Ashley Graham says a man spat on her husband for being black: 'It's really heartbreaking'

In a new interview for the July issue of Allure, cover star Ashley Graham addresses the racism her husband, cinematographer Justin Ervin, encounters as a black man.

The 31-year-old model, who married Ervin in 2010, told the magazine about an incident during the interracial couple’s vacation to Italy. The pair traveled to the country last summer.

“I see what my husband has to go through every day,” she shared. “We had gone to Italy, and a man spat on him.” Graham says. “It’s heartbreaking. It can make you really angry. But it’s like, how are you going to change that anger into a teachable moment?”

And while Graham clarified that she’s not planning on having children right away, she’s taking the opportunity to learn how to navigate difficult conversations about race now.

“Read books; have conversations. Educate yourself,” she said. “The more you have conversations with people around you that are different than you, [the more] you’re going to learn and you’re going to grow. No one who isn’t black is going to understand a black person’s life, but they don’t have to be ignorant toward [what it’s like].

“I want to know as much as I can as a white woman who is going to be raising black children,” she said. “We’re going to have to have that conversation of ‘Mommy’s white, Daddy’s black,’ and I want to be prepared.”

Related: Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin together

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Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin together
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Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin together
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Justin Ervin and Ashley Graham attend an event for American Beauty Star Season 2 on January 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by ECP/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend the Philadelphia 76ers vs Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on November 4, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin arrive at the Domenico Dolce birthday party during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 at Four Seasons Hotel on September 23, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vincenzo Lombardo/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 5: Ashley Graham and her husband Justin Ervin attend the victories of Madison Keys of USA and Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day 10 of the 2018 tennis US Open on Arthur Ashe stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 5, 2018 in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Justin Ervin and Ashley Graham at Day 10 of the US Open held at the USTA Tennis Center on September 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Adrian Edwards/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Justin Ervin and model Ashley Graham arrive to United Nations Headquarters on March 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 4: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ashley Graham;Justin Ervin
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by J. Merritt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin are seen in Midtown on January 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend Glamour's 2017 Women of The Year Awards at Kings Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Glamour)
THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH OF NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend the 14th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Weylin B. Seymour's on November 6, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend Michael Kors and Google Celebrate new MICHAEL KORS ACCESS Smartwatches at ArtBeam on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Michael Kors)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Justin Ervin and Ashley Graham attend Michael Kors and Google Celebrate new MICHAEL KORS ACCESS Smartwatches at ArtBeam on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Michael Kors)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: John Molner, Katie Couric, Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend 2017 Time 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Model Ashley Graham and Justin Ervin attend the celebration of Urban Arts Partnership 25th Anniversary Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Urban Arts Partnership)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: Model Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin attend the 2016 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on December 12, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Ashley Graham and husband Justin Ervin attends the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Justin Ervin and Ashley Graham attend the Belvedere Presents One Night for Life with John Legend at the Apollo Theater at The Apollo Theater on August 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: Justin Ervin (L) and model Ashley Graham attend the Google/HBO celebration of 'All The Way' during White House Correspondents' weekend at the Renwick Gallery on April 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Google)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 17: Justin Ervin and Ashley Graham attends Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 - Swim BBQ VIP at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach on February 17, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/FilmMagic)
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In her 2017 book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty and Power Really Look LikeGraham wrote about the negative reactions her own family had when she brought Ervin home.

"I never told my grandparents that the man I was bringing home was black," the Nebraska native wrote in the memoir. "I naively hoped everyone would be color-blind — which is not what happened. When my grandparents met Justin, my grandmother was cordial but cold. She greeted him and immediately walked away.

“When it came time for them to leave, my grandparents didn’t even acknowledge him. Instead my grandmother looked me in the eye, with Justin standing behind me, and said, 'Tell that guy I said goodbye.'

"I had never seen my loving, hardworking, and wonderful grandma be so hurtful and so racist. I was in shock."

Ervin, she wrote, responded by telling Graham, “Racism is never surprising but always disappointing.”

The model added that her grandmother grew to love Ervin after he called to congratulate her on her 60th wedding anniversary.

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