Ashley Harlan did what many thought was impossible --- she tamed Ben Roethlisberger.
The wife of the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ashley (now Roethlisberger) was able to get the notorious playboy to settle down and get married in 2011. While Ashley prefers to remain on the sidelines most of the time, devoting her time to raising the couple's three children, she tends to get more attention whenever Ben leads his team deep into the playoffs.
That is exactly where the Steelers stand this season, entering the conference championship weekend just one win away from what would be Roethlisberger's third Super Bowl. And with it, there is plenty of spotlight on Ben Roethlisberger's wife, who herself will get a lot of of screen time during the AFC title game.
There was once a time that Ben Roethlisberger's relationship with his now-wife brought controversy. He started dating Ashley Harlan not long after accusations from a former casino waitress that Ben Roethlisberger had raped her. Ben was again accused of sexual assault two years later, but the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.
As Ben and Ashley Harlan got engaged, Roethlisberger fielded questions that he was really entering the relationship as a way to repair his public image.
"People will always have opinions of everybody and me, and that's fine, they're entitled," Ben told the Associated Press. "People can say that it is whatever, but people who know and can see and are around us and know me, know that it's something special when you find that person, and I'm extremely lucky."
But Ben said that he cared deeply for Ashley Harlan, and noted that he tries to keep her away from the spotlight.
"I try to protect her as much as I can. People have gone to her parents' house and have been doing some things," he said. "That bothers me a little bit because it's what I do for a living, I have to deal with it, but her parents and her, that's not what they have to do."Even if that wasn't the intention, Ashley did help Ben Roethlisberger repair his image and turn into a family man. The couple shared a big moment just before the start of the season. Back in May, Ben took a bit of leave from the team's offseason activities so he could attend the birth of their third child, a boy named Bodie.
As CBS Pittsburgh noted, the family still found a way to enjoy some other sports in the football offseason.
"The family posted several photos to Facebook on Thursday evening, saying the family of five was ready to cheer on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs," the report noted.Ben Roethlisberger and Ashley Harlan have two other children --- a boy named Benjamin Jr. and a daughter named Baylee.
As Ben told WDVE Radio, having children helped change his entire perspective on life.
"It puts things into perspective. For me it's like what's important. You don't really know love until you have a child and it's pretty cool. I got up early and he was awake so we were playing this morning before I left to go to practice. The changes you see every day are just awesome!"Ashley Roethlisberger's focus is on the family, but she has a life of her own outside of being Ben's wife. A former softball player at St. Francis University, Ashley now works as a physician's assistant in the cardiac surgery department of the Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh.
While the relationship with Ashley Harlan was once controversial for Ben Roethlisberger, she is now something of an asset for the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. While avoiding the spotlight --- and helping Ben to repair his public image and repaint himself as a family man --- she has allowed Roethlisberger to put his full focus onto the field. And with the Pittsburgh Steelers reaching to within a game of the Super Bowl, that's likely not lost on the team and its fans.
[Featured Image by Gene J. Puskar/AP Images]