Their issues over finances didn’t stop there. Ashley and Manuel were on opposite ends when it came to their wedding as he felt their planned Florida nuptials were too expensive.
When shopping for wedding dresses, Ashley’s mom, Stacey, asked her if she felt Manuel was going to take good care of her once they were married. Despite Ashley saying she thinks he would, when asked her opinion, Ashley’s mom responded, “I think the jury’s still out.”
“I just worry because her expectations are so high for him. And I don’t know if he can deliver them,” the matriarch said in a confessional during the December 17, 2023, episode. “I’m just worried, [if] he just doesn’t get his way and runs off. That’s not adult behavior.”
In a private interview, Ashley’s sister admitted some people were “turned off” by Manuel and didn’t “want to be around him.” “I think there needs to be a lot of growing in his maturity,” she continued. “If he wants to be with Ashley, he’s gonna have to bend.”
Stacey and Manuel faced off later that episode as Ashley’s mom wanted to ask him the “tough questions” about his behavior.
“You get upset, mad, don’t run away,” she told him through her phone translator app. “That scares Ashley.”
Meanwhile, Manuel bluntly responded, “That’s just how it works for me.”
“When I get angry and she doesn’t understand me, I prefer to shut up and go out and relax,” Manuel continued. When asked if he was “sure” he wanted to get married, Manuel said “Yes” but Ashley’s “attitude” gets in the way.
Later, the couple prepared to travel to Florida for their wedding. They had a pre-wedding party with some friends, but one of Ashley’s pals declined to come because he didn’t trust Manuel. Meanwhile, despite celebrating the upcoming nuptials, Manuel felt sad that his family couldn’t be there, which worried Ashley.
Are ‘90 Day Fiance’ Stars Ashley and Manuel Still Together?
Despite their issues, Ashley and Manuel are seemingly still together. Ashley shared photos from a trip to Lake Ontario in December 2023.
“Lake Ontario is a Great Lake not a finger lake, still it’s a lot of agua dulce,” she captioned a picture of her and Manuel in the sun.
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