Although she lived in Athens, she was not from there, having been born in Miletus. Being a foreigner, she could not legally marry an Athenian. Aside from her foreign birth, she was also a hetaira, essentially a high-class prostitute or courtesan, who could not marry Athenian citizens. These laws were established by Pericles and his predecessors before he met Aspasia. However, Pericles thought so much of her beauty and talents that he considered her his wife and she lived with him until his death.
It is said that she had great skill both in writing and in the art of speaking, and she was visited by many of the most learned and famous people of Athens, including Socrates.