'Selling Sunset': Amanza Smith Opens Up About Her Missing Ex Ralph Brown (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Amanza Smith is still trying to track down the father of her children, former NFL player Ralph Brown. The realtor emotionally opened up about her missing ex-husband on seasons two and three of Selling Sunset, and months later, she tells ET she still doesn't know where he is.
According to Amanza, Ralph went missing last August, two weeks into filming on season two of the Netflix show. "We filmed for seven and a half months, when he was still nowhere to be found," she tells ET's Brice Sander. "This is a huge part of my life and I have cameras following me 24/7. You can't hide."
Over the last year, Amanza has filed a missing persons report and hired a private investigator, but has been unable to locate Ralph, who shut down his phone and hasn't been responding to her emails. She says his last known address is a P.O. box, and she's reached out to his family members, to no avail.
"If I reach out to his sister and brother-in-law, the next thing, I would be blocked," she says. "I text, email, voice message his brother and his father to no avail. I've had at least 20 of his ex-NFL teammates reach out to me saying, 'Hey, have you heard from him? Do you know what's going on?'"
"His best friend of 20 years has no idea," Amanza continues. "He's alive somewhere, because otherwise we would know. There's so many people actively trying and there's just no answer. It's the most bizarre -- heartbreaking for my kids, because it's not just their dad. That whole side of the family has just disappeared."
Amanza -- who shares 10-year-old daughter Noah and 8-year-old son Braker with Ralph -- split physical and legal custody with her ex before his disappearance. The kids have been in her care full-time since Ralph went missing, but she says she's been unable to get full custody of them legally, due to the difficulties of the legal process and the coronavirus pandemic pushing back court dates.
"He was such an amazing father. When we got divorced, I was adamant that we have 50/50 [custody], because I'm not that kind of person that would ever want my kids to never see their father as much as they see me. 'You have two good parents. I want you to experience both of them,'" she explains. "What I'm learning is once you go into it with it 50/50, it's really hard to then switch to full custody."
Amanza says she wonders if perhaps Ralph had a mental breakdown or suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) from his years playing football -- but without any answers, her theories are just theories.
"I go from being angry to just really sad. I'm still picking up the pieces and mending little broken hearts over here," she shares. "I haven't even really checked in with myself to see how I feel."
Conversations with her kids about their father have evolved over the last year, Amanza reveals.
"It's been so long, sadly the time between those conversations have lengthened. It used to be at first nightly. If one of them wasn't crying themselves to sleep, the other one was," she says. "From the beginning -- and I still stick to this -- I tell them, 'Daddy isn't well.'"
"They're young, but they're smart. I bought a book called When the Brain Breaks ... I said, 'Daddy's taking this time to figure himself out and get better so he can come back and be the dad that we know he is. His brain is sick. Daddy loves you very much ... He gave you over to me and trusted that Mommy would be there to make sure you are OK until he can get better,'" Amanza shares. "But you can only say so much. They're like, 'OK, what about Grandpa, Auntie? What about Uncle?'"
Amanza says it's "been a lot" for her children to deal with, but "I couldn't ask for more amazing kids."
"Everybody says kids are so resilient. They really are. I wish they didn't have to be so much, but I'm really grateful that they are," she expresses. "They could be really messed up right now and they're not. They're happy and thriving and they're smart and they get great grades. They have tons of friends and they're athletic and funny and kind of cute."
All three seasons of Selling Sunset are now streaming on Netflix.