The Hollyoaks actor and fiancée Karen McKay welcomed their second son, Mason Mac, within a couple of days of Ashley's live Strictly debut last month.
In an exclusive interview to accompany the pictures – one of which show the tiny baby wearing a 'Vote for My Daddy' babygro gifted by Zoe Ball - the actor said he was coping admirably with the tiredness that comes with having a newborn, as well as juggling his job on Hollyoaks and his commitment to Strictly.
"I'm currently getting around five hours' sleep per night," he told HELLO! "I've found it hard being away because I'm such a hands-on father and my children are my world. But it's not forever. I have a fantastic day job at Hollyoaks, I'm doing Strictly – which is like a surreal dream – and I've got two wonderful sons. No matter how tired I am, I can't complain.
"It's an exhausting schedule but Strictly was too good an opportunity to turn down, even though the timing could have been better." And he said he couldn’t have done it without the help of Karen, with whom he also has a son Buddy, two.
"I'm not at home very much at the moment but Karen is an incredible mother and, although it’s tough on her, she’s taking it all in her stride. She's my absolute hero and this has brought us closer than ever before. She's so supportive. This is a bigger challenge for her than it is for me because she’s the one stuck at home on her own with the baby and an excitable two-year-old."
Both tell HELLO! how they were anxious that Mason didn’t arrive until after the first Strictly live show earlier this month so that Ashley could compete.
And, thankfully, Mason complied. "I got home from rehearsals on Tuesday morning at 1am, sat down for five minutes to unwind and then Karen came down to say she was going into labour. It was perfect timing," he says. "I did have a word with Mason inside his mum’s tummy and said, 'Come on, son, time this right for me,' and I think he listened.
To read more of the interview with Ashley, including details of the labour, the couple's marriage plans and Ashley's romantic proposal, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! magazine.
SEE THE FULL EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE IN HELLO! MAGAZINE, OUT NOW.