Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin met when they were just 21 years old but they have been in love ever since. After meeting at church in 2009, the model and film director decided to give dating a try. Just a year later, the couple tied the knot. The married duo has supported each other over the years as Graham's modeling career and body activism grew. Ervin also was a cinematographer and director on multiple films and shorts.
After almost a decade together, Graham and Ervin were ready to grow their family. In 2020, the couple had their first son named Isaac Menolik Giovanni Ervin. The following year, Graham became pregnant with twins. In January 2022, she gave birth to two boys, Malachi and Roman. Throughout their years together, the couple have documented moments of their love for each other and their family on social media. Ahead, see their full relationship timeline.
- Graham and Ervin first meet at a church event in 2009.
- The couple get engaged after one year and married two months after that in 2010.
- The model and director welcome their first son Isaac in 2020.
- Graham gives birth to twin boys Malachi and Roman in 2022.
Early 2009: Graham and Ervin Meet at Church
Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin first met each other in the elevator at church. However, the event that they were there for wasn't necessarily the most PG subject matter. They were both "in church for 'Porn Sunday.'" Graham explained in a now-deleted interview with Instyle UK, according to Harper's Bazaar. "It's a day where ex-porn stars came in and talked about how their life had been changed by church and god." The model was only 21 years old at the time.
In an essay adaptation of her memoir "A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like" for Glamour, Graham wrote: "One Sunday my volunteer position was to stand in the elevator welcoming people, passing out candy and pushing the button to the eighth floor. When two tall men walked in, I didn’t bat an eye. One nudged the other and said, 'If you don’t talk to her, I will.' His friend left the elevator, but he stayed on.
'I shrugged. This guy wasn’t my type," she wrote. "With his short hair, ill-fitting, baggy Old Navy jeans, white Hanes T-shirt, and Converse sneakers, he exuded a major nerd factor. But there was something sweet about Justin, and I was at church, so I had to be polite. He rode up and down with me a few times, and he seemed to be looking into my soul when we talked. He was smart and funny and had traveled the world. So I agreed to go out for coffee."
Spring 2009: Graham and Ervin's First Date Was Almost Their Last
The pair went on their first date shortly after meeting at church. However, Graham had reservations once it was over. "The day arrived, and we had a great time—until the check came," she wrote in her essay for Glamour. "I went to the bathroom, and when I returned the check was still resting on the table with his half on top. 'Here you go,' he said, handing me the bill. I paid my share of the $5.25 and thought, 'This is the last date.'"
"For a month Justin called, texted, and emailed, but I stuck to my guns. Finally he persuaded me to go out for falafel. 'Let me explain,' he said. 'I’m going to pay for dinner tonight. And I’m going to pay for the next dinner after that. When you told me you were a model, I assumed you were one of those beautiful women who uses guys for a fancy dinner. I don’t play that game. I do well for myself, and I’ve been burned because of it. I don’t want to go out with anyone who only has me around so I can pay for stuff.' And just like that, I had my first experience of what it meant to communicate with a man," she shared. "It was profound; all I wanted to do was keep talking to Justin. The consistency and openness was so new it felt weird."
Summer 2009: Graham and Ervin Enter a Relationship
After dating casually for a few months, Graham and Ervin made it official. "Four months into our knowing each other, my now husband, Justin, said, 'I really like you, and I really want to be your boyfriend. Will you be my girlfriend?' I said yes," wrote Graham for Glamour.
Late 2009: Ervin Meets Graham's Grandparents in Nebraska
Ervin meeting Graham's grandparents was a unique situation for the couple. Graham didn't tell them that Ervin is Black ahead of introducing them in Nebraska for the first time. She shared in her memoir that she hadn't grown up with many Black people in her small town. "The sum total of what I learned about African-American culture in school was Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and the Underground Railroad. This was more than my mom knew; she didn’t even see a Black person in real life until she was 18 years old."
"I never told Justin any of this, and I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was Black. I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind—which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold. She greeted him and immediately walked away. When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, 'Tell that guy I said goodbye.' I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock."
The model wrote that Ervin showed compassion and understanding about the situation, even going as far as remembering to call Graham's grandma on her 60th wedding anniversary. "Afterward Grandma called my mom and said, 'You’ll never guess who called me.' And from then on out, she loved him," wrote Graham.
June 2010: The Couple Get Engaged After a Year of Dating
After just a year of dating, Ervin proposed to Graham on the stoop of their apartment in Brooklyn. They were filming episodes of an unreleased web cam series they called The Justin and Ashley Show. Graham joked how he was never going to ask her to marry him. The model later told Bazaar Bride, "He was like ‘how would I do it anyway?’ And I said, ‘Well, you would do it like this: You would tell me how much you love me, you would pull out a ring, you would tell me all the things, and you would get down on one knee.’ He said, 'Actually, I would do it like this...' He told me how I was his best friend, how he wanted to do life with me, how he'd never met anyone like me...all these incredible things. And then he pulled a ring out, and said, 'Will you marry me?'"
August 14, 2010: Graham and Ervin Tie the Knot
Two months after getting engaged, Graham and Ervin said "I do." She shared details about her dress in an interview with Hello Magazine. "I had to compromise so much when it came to the dress," she said. "When [my husband] asked me to marry him, he was like, 'Ok, so I want to get married in a couple of months.' So my engagement was very short."
