Tragic Details About Brandi Passante

This article contains references to domestic abuse.

From "Duck Dynasty," to "Hoarders," there's no shortage of weirdly addicting shows on the A&E network. The channel has a knack for documenting some of the most niche aspects of society that have become surprisingly popular to the average American. Somewhere on the weirdly interesting spectrum lies the popular show "Storage Wars," which documents professional treasure hunters hoping to find valuable items in troves of abandoned junk.

"Storage Wars" premiered on the network in 2010, following a group of professionals tasked with buying storage lockers that have been turned over to the public after the owner failed to pay rent. Once three months pass without payment, these storage units are turned over to the highest bidder in a cash-only auction. The only catch, however, is that potential customers may not go inside or touch any of the items in the locker. 

Brandi Passante was a staple cast member on the show for over a decade, working alongside her longtime boyfriend Jarrod Schulz before the two split in 2018. Passante was an outlier on the show, especially since she was the longest-tenured cast member and one of two females to have a longstanding role in the series. While she may have made a name for herself on television, the mother of two hasn't had an easy go of things when the cameras stopped rolling. From a bitter breakup to life as a single mother, Passante's life has been full of challenges. As if sorting through cluttered junk wasn't enough? We're breaking down all the tragic details about Brandi Passante.

Brandi Passante had to develop a thick skin in her male-dominated industry

It's not an easy feat being one of the only females in the field — but it's a burden Brandi Passante shoulders with pride. While the Texas native is liked for her witty humor and her natural eye for a bargain, her road to fame on "Storage Wars" wasn't without a few hiccups. Being a woman, Passante had to shed her vulnerable side and "think like a man" — so to speak — in order to gain the respect of her peers.

In Passante's line of work, women are few and far between, but it's something that has helped her grow as a professional. "It forces me to be tougher and not to wear my heart on my sleeve," she revealed in an interview with Lifetime Moms. "I grew up with brothers, and they used to beat the crap out of me when we were younger, and I think that toughened me up a bit!"

Passante may hold her own in a predominately male cast but getting a starring role in "Storage Wars" meant that she had to step on a few toes in the process. "I find that the men in my business will walk all over you once they discover your weaknesses, so you have no choice but to develop a thick skin," she added.

Passante was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease

Brandi Passante took to Instagram in 2022 to put the haters in their place — and reveal some news about her health in the process. After making a return to "Storage Wars" for Season 13, some fans noticed that Passante's voice had changed. One fan questioned the television personality via her Instagram DMs as to the cause for her raspier tone, and she responded by screenshotting the post and posting it to her Instagram Story (per TV Shows Ace).

"Why is your throat so scratchy? Hmmmm," the individual messaged Passante, to which she replied, "I have Hashimoto's Disease. An autoimmune disease that affects my thyroid. Sometimes, it makes my throat raspy ..." (per TV Shows Ace). As defined by the Mayo Clinic, Hashimoto's' disease is most common in middle-aged women and involves the immune system killing off the body's thyroid's hormone-producing cells. While there is currently no cure for the condition, there are multiple treatment plans available to help manage its symptoms. 

As for Passante, Hashimoto's disease doesn't seem to be taking a toll on her life as a television personality. Besides a raspy voice (which many find to be a redeeming quality), there doesn't seem to be much in the way of Passante hunting down a good bargain. 

Passante's father passed away during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Brandi Passante had a close relationship with her father, and the "Storage Wars" star went through a difficult time when he died during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Passante took to Instagram in October 2020 to post a sweet tribute to her dad, sharing a photo of herself when she was a baby on his lap.

"I always smile when I think of you. I was most definitely a daddy's girl. I can't think of a time that you ever got mad at me or yelled at me. I absolutely, used that to my advantage," she recalled. While Passante didn't share how her father died, she did share her frustration with losing loved ones during that year. "I will miss you terribly. Now if everyone I love, could stop dying in such close proximity that would be great," she wrote, adding the hashtag "f


The television personality posted another set of photos to her Instagram in 2024 that featured her during her childhood as well as when she was an adult posing alongside her father. "Happy Heavenly Daddio!" she wrote, seemingly referring to his "heavenly birthday." She added, "I miss you terribly! I hope you're enjoying a Road Soda, in a paper bag and a cheap smoke."

She had a very public split with Jarrod Schulz

Fans grew to love Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante for their back-and-forth jokes and dynamic as a couple on "Storage Wars" until their relationship fell apart in the public eye. The pair met in 1999 and went on to have two children together, Payton and Cameron, but never married. They became a power couple when they joined the cast for Season 1 of "Storage Wars," and continued to document the ins and outs of their life together (even going on to have a since-canceled spin-off show about their lives) until their tumultuous split in 2018

Schulz and Passante split quietly in 2018, but it wasn't until the premiere of Season 13 of "Storage Wars" in 2021 that their breakup was announced to the public. "I'm not with Jarrod anymore," Passante said during the first episode (per People), with Schulz saying in a separate interview, "Just because me and Brandi aren't together anymore, doesn't mean we can't go to an auction — but separately." The ex-partners returning to the show made for some good television, however, especially when Schulz threatened to place a bid on a storage locker out of spite for Passante. "You know, if Brandi bids on it, I'll probably bid," Schulz joked to the auctioneer.

Having to star alongside her long-time boyfriend on the show that kickstarted her career wasn't easy for Passante, however. The mother of two told Pop Culture that having to coexist with Schulz was "not comfortable" but something she's grown accustomed to after years in the spotlight.

