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Is this the Bridgerton heartbreaker? Simone Ashley says she struggled when she split from first love

Is this ex-drummer the Bridgerton heartbreaker? Simone Ashley – who says she was left in pieces when she split from her first love – had two-year relationship with a coffee brand manager who left California

  • Simone Ashley described her mental health struggles after a failed romance
  • She fell for former Daytones drummer Luke Richardson,  13 years her senior
  • They met in East London cafe where he was working and moved in together 
  • They moved to Los Angeles as Miss Ashley pursued her fledgling screen career 
  • As they got closer together and marriage on the cards, Luke got cold feet 

When Bridgerton star Simone Ashley described her mental health struggles and ‘being hard on herself’ after a failed romance, no names were mentioned. 

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the 27-year-old’s first serious relationship was with coffee brand manager Luke Richardson, who is 13 years her senior.

The couple met in an East London cafe where he was working as a barista and quickly moved in together. 

They then moved to Los Angeles as Miss Ashley pursued her fledgling screen career, but their two-year relationship ended when Grimsby-born Mr Richardson – previously the drummer with indie rock group The Draytones, who once toured with Paul Weller – decided to leave California.

Coffee brand manager Luke Richardson

The couple met in an East London cafe where he was working as a barista and quickly moved in together. They then moved to Los Angeles as Miss Ashley pursued her fledgling screen career, but their two-year relationship ended when Grimsby-born Mr Richardson – previously the drummer with indie rock group The Draytones, who once toured with Paul Weller – decided to leave California 

Last month, Miss Ashley told how the role as feisty aristocrat Kate Sharma (above) in the Netflix period drama Bridgerton helped with her mental health after a break-up

Last month, Miss Ashley told how the role as feisty aristocrat Kate Sharma (above) in the Netflix period drama Bridgerton helped with her mental health after a break-up

Last month, Miss Ashley told how the role as feisty aristocrat Kate Sharma in the Netflix period drama Bridgerton helped with her mental health after a break-up.

The Surrey-born actress, who has 2.8 million Instagram followers, said: ‘I was going through a break-up in 2019 to 2020, just before I got Bridgerton, and I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was being so hard on myself.’

It is unclear if she was describing being upset at the break-up with Mr Richardson, which was thought to have been in 2017, or a split from a subsequent partner.

One of Mr Richardson’s family friends said: ‘Everything was great for a couple of years. We genuinely thought they were on track to marry and have kids. 

‘It was a serious relationship. There is no doubt that Luke was really in love with Simone and the feeling was clearly reciprocated.’

The source said that Miss Ashley quickly became ‘like one of the family’, but added: ‘The closer they seemed to get together, the more Luke seemed to get cold feet.

‘The way it ended was that it came down to this issue of him not wanting to stay in LA. They did the long-distance thing for a while, and that didn’t really work.’

Confirming the romance, Mr Richardson’s mother, Margaret, said: ‘Simone was just starting out. She was a lovely girl. She came to our house. 

‘But I just think her career was taking off – she needed to go to America, so it was just one of those things. It was not the right time for both of them.’

After the split, almost all of the social-media posts linking the pair were deleted.

One of the few remaining shows them at a wedding in Ireland in 2017, while Miss Ashley was also pictured holding an ice cream.

Referring to Mr Richardson, who went on to work in Bali for coffee brand Arabica, it was captioned: ‘Luke got me sprinkles.’

The MoS has contacted Miss Ashley’s team for comment.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk