USWNT player Ashlyn Harris addressed the recent controversy surrounding her in a new Instagram post.
Harris denied cheating on her former wife, Ali Krieger, despite speculation from fans.
Harris and Krieger announced their separation in October.
US Women's National Team player Ashlyn Harris addressed the backlash she faced following her split from Ali Krieger.
Harris shared her thoughts in an Instagram post on Saturday, nearly one month after Business Insider reported the couple had split.
In her post, Harris said separating from Krieger was difficult for everyone involved. Harris and Krieger met while playing for the US Women's National Team and tied the knot in 2019.
The pair, who share two children, became embroiled in drama as fans speculated that Harris cheated on Krieger with actor Sophia Bush.
"Several weeks ago, a process that had been ongoing privately for some time became public," Harris wrote. "Ending a relationship after almost 13 years of friendship, teammate-ship, marriage and co-parenting (many of them good years) is a decision that was not made lightly."
Harris added that she and Krieger initially planned to announce their divorce together, but a "leak" made it "impossible" to do.
"The online hate that has happened since has been one of the most personally devastating experiences of my life," Harris wrote. "Now, I know that it is best practice in the world of online gossip 'not to feed the beast. Don't respond. Don't let them see you sweat.'"
Harris said she attempted to ignore the criticism, but the experience has been "brutal" on her mental health.
"Words matter. The cheering on abuse, the people clamoring to encourage me to commit suicide, and the cruel words spoken about my children, and who I am as a mother? Those words matter," she wrote, adding that her children could one day see the remarks.
Harris continued the post by denying allegations that she cheated on Krieger. In the post, Harris said she and Krieger "spent the entire summer" navigating their separation with therapists, lawyers, and their shared agency.
Rumors of Harris' alleged affair began swirling in October after People reported that she and Bush went on their first date together. Bush, a former "One Tree Hill" star, had just split from her husband, Grant Hughes, two months earlier.
Spectators quickly took sides, with fans taking to X to express their disappointment with Harris.
I have never seen the timeline as united as it is around absolutely hating ashlyn harris, this is historic
— kris 🤙⚽️ (@Kristance77) October 19, 2023
However, in her Saturday Instagram post, Harris disputed the rumors.
"Let me be clear: I did not step out on my marriage," Harris wrote. "I was always faithful in my marriage, if not always totally happy. Like in many partnerships, there was work in therapy and processing done. None of this happened on a whim."
Harris continued that she's attempted to create a safe space for herself and others during her career, so the backlash felt especially jarring.
"Right now, it feels like the entire community has poured gasoline on me and lit the matches," she wrote. "So many of you, including people who stand publicly as anti-bullying advocates, have cheered this on like bloodsport."
Harris concluded the post by encouraging people to show empathy and understanding as their family navigates the divorce.
"I share all of this to remind people that bullying anyone about a personal decision, especially when that bullying is rooted in lies, really hurts," Harris wrote.
Read the original article on Insider