TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé has taken television by storm since its debut in 2014. Chronicling the often-scandalous exploits of American citizens and their foreign fiancés who come to the country on a 90-day K-1 visa, the show follows these long-distance couples during a make-or-break three-month timeframe in which the foreign partner is sent home unless, fo course, they head to the altar.
As viewers noticed, the premise is front-loaded with reality TV drama as the foreigners must grapple with an unfamiliar culture, face dubious relatives who suspect they’re only in it for a green card, and experience all the extreme emotions leading up to a wedding. Given the show’s out-of-the-box success, spinoffs were churned out at a rapid pace, including 90 Day Fiancé‘s Happily Ever After?, Before the 90 Days, The Other Way, Pillow Talk, and even Self-Quarantined.
Accompanying all that drama has been plenty of scandals — both onscreen and off — as participants in the show make poor life choices that stir up controversy or force them to deal with the skeletons that come bursting out of their closets. With that in mind, keep reading to learn about some of the biggest 90 Day Fiancé scandals.
90 Day Fiancé’s Larissa Dos Santos Lima was arrested twice
Fans of 90 Day Fiancé watched the rocky relationship between Colt Johnson and his Brazilian bride Larissa Dos Santos Lima play out during the show’s sixth season. In November 2018, according to screengrabs of Colt’s since-deleted Instagram Story posts, he wrote that "Larissa was arrested this afternoon" and offered some context. During an argument, he explained, he attempted to deactivate her phone, which only "escalated" the situation and led her to post a plea for help on social media. Shortly after, "the police came and knocked down the front door. They drew their guns at me and handcuffed me," he wrote. After a discussion with the couple, Larissa was arrested. Colt declined to press charges.
In January 2019, Larissa was arrested again, once again after an argument. When police arrived, the officers noticed Colt had injuries. "He had a swollen lip, and his gums and teeth were bloodied," officer Jay Rivera told Us Weekly. When officers finally tracked down Larissa, she claimed that Colt had physically assaulted her. The officers, however, were unconvinced; she was taken into custody and held on $3,000 bail. This was apparently the last straw for Colt, who filed for divorce days later.
90 Day Fiancé’s Luis quickly remarried after divorcing Molly
Molly Hopkins and her Dominican husband Luis Mendez appeared in the fifth season of 90 Day Fiancé, and their marriage was as brief as it was troubled. In addition to their age difference (Molly is 16 years his senior), the couple fought frequently, culminating in a blowout battle when he refused her request to turn down the volume while listening to music. She thought he was "acting crazy" when he called the police so she fled from the house with her children in tow. When she returned, Luis had packed up all his belongings and left.
According to legal documents obtained by Reality Blurb, the couple married in July 2017 and separated on January 5, 2018. Molly filed for divorce on January 23, less than three weeks after the date of separation. It didn’t take Luis long to get over it, though. Just five months after the divorce was finalized, reported In Touch Weekly, Luis had remarried. "Yes, I did get married," he confirmed to the magazine. "I have no contact with [Molly]," he added. "I just want to be happy. I don’t want to know nothing about it. But if she wants to congratulate me, it’s OK."
Angela got a DUI after starring on 90 Day Fiancé
Loyal viewers of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days will recall Angela Deem and Michael IIesanmi, originally from Nigeria, who were featured in the show’s second and third seasons. In addition to their antics on the reality show, Angela had an off-camera brush with the law when she was arrested for driving under the influence in September 2018.
As Us Weekly noted, the booking report indicated she was pulled over in Montgomery County, Georgia where she was allegedly driving at a speed of 60 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was 35. The officer stated that he could smell alcohol within the vehicle, but Angela allegedly tried to pass off the boozy odors as coming from a passenger in the back seat. The officer requested she take a field sobriety test and upon doing so, she failed. Angela was then arrested, although report alleges she was "uncooperative" after being taken into custody and accused the officer of being "racist."
Angela was hit with several charges, reported the magazine, including "driving under the influence, refusal, driving without license on person and speeding in excess of maximum limits."
This Season 4 star of 90 Day Fiancé was sent to prison on drug charges
The fourth season of 90 Day Fiancé introduced viewers to Jorge Nava and his Russian bride Anfisa Arkhipchenko as their turbulent relationship was captured by cameras. In February 2018, Jorge landed in some serous trouble when he was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation, TMZ reported. During the traffic stop, police discovered some weed in his car. Well, not some — nearly 300 pounds of it!
That September, the reality TV star pled guilty to marijuana possession and received a two-and-a-half-year sentence. In an interview with TMZ, he revealed his lawyer was able to get him a greatly reduced sentence. "With the charges against me, I was looking at around 24 years or something like that — some ridiculous number," he said, revealing his lawyer managed to make a plea deal that resulted in the original charges being dropped.
Jorge wound up being released earlier than expected. In May 2020, he shared a photo of himself on Instagram, no longer in prison as he posed atop the hood of a car. "The sky is the limit," he wrote, adding "#freedom."