"I wanted to buy my dress with my mom and my grandma, which was one of my last memories with my grandma so it was incredibly special. When we got to one of the only two or three stores where I went shopping with my family, I couldn't buy a dress off of the rack because there was just nothing in my size. So I had to get a dress that I think was a size 10 or 12 and I was a size 14 or 16. I had to compromise the size, the color, and the actual look of it. It was a tiered skirt. I took the train off, I took some of the bedazzles off, and I also made it into a strapless [dress] because I wanted it to be ultra sexy."
Graham also revealed in an interview with Elle in 2019 that the couple waited until marriage to have sex with each other. She said, "I slept with half of New York City" by the time the couple began dating. However, they waited out of respect for each other's faith. She did joke that they now have sex all the time.
February 2016: The Couple Make Their Red Carpet Debut
Graham appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue in 2016, and had her husband by her side in support. The couple had one of their first of many red carpet appearances together for an event with the publication. "He really is my number one fan and the coach of life for me," Graham later told PeopleTV.
February 2019: Graham and Ervin Attend the Vanity Fair Oscar After Party
Graham and Ervin hit the red carpet over the years in plenty of great looks. The cream two-piece set that the model wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar's After Party was one great bridal-inspired design for date night.
August 14, 2019: The Couple Announce They're Expecting
On their ninth anniversary, Graham shared major news to her Instagram followers that she was expecting her first child with Ervin. The couple filmed a video sharing the news and the body activist's bump, along with the caption: "Nine years ago today, I married the love of my life. It has been the best journey with my favorite person in the world! Today, we are feeling so blessed, grateful and excited to celebrate with our GROWING FAMILY! Happy anniversary, @mrjustinervin ❤️ Life is about to get even better. 😘"
December 2019: The Couple Posed in "Vogue"
Graham graced the cover of Vogue with her baby bump for the January 2020 issue. Inside the spread, she discussed her upcoming motherhood and posed not only with her bump, but also with her husband. She posted the photo of the pair on her Instagram with the caption: "When I look at this picture, I get so emotional because this moment feels bigger than me. It’s indicative of our entire relationship - my husband @mrjustinervin supporting me ALWAYS from day one. I’m overwhelmed with so much joy and filled with such gratitude that we are doing this together 🖤 Thank You Thank You Thank You @voguemagazine."
December 2019: Graham Shows Off Her Bump
Graham and Ervin snuck in date night during her pregnancy, enjoying court-side seats at the Philadelphia 76ers versus Brooklyn Nets Game. The model showed off her growing bump as they cuddled and watched the game.
January 18, 2020: Graham and Ervin Welcome Their First Child
On January 18, 2020, Graham gave birth to her son Isaac Menolik Giovanni Ervin in a birthing pool at home. Her water broke while she was doing yoga and she proceeded to have natural childbirth. "I have to say, now that I gave birth and I did it naturally and I felt everything, I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do,” Graham shared her YouTube show, "Pretty Big Deal." “There’s nothing that could come my way where I say, ‘Oh, that’s too hard, I can’t handle that.’ I went through laboring for six hours naturally.” Ervin was present during the birth and gave the model support during the process. "Seeing you with tears in your eyes saying 'I can see his head' gave me so much strength to just push him out and I really needed that," Graham said. Ervin added, “To go straight from the pool to the bed with our son and just hold him, what a bond."
July 13, 2021: Graham Announces Second Pregnancy
Ashley Graham announced on July 13, 2021 that she was pregnant for a second time. She posed in a field for Ervin with her baby bump exposed. In the caption, she wrote, "the past year has been full of tiny surprises, big griefs, familiar beginnings and new stories. i’m just beginning to process and celebrate what this next chapter means for us ❤️ 📸 @mrjustinervin."
September 20, 2021: Graham Shares She's Having Twin Bos
Not only were Graham and Ervin, expecting a new baby, but they were going to have twin boys! Graham shared a video on her Instagram first showing when the couple read two positive pregnancy tests. "I guess two confirmed tests means I'm pregnant," said Graham in the video. The clip then cuts to a later date, where a sonogram revealed that Graham had two sons on the way. Graham sat up fast and said, "Are you serious? We're going to have three boys!"
January 7, 2022: Graham Gives Birth to Twins
On January 7, 2022, Graham gave birth to her twin boys, Malachi and Roman. She first posted an Instagram photo of her nursing her two babies in February with the caption: "Malachi & Roman 🤍 my boys have been the greatest teachers and biggest reminders that I can do hard things. this has not been easy, but it’s so worth it. still can’t believe I have 3 children 🤯 can’t wait to share my birth & postpartum journey with you all soon ❤️"
In an essay for Glamour in May 2020, Graham revealed that she almost died from hemorrhaging during childbirth and has felt uncomfortable in her body since the experience. "Day by day it goes back and forth. I tell myself that I am a warrior for carrying and birthing my babies, for surviving the hemorrhage, for being a mother to my three boys, and yet also still struggling with the transformation of my body," she wrote. "But today is one of the days where I feel incredibly proud."
December 31, 2022: Graham Celebrates Her Husband's Birthday
Ashley Graham celebrated her husband's birthday with a sweet birthday post, showing Ervin on the floor with their three children. Graham wrote in the caption: "happy birthday hubby/i love doing life with you/❤️🔥🎂 @mrjustinervin."