Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his pop star wife Ciara are relationship goals. But few people know that prior to their 2016 nuptials, Wilson was married to a blonde babe by the name of Ashton Meem. Meem is notoriously private, but we've managed to get some crucial details about their union. Read on to get the scoop on Wilson's first go at married life.
Ashton Meem is the first and former wife of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. She's an only child born to Molly and Lang Meem on September 6, 1987, in Richmond, Virginia. Meem was educated at St. Catherine’s, a private all-girls school in Richmond, and later attended the University of Georgia. She eventually transferred to North Carolina State University and graduated in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in communications.
Meem and Wilson were first introduced as teenagers in the early aughts.
"We met briefly in high school," Meem told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the couple's 2012 wedding announcement. "Then again at a summer party and after that started seeing each other." The couple began dating and maintained a long-distance relationship while in college. Meem transferred from the University of Georgia to NC State in order to be closer to Wilson. A year after she graduated, her boyfriend transferred to play football for the University of Wisconsin.
On August 1, 2010, Wilson arranged a surprise stay in the Presidential Suite of an upscale hotel in Cary, North Carolina. There, with their dog Penny as a witness, he got on one knee and proposed to Meem. Her parents waited outside to offer their congratulations, but as Wilson explained, "I had arranged for everyone in the lobby to be quiet."
The couple was married in front of 300 guests on Jan. 14, 2012, at the Country Club of Virginia. However, a honeymoon was put on hold because the ceremony took place in between Wilson's NFL training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Meem and Wilson had an incredible honeymoon phase. Three months after they tied the knot, Wilson was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Two weeks after that, he signed a four-year, $2.99 million contract.
But behind the scenes, their journey eventually hit a rough patch. In April 2014, Wilson filed for divorce. He provided a statement via The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta:
"I have made the difficult decision to file for divorce. Clearly, decisions like these don’t come easy. Ashton and I respectfully ask for prayers, understanding and privacy during this difficult time. Moving forward, I will have no further comment on this personal matter."
USA Today noted that there had been 13 weeks between the time Wilson made the announcement and the last time he posted a photo of his wife on social media. So what went wrong?
Following the announcement of Wilson and Meem's split, rumors swirled about the potential causes. One popular theory is that Meem allegedly cheated on her husband with his then-teammate Golden Tate. Another former Seahawk, Percy Harvin, reportedly punched Tate during the week of the 2014 Super Bowl over the matter.
Tate responded to the allegations in a lengthy personal essay published on The Cauldron. He wrote:
"I did not have an affair with Russell Wilson’s wife, nor did I have anything to do with his divorce. That is laughable for anyone who knows us. His ex-wife, Ashton, is still best friends with my girlfriend. Russell and I were good friends when I was in Seattle, on and off the field — he knows the rumors about me were unfounded, damaging to my reputation, and an attack on my character. Anyone who circulated that rumor was just plain irresponsible."
He also went on a Twitter spree, writing that "the ignorant minority of people, bloggers and whoever else spreading ridiculous rumors should cut it out."
To date, no one has fessed up to infidelity and no proof exists to confirm the allegations. The only other party to speak out was Tate’s girlfriend, Elise Pollard, who supported her man in refuting the rumor.
"[The story] was made up by a blogger," she reportedly wrote in an Instagram comment section. "Golden, Russell, Ashton, and I know how stupid it is."
Meem has kept a low profile ever since her divorce. Her Twitter account is private, and her Instagram account, in which she still refers to herself as Ashton Wilson, hasn't been active since 2017. According to her LinkedIn profile, Meem currently works in advertising for an insurance firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Unlike other pro athlete wives (and ex-wives) who seek to match the fame of their partners, Meem appears to prefer staying out of the spotlight. She reportedly hasn't remarried (yet), while Wilson has gone on to wed Ciara. He's currently the father to three of her children, including one from her previous relationship with Future.