There was no happily ever after for 90 Day Fiancé’s Jason and Cassia
Like many couples who opened their lives to 90 Day Fiancé, Jason Hitch and Cassia Tavares wound up in divorce court. Their union hit a big bump in the road when, in early 2017, Jason was arrested for domestic violence.
According to a police report obtained by Starcasm, Cassia alleged that her then-husband grabbed her arm hard enough to leave a mark and then roughly pushed her off their bed. This, she said, led her to be so frightened that she dialed 911. When a police officer arrived, Jason denied grabbing her, claiming her fall from the bed was an accident caused when he shifted the mattress. Jason refused to sign a sworn statement and was placed under arrest.
Jason’s arrest ultimately led the couple to split. As Cassia subsequently revealed, she had initially hoped her husband’s behavior would improve after the arrest, yet the opposite proved to be the case. In a lengthy statement to Starcasm, Cassia recalled that Jason even began joking about his arrest. In hindsight, Cassia said she came to realize her ex is "a mean man" who "has destroyed everything I felt for him."
Karine was allegedly the victim of revenge porn, according to 90 Day Fiancé star Paul Stahle
Paul Stahle and wife Karine Martins were introduced in 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, with the couple proving to be a nearly bottomless well of reality TV drama. The relationship took a strange turn in October 2018 when Paul claimed on social media that his wife was the victim of "revenge porn."
According to Starcasm, Paul took to Instagram to post what appeared to be screengrabs from a video. The images featured his wife in a revealing outfit and one was obscured, suggesting she might be topless. "This man is posting revenge porn of Karine," he wrote, "please help Karine criminally prosecute him." He subsequently offered further information and more images, claiming the photos were posted by his wife’s ex, a man by the name of Mike.
Someone alleging to be Mike later responded in a series of since-deleted tweets. "Me standing with a woman in my arms is not porn! You dummy …," he wrote, In Touch Weekly reported. He also denied posting any videos online, implying that Paul had posted the photos himself in order to drum up publicity. In a screengrab archived at CafeMom, Mike threatened to take legal action, writing that he has "a normal life" and refused to "be a part of your drama."
90 Day Fiancé’s Lisa admitted to using a racial slur
Lisa Hamme and her 22-years-younger Nigerian husband Usman "Sojaboy" Umar were among the couples featured in the fourth season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. As tempestuous as their relationship was in front of the cameras, things really went off the rails when some unaired footage from the season-ending "tell-all" special was leaked via Instagram. Before the post was deleted, reported In Touch Weekly in May 2020, those who saw it witnessed Usman accusing Lisa of calling him the N-word.
Lisa subsequently appeared on The Domenick Nati Show and revealed she had been receiving "a lot of death threats and a lot of hate" from viewers of the show via social media. Addressing her use of the word, she said it "was used out of context and used out of stupidity. My husband accepted my apology, but the haters don’t."
While Lisa told the host that she was advised by "other very famous people" to just let the scandal "die down," that apparently didn’t happen. In June 2020, The Blast reported that Lisa’s booking agent issued a social media post indicating that an interview she’d been scheduled to do was "canceled due to TLC not allowing Lisa to do the interview."
The Tinder scandal from 90 Day Fiancé Season 6
Jay Smith of Jamaica and his American bride Ashley Martson were first seen in the sixth season of 90 Day Fiancé, with their on-and-off relationship including two divorce filings and Jay’s subsequent arrest after violating an order of protection Ashley took out against him. As Us Weekly recapped, one of the couple’s more infamous moments on the show saw Ashley catching Jay trying to hook up with women on the dating app Tinder — the day after their wedding, no less.
While that memorable incident made for compelling television, Jay later claimed the whole thing had been faked for the cameras. In an interview with In Touch Weekly, he insisted that it "was staged because without drama you don’t have a show." As he alleged, he and Ashley had no difficulties moving on after his "Tinder scandal" because "it was just an act."
In the interview, Jay also claimed that appearing on 90 Day Fiancé was entirely Ashley’s idea, and he simply went along for the ride. He also insisted the show painted an inaccurate picture of him. "I feel like the show portrayed my relationship as a very toxic relationship, like I’m the bad person but [no] it wasn’t [accurate]," he said.
This 90 Day Fiancé star’s checkered past came to light
When it comes to stirring up scandal within the 90 Day Fiancé franchise, it’s tough to top Geoffrey Paschel. Introduced in the 2020 season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days alongside Russian fiancée Varya Malina, Geoffrey made headlines when some unsavory info about his checkered past surfaced.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Geoffrey’s January 2020 court appearance following his 2019 arrest, in which he was charged with "aggravated kidnapping, domestic assault, interference with emergency calls and vandalism" after his then-girlfriend alleged he "repeatedly bashed/slammed" her head against a hardwood floor and threw her "into walls and furniture."
According to his ex-wife’s divorce filing obtained by Starcasm, Geoffrey’s ex claimed he "repeatedly raped" her and threatened her life. Further revelations came from the Motion for Protective Order filing (via Starcasm) of a different ex-wife (Geoffrey had reportedly been married four times). According to the report, Geoffrey allegedly sold "opiate medication" and used their children "as a ‘cover’ or ‘mule’ in his illegal activities." In addition, it was also revealed that he spent 13 months in prison on drug charges.
