'90 Day Fiance' Star Big Ed Fights Back Tears Over the Body Shaming He's Faced (Exclusive)
By Antoinette Bueno
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90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days season 4 star Ed Brown, aka "Big Ed," is opening up about some of the cruel comments he's received about his physical appearance online.
Ed quickly became a fan favorite on this season of the hit TLC reality show -- in which Americans travel to foreign countries to meet their online loves in real life to decide if they want to go through with applying for the K-1 visa to bring them to the United States -- thanks to his larger-than-life personality and positive attitude. Ed, a 54-year-old photographer and architectural interior designer, fell in love with 23-year-old Rosemarie, who lives in the Philippines, after they started exchanging messages on Facebook. Ed's physical appearance has also been discussed on the show, mainly, his 4'11" height, and his worries that Rosemarie won't find him attractive in person.
On Friday, Ed got candid with ET about some of the body shaming he's received online and also talked more about having Klippel-Feil syndrome, a rare congenital condition that involves the fusion of any two of the seven bones in the neck.
"I have limited range of movement," Ed explains to ET's Lauren Zima. "I have a bigger than normal chest cavity, so I've been made fun of my whole life, and when I was in high school, I actually got stuck in the neck machine. I used to work out with all the football players and so that became kind of a running joke, so I sort of become really well-known, they would still sort of tease me. So when the show first came out, I was literally in a panic because I was reading stuff online -- which they told me not to -- and that's all it was, was I can't wait until next season."
Ed then fought back tears, sharing that one positive is that he was actually able to help a man named Abe who has the same syndrome. Ed addressed Abe on Instagram with a sweet message for him.
"Two weeks ago, I get this letter from Abe in New York that has my same condition and I was able to reach out to him and he was like, 'Look, I don't know how you do it, you're on national TV rubbing mayonnaise on your hair. I have the same problem, everyone is making fun of me.' He basically wants to give up on life and I just said, 'Abe, do not. Do not let this syndrome define who you are.' And that's how I've always kind of lived my life."
Ed also emotionally told a story of being insecure about his looks with his ex-wife, who assured him she didn't see him any differently.
"I even asked my ex-wife one time, who at the time we got married was beautiful, and I said, 'Why do you love me? Don't I look differently to you? I have a shorter neck and I'm not very tall,'" he recalls. "And she's like, 'What are you talking about?'"
The reality star says at the end of the day, he does have a sense of humor about it all, but has a message for those making fun of someone over their physical appearance.
"If we can learn more to laugh at ourselves and people are going to look at us differently, but the most important thing I've learned from that is that I'm different and it's OK to be different," he shares. "I think if people really knew how it affects people when you make fun of somebody, they wouldn't do that. To make fun of someone's physical appearance is ... it's an unkind thing. But I'm not mad at them ... they're just looking at me and seeing how they see me, but if they knew, it's not a good idea."
Of course, one of the more lighthearted moments to go viral from the season is Ed putting mayonnaise in his hair in order to make it smoother and less dry, noting that he wanted to look younger for Rosemarie. Ed addressed the much-talked-about moment with ET, sharing that he got the idea from his co-worker's husband and that his go-to brand is Kraft.
"I'll tell you this right now -- it works," he insists. "It absolutely works. I do smell like an egg salad sandwich when I'm done, so you do have to make sure to wash it out."
When asked if Rosemarie knows he puts mayonnaise in his hair, he cracks, "Yes, she does, I'm sure. I think the world knows."
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.
This season also features the return of fan-favorite Darcey Silva, whose relationship with her British boyfriend, Tom, is still up in the air. ET recently spoke with Darcey and she talked about all her celeb fans, including Chrissy Teigen, whom she actually got to spend time with in her home. Watch the video below for more: