Sophia Bush opens up about her ‘unexpected’ romance with girlfriend Ashlyn Harris

‘One Tree Hill’ star calls girlfriend Ashlyn Harris a ‘gift’ in response to birthday tribute

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 10 July 2024 06:45 BST
Related: One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush comes out after divorcing husband

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Louise Thomas

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Ashlyn Harris has celebrated her romance with Sophia Bush in a touching birthday tribute.

The former US women’s soccer team star, 38, took to Instagram on Monday, July 8 to honor the One Tree Hill alum’s 42nd birthday. Harris posted several photos with Bush for the occasion, including a snap of the pair dressed formally and looking up toward the ceiling. Another selfie showed the couple posing for the camera while holding martini glasses, along with multiple photos of them sharing a kiss.

“Happy birthday beautiful. I hope today feels special and full knowing how much we love you,” Harris began the caption. “You are such a gift in this world. To see you shine and happy fills us all up.

“I love your heart Soph,” she added. “I love everything about you. Happy born day baby.”

In the comments section, the John Tucker Must Die star gushed over her relationship with Harris. She described their romance as a “gift” and referred to her girlfriend as the “best present” on her birthday.

“Last year I got free. This year I found the very best love in the very most unexpected place. I may never get over the gift of it,” Bush wrote. “Thank you for putting me back together. For making my second birthday even better than my first. And for reminding me what the sound of my unbridled laughter sounds like. You are magic. You are my best present.”

Harris and Bush sparked romance rumors last year following their respective divorces from their former spouses. The athlete filed for divorce from fellow US women’s soccer teammate, Ali Krieger, on September 19 after four years of marriage. Meanwhile, it was reported in August that Bush and her then-husband, Grant Hughes, were divorcing after just 13 months of marriage.

The social justice activist and the former goalkeeper had met multiple times in the past, such as when they both spoke at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in June 2023 and attended a Peacock viewing party for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

In documents obtained by E! News, Hughes listed their date of separation as June 27 and cited “irreconcilable differences” as the cause for the divorce. While the former couple share no children, Harris and Krieger share two adopted children: daughter Sloane, two, and son Ocean, one.

Bush’s romance with Harris has since marked her first public same-sex relationship. In an essay published in Glamour earlier this year, the actor detailed her journey towards coming out as queer.

“I sort of hate the notion of having to come out in 2024,” she wrote in the essay, which was published in April. “I think I’ve always known that my sexuality exists on a spectrum. Right now I think the word that best defines it is queer. I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great.”

Bush explained that after she and Hughes had separated, she surrounded herself with a support system of women but didn’t expect to find love with Harris. “I didn’t expect to find love in this support system,” she said. “I don’t know how else to say it other than: I didn’t see it until I saw it.”

The Chicago PD star also shut down speculation that she and Harris left their respective partners for each other, writing: “The ones who said I’d left my ex because I suddenly realized I wanted to be with women – my partners have known what I’m into for as long as I have (so that’s not it, y’all, sorry!).”

Bush also shared that she feels at “home” in the queer community, adding: “I’ve experienced so much safety, respect, and love in the queer community, as an ally all of my life, that, as I came into myself, I already felt it was my home.”

Just days later, Bush and Harris finally made their red carpet debut as a couple at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

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