As "The Friendly Pirate", Ash, who stars on My Kitchen Rules with his fiancée Stacey, is used to sharing the story of how he lost his eye 10 years ago.
As he'll reveal to his fellow co-stars this week, he was struck by a glass while trying to break up a fight.
But the social media marketer from Byron Bay in northern NSW has another sad story, one he doesn't share as often. A year before the incident that cost him his eye, Ash's mother Renee tragically took her own life.
"I knew she was somewhat depressed, but she used to smoke a lot of weed," Ash, 34, tells TV WEEK.
"That was part of the reason I distanced myself from her in the first place. I'd see her here and there, but I didn't want anything to do with that sort of lifestyle."
In his early 20s, Ash was set on becoming a pro surfer. He remembers the moment he heard about his mother's death.
"My dad called me to tell me," he says. "He wasn't living with my mother, they'd split. I remember going straight for a surf. I just had to get in the water."
Ash said he used surfing as an escape.
"I was probably too immature to deal with it [his mum's passing]," he says. "I shut it out and wanted to move on with my life."
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