Fans were shocked when news broke Tuesday that Ashley Judd, 44, and Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, 39, were splitting up after 12 years of marriage. The couple — which just celebrated their latest anniversary last month — seemed perfect from the outside.
Judd always appeared in the stands to watch her husband — a three-time Indy 500 champion — race. When the actress-turned-activist would make rare appearances on a red carpet, Dario Franchitti was always on her arm. For the most part, they seemed to live happily outside of Hollywood, splitting their time in between Scotland and Tennessee.
While the breakup is mutual and amicable, it begs the question: what went wrong? Let’s take a look at Ashley and Dario’s relationship timeline:
February 2, 1999: Ashley Judd and Dario Franchitti meet at “Beverly Hills 90210” star Jason Priestley’s wedding. Mutual friends were actually responsible for the set up, inviting Franchitti along in hopes he would click with Judd…and they did! Ashley Judd later said she was grateful her pals played matchmaker: "The result was ultimately us."
December 1999: The couple gets engaged while Franchitti was driving in the Champ Car World Series.
February 2000: Franchitti is rushed to the hospital after a terrible racing accident. While Dario recovered from a broken hip and pelvis, and bruising of the brain, Judd — who watched on as the crash happened — did not leave his bedside.
December 12, 2001: Ashley Judd weds Dario Franchitti in front of 300 guests in Scotland. Ashley’s sister Wynonna Judd was the maid of honor, while the groom's brother, Mario, was the best man.
February 21, 2003: The couple makes a rare PDA-filled public appearance in Hollywood at the MusiCares event honoring Bono.
January 16, 2005: Franchitti supports Judd at the Golden Globe Awards where she was nominated for her performance in “De-Lovely.”
February 2006: Judd enters a 47-day treatment program for emotional problems and depression. "I needed help. I was in so much pain," Judd told Glamour later that year. She also credited the program for helping her marriage: "I was unhappy, and now I'm happy. Now, even when I'm having a rough day, it's better than my best day before treatment."
May 28, 2007: Despite the Indiana downpour, the “Kiss the Girls” actress cheers on Franchitti as he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first time. Completely soaked, Judd climbed over the pit wall the first second she could to run over and congratulate her husband.
August 2008: Judd continues to shy away from Hollywood in favor of playing the role of supportive wife. "It is difficult to overstate how proud I am of my husband," Judd told USA Today when Franchitti briefly left IndyCar for NASCAR. "His willingness to chuck everything he knew — and at which he excelled at the highest level — for something totally new and unknown, I think he is utterly courageous. How many of us have that type of humility and adventuresome spirit?"
February 2010: Judd covers Redbook and talks about how every day she and Dario “do an appreciation.” Says the actress: “It was a suggestion from a friend who does it with his wife. Sometimes it's [she mimics gritting her teeth in annoyance and spits out], "I really appreciate..." But that's the point of the exercise — even when one is cross, to get some gratitude on board.”
May 30, 2010: Judd watches on as her husband wins the Indy 500 for the second time. She was so elated she kicked off her shoes before running across the tarmac just so she could reach him faster.
April 2011: Judd promotes her book “All That Is Bitter and Sweet,” a memoir in which she reveals a troubled childhood including emotional and sexual abuse. She attributes this abuse to her depression in 2006. While on her media blitz, Judd constantly talks about how happy she is in her marriage.
May 27, 2012: Appearing so in love, Ashley Judd cheers on her husband as he wins the Indy 500 for the third time. "Our cockapoos are proud of their Pappa," Judd tweeted along with a photo of their dog. "They gave him a lot of calm /focus/ love before the race."
May 31, 2012: Franchitti and Judd put their Scottish estate up for sale for a cool $5.9 million. Could this have been a sign trouble lay ahead? Or were they just adjusting to the recession like everyone else?
September 23, 2012: Judd and Franchitti happily pose for pictures together at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. This was the last red carpet the couple walked together.
November 2012: Buzz swirls that Ashley Judd is exploring a 2014 run for Senate to challenge Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
January 19, 2013: Ashley Judd steps out solo for The Kentucky Society of Washington’s Bluegrass Ball. Politico reports Judd said she is “honored” and “overwhelmed” by the support she has received for her possible campaign in Kentucky but reveals she has not yet decided on a run.
January 30, 2013: Judd and Franchitti release the following joint statement, first to People, saying: "We have mutually decided to end our marriage. We'll always be family and continue to cherish our relationship based on the special love, integrity, and respect we have always enjoyed.” Judd even tweeted: “Family forever. @dariofranchitti”
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