Big Ed was accused of sexual assault after appearing on 90 Day Fiancé
Ed Brown, aka Big Ed, and Filipino fiancée Rosemarie Vega became fan favorites when appearing in the 2020 season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. As viewers witnessed, Big Ed wasn’t entirely truthful about, well, a lot of stuff. Yet in the 90 Day Fiancé universe, that’s not so much scandalous as it is business as usual.
However, Big Ed found himself facing far greater accusations than fibbing when a TikTok user who identified herself as Lordakeet made the shocking accusation that he had sexually assaulted her. In a brief dialogue-free TikTok video (via YouTube), words onscreen read, "I would like to introduce you to the man who sexually harassed and assaulted me." This was followed by footage of Ed from the show. Lordakeet offered more details in a subsequent interview with Daily Soap Dish. Answering a direct question about whether she’d been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by Ed, she confirmed "it’s both."
She continued by alleging that Ed had "groomed" and "manipulated" her, but said she wasn’t able to offer more details because she’d signed a non-disclosure agreement. Ed did not respond to the allegations.
90 Day Fiancé’s first LGBTQ couple’s relationship wasn’t without controversy
Australian Erika Owens and American girlfriend Stephanie Matto made 90 Day Fiancé history as the franchise’s first-ever LGBTQ couple. As viewers watched the couple’s long-distance relationship unfold in the 2020 season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, some couldn’t help but notice that Stephanie was reluctant to show any physical affection toward Erika when she visited Australia. As such, many wondered whether Stephanie — a YouTuber who goes by the name Stepanka — was actually faking her bisexuality in order to become famous and drum up interest in her YouTube channel.
In a subsequent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Erika responded to the speculation surrounding Stephanie’s sexuality. Insisting she could "only speak for my experience and who I am," she declared she was "not gonna sit here and say that she is something or she isn’t, because that’s her own personal journey." However, Erika did reveal that she and Stephanie didn’t spend all that much time together beyond what had been filmed for Before the 90 Days. "Honestly, we didn’t sleep in the same room or even the same hotel room more than four nights," she explained.
90 Day Fiancé’s David was caught in a political scandal
David Toborowsky and Thailand-born wife Annie Suwan first showed up in Season 5 of 90 Day Fiancé and subsequently appeared on the spinoff 90 Day Fiancé: Pillow Talk. Prior to appearing on reality television, David apparently had political ambitions. According to a 2010 article in Louisville Future, David — described as a "conservative activist" — had been recruited to run against an incumbent for a seat on the Jefferson County Board of Education in Louisville, Kentucky. Describing himself as "a different kind of Republican," David declared he wasn’t officially a member of the Republican Tea Party faction, but admitted he "agrees with a lot of things" in the Tea Party platform.
David’s campaign stirred up controversy, reported Wave 3 News, when evidence emerged that he didn’t actually live in the district in which he was hoping to be elected, and that he moved into the home of a friend who did live in the district in order to qualify. To his credit, David didn’t deny the allegations. "Did I move there to run for office?" he said. "The answer is yes."
90 Day Fiancé’s Ashley allegedly entered rehab after splitting with Jay
Ashley Martson’s split from Jay Smith was a messy one, with viewers watching their turbulent marriage unfold like a slow-motion train wreck during Season 6 of 90 Day Fiancé. But as contentious as the whole thing seemed to fans of the show, consider the toll it must have taken on Ashley.
In June 2019, Radar Online quoted a source who claimed that Ashley had been battling depression, which had allegedly become so severe she decided to spend two weeks in a "rehab" facility. The problem, added the source, was that even though they had broken up, "Jay won’t leave her alone" and was "messing with her head."
Despite all that drama, the pair eventually seemed to reconcile. In March 2020, Ashley shared a video on Instagram, featuring herself doing the Drake’s "Flip the Switch" challenge. The video ended with a brief cameo from Jay, who could be seen with his arms around Ashley. "Damn, maybe this quarantine isn’t so bad after all," she wrote in the caption. When speaking with In Touch Weekly in March 2020, a rep for Ashley would not confirm if "they are back together or not, at this time," but did confirm they were still legally married.
The daughter of this 90 Day Fiancé star was sentenced to 20 years
In 2018, 90 Day Fiancé star Angela Deem’s name made headlines — but this time it was not about her, but her daughter. Scottie Deem, Angela Deem’s daughter, was arrested back in 2017 and charged with 12 counts of child molestation involving a minor male under the age of 16, People reported.
In March 2019, People further reported that Angela’s daughter pled guilty to "multiple counts." She was sentenced to spend two years and one day of a 20-year sentence behind bars and the remainder on probation. However, Scottie was ultimately released earlier than scheduled. According to In Touch Weekly, she was released in May 2020 after spending just 15 months in the slammer. In Touch also reported that she was added to the sex offender registry in Georgia and made her official return to Instagram on June 3, 2020 when she posted a video of children supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.