The truth about 90 Day Fiance star Big Ed's neck condition

90 Day Fiancé star Big Ed — real name Ed Brown — is arguably the most talked-about star of Season 4. From Ed's struggle to find romance with Rosemarie, a woman from the Philippines who is 31 years his junior and younger than his daughter, to his many quirks (he loves a good mayonnaise hair mask), he has sparked a wild amount of headlines. Another area of intense interest concerns Ed's physical appearance, as he's only 4'11" and appears to have a very short neck. Although it's not fair to criticize someone for their appearance, it's reasonable fans are curious to learn more about his unique stature. 

Questions about Ed's appearance intensified when he caught heat for criticizing Rose's unshaved legs as well as her breath. Some viewers wondered why a person who is admittedly insecure about their looks would make someone else feel so inferior. "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?'" Ed told Entertainment Tonight about his body image struggle. "I have a shorter neck and I'm not very tall."

We're not sure why Ed tried to make Rose feel "embarrassed," as she told him in her powerful breakup speech, although we do know the truth about his neck condition. 

Big Ed has been teased about his rare medical condition

As Big Ed revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, he has a rare congenital condition called Klippel-Feil syndrome. People "with KFS are born with abnormal fusion of at least two spinal bones (vertebrae) in the neck," according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"I have limited range of movement," Ed explained. "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." He added, "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."

The silver lining in all of this is Ed's improved outlook on life. "The most important thing I've learned from that is that I'm different and it's OK to be different," he shared. "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."

Ed makes a good point here, although perhaps he should take his own advice.

Big Ed defends himself against the haters

It's no secret Ed Brown caught a lot of heat for asking Rosemarie to shave her legs during one of their first overnight visits. "Big Ed hasn't gotten laid in two decades and has the audacity to ask this woman to shave her legs for him," one fan on Twitter quipped. "This is men for you." 

As for Ed's take on the criticism? "I had asked Rose if she would shave her legs, and people were really upset about that," he explained to Us Weekly. And I was having a conversation with my daughter Tiffany, and she's like, 'Dad, look, that's completely normal. I live in San Diego. Everybody goes to the beach, people laser their legs.'" He added, " ... So it wasn't something that I was really used to."

Although Rose was hurt by Ed's comments in the moment, it sounds like she's in a better place today. "Be who you are not the worlds who wants you to be," she captioned a May 2020 selfie.

Big Ed is ready to move on

Now that Ed Brown has revealed his neck condition to the world and has addressed his controversial comments to Rosemarie, he's looking toward the future. "It's been a while since I've been in a relationship, I wasn't trying to be offensive in any way and never have I said anything negative nor will I ever about Rose," he told ET Canada about the breakup. "I have respect for her."

Ed is also open to finding love again, joking that he has received over 30 marriage proposals online since the show has aired. 

Another silver lining to come out of this breakup is Ed's renewed relationship with his adult daughter, who didn't approve of his romance with Rose. "I love my daughter. She is — and I say this with love and respect — a pain in the a**, just like her dad," he joked to Us Weekly. He continued, "Her mom tells her every day, 'You're just like your father,' and we are. We're very passionate about who we are. We're very honest people. She's a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She's doing really, really well. She never gives up. She's a fighter."

All's well that ends well, as the saying goes.