Was Big Ed a jerk or misunderstood in '90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days'?
TLC’s "90 Day Fiancé" franchise continues to be a resounding success.
In fact, Syngin Colchester, who was in season seven of "90 Day Fiancé", and Ronald Smith, who was in "90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way", were the South Africans characters featured.
This brings us to season four of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days", where Ed Brown, who goes by the moniker Big Ed, got tongues wagging.
The 54 year old, who suffers from a rare congenital condition called Klippel-Feil syndrome, kept putting his foot in his mouth throughout the show. He was trolled mercilessly on social media for the way he treated Rosemarie (aka Rose) Vega, his 23-year-old ex-fiancé from the Philippines.
Even in the tell-all episode, there was no redemption for Big Ed. Rose spewed vitriol at him for belittling her about her bad breath and hairy legs.
The poverty-stricken mother of one also had to put up with Big Ed’s constant complaints about the unbearable heat in the Philippines. Let’s not forget his short lived horror at her living conditions when he stayed over at her home with her dad as a chaperone.
While many viewers believed him to be a jerk, Big Ed feels he was simply misunderstood.
In a recent interview, he opened up about the experience that thrust him into the public eye.
He admitted: “I've had all of the range of emotions from having anxiety to being elated. I’ve been brought to tears by people's comments body-shaming me and bullying and at points have even been brought to tears.
"So it's all the levels of experience that you can imagine when you put your life out there, which I kind of knew it going into, but I'm trying to make a difference when it comes to online bullying, which I love and didn't expect to happen. However, there definitely are some embarrassing moments.
"I think there are also funny moments, for instance when I'm rubbing mayonnaise in my hair and that has led to me being on H3, a podcast with 6.5 million followers, having me on their show.”
As for asking Rose to take an STD test, a situation that went south very fast, Big Ed revealed: “You know what, I don’t regret having the question for her because I hadn't been in a romantic relationship for 28 years and I’m not sexually active.
"I think she was hiding a lot from me, she had a lot of friends on Facebook at one time, over 4 000 and then when I asked her about her friends, she deleted, or she hid them from me.
"Later down the line when I asked her about it, they reappeared and there would be about 500 missing. I also found it hard as every time I would ask her about Prince's father or where he was she never wanted to talk about it.
“The thing I regret the most was that I didn’t get tested before I went over to meet Rose. I’ve now been tested but it would have meant that when I asked her, I could have said, ‘ Look, here's my bill of health, you know, would you be willing to take a test?’
"I would have happily taken one over there but I really wasn't comfortable with having somebody stick a needle in my arm, in the desolate area of the country I was in. So that's the one regret.”
The couple broke up after Big Ed revealed he is not keen on becoming a father, again, and Rose walked out on him.
This broke him as he hadn’t been in a serious relationship since breaking up with his wife. He wanted another shot at love with Rose, despite the age gap, after befriending her on Facebook.
He offered: “One of the first things I asked her was: ‘Do you understand I'm 54, and you're 23? Do you understand that?’ Her answer was simple; age is just a number,it doesn’t matter what counts is what’s in the heart.
"There was something about her where she just admired me, which I hadn’t had in my life in 28 years.
"So, I think at that point I knew that I was falling in love with her, we became friends, and the next thing you know I fell in love, bought a ticket and set off on an adventure. She really has opened my heart to believing in love again and the possibilities of the future. So I'm excited!”
In the meantime, Big Ed is still getting traction of social media, especially for using mayonnaise to colour his hair and other DIY grooming tips.
Check TLC (DStv channel 135) for other airings of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days". If you enjoy the franchise, check out season two of "90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way" on Tuesdays at 8pm.