Her ex was arrested after he got heated with her in public

Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz had a nasty split, and the latter made headlines when he was arrested in 2021 for domestic violence. According to TMZ, Passante was out with friends at a bar in Orange County, California when Schulz showed up and the exes proceeded to argue. Schulz refused to leave upon Passante's request and allegedly pushed her twice while yelling at her group of friends.

Schulz bounced before the cops showed up but talked to them a few days later, denying getting physical with his ex-girlfriend. He was later charged by the Orange County District Attorney's office with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence battery concerning the incident. Schulz's attorney Benjamin Arsenian told TMZ at the time that his client was prepared to go to trial over the incident, with hopes of getting the case dismissed. Witnesses at the scene recall different versions of events, with some sources claiming Schulz gave his ex-girlfriend a "shoulder bump" while another said he was sitting down the entire time. 

As of the time of writing, there's no update on how the case was settled. Schulz has since moved on to a new relationship with his girlfriend Rochel Beckham, whom he frequently posts photos on social media. As for Passante, she's also found love again with her boyfriend Clifford Beaver. 

She is a domestic abuse survivor

Brandi Passante opened up about a personal tragedy when she posted an Instagram photo of some new ink in 2021. In the photo, the words "Free" are written on the inside of her middle finger next to a bird. While Passante wasn't specific as to what led her to get the tattoo, she did offer some insight into her checkered past that had her fleeing a tough situation. "To me, it means that somehow, by the grace of god, I managed to escape a very difficult situation, that so many people fall victim to," she wrote in her caption. 

There's no telling whether the "Storage Wars" star was referring to her past relationship with Jarrod Schulz or someone else, but she posted the hashtags "#nationaldomesticviolenceawarenessmonth" and "#freeasabird" in her caption. "I will be eternally grateful, for the life and freedom, without fear that I get to live now. I am also grateful for the empathy and grace, that I am able to give others as a result of the things, that I have endured! I love you all & thank you for all the support!" she added.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Passante's kids were being harassed online

When it comes to her kids, Brandi Passante has no problem paying the mama bear. The "Storage Wars" star isn't afraid to clap back at Internet trolls, especially when it comes to her two children, Payton and Cameron. Passante rarely posts her kids on social media, and her reason for keeping a low profile has everything to do with protecting Payton and Cameron's privacy.

Regardless of her concerns, the television personality posted a picture of her daughter ahead of a school function. "I stopped posting photos of my babies," she wrote alongside a photo of Payton in a red blazer and matching slacks. "Because some creepy a** dudes were harassing them. I am reluctantly posting this because, I am so proud of how beautiful my little is in her winter formal fit ..." she added, warning viewers, "Don't be gross." 

Though Passante typically shies away from giving viewers an inside look at her kids' lives, now and then, she posts Payton and Cameron on special occasions. She posted an Instagram photo in June of 2021 on what looks to be Cameron's high school graduation, posing alongside him in a cap and gown next to Payton. "Please stop the clock... I'm not ready," she wrote in her caption. "So proud, & so fortunate to have these 2 beautiful, kind, & loving souls. I don't know what I did to deserve them.. Whatever it was.... I am grateful." 

She was the victim of 'stalker porn'

Brandi Passante was in for a rude awakening when she discovered that she was the target of an invasive hoax. In the Fall of 2012, porn distributor Hunter Moore posted a video of a nude woman on the website, claiming that it was Passante. The "Storage Wars" star sued for damages over the ordeal, asking for $2.5 million in damages related to defamation, invasion of privacy, consumer fraud, and more. 

Moore had a history of publishing types of "revenge" or "stalker" porn, which involves taking a subject's social media photo and putting it alongside a pornographic photo or video and claiming it was the individual in question. The porn distributor was hit with a cease and desist letter from Facebook in 2011 and shut down his site a year later, but he continued to post misleading pornographic images on Tumblr and Twitter — the latter being how Passante discovered she was a target.

Passante won the case after U.S. District Judge James Selna found Moore liable, but her payout was far lower than she had hoped. The television personality only received $750 in damages over the ordeal after Selna couldn't find enough evidence to justify her $2.5 million ask. Moore wasn't thrilled over the decision, and he took to X, formerly Twitter, to take a jab at the "Storage Wars" star. "What should I write on the check in the memo line for that b**** who sued me," he tweeted at the time (per The Hollywood Reporter).

Passante was afraid to leave her house at the height of her fame

Brandi Passante became a huge star on "Storage Wars," but she's suffered quite a few drawbacks due to her fame. Not only has she had to endure a very public (and tumultuous) split from her long-term boyfriend and co-star, but she's also struggled with her sense of safety and privacy while being a public figure. While she's been known to put "creepy" fans on blast on social media, the star admitted that it's not only online that her fans have affected her — but her living situation as well.

In an interview with "The Dad Diary," Passante admitted that she had to move to a gated community after the show aired, after battling loads of strange fan mail that left her uncomfortable. "It was definitely life-changing," she said of having undergone such a drastic life change. "I did have to have a little therapy about it," she added. Passante revealed that the barrage of new fans left her feeling more introverted than her on-screen personality might depict her as. "I didn't like to leave the house for quite some time," she admitted. 

After over a decade on the show, the mother of two said she's grown accustomed to the attention. "I'm good now," she assured viewers, admitting that she's been able to get past the nerves that came with managing her newfound celeb status.