Tragic Details About The Cast Of 90 Day Fiance

TLC's "90 Day Fiance" series began airing on the network in 2014. The reality show gives viewers an inside look at the challenges of international relationships by following long-distance couples that only have 90 days to decide whether or not to marry under the guidelines of their K-1 visas. Eighteen spinoffs have been produced as of this writing, including "90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?," which follows couples from the original show to see if they're still in their honeymoon phase or dealing with new hardships. There's even been a "90 Day Fiance: Self-Quarantined" series, which documented the lives of popular "90 Day" couples during the coronavirus pandemic. 

It's always a delight to watch couples find happiness despite the drama, cultural barriers, and disapproval of family members. Fans also love learning that one of their favorite couples has taken their relationship one step further by starting a family. However, while viewers enjoy a happily ever after story, several "90 Day Fiance" cast members have dealt with misfortunes that have been documented on and off-screen. They include losing loved ones, legal issues, even ending up in prison. So prepare yourself for an emotional journey: We're taking an inside look at the tragedies that several fan-favorites of "90 Day Fiance" have faced.

Jorge Nava spent time in prison

Jorge Nava and Russian-born Anfisa Arkhipchenko's relationship was dysfunctional, to say the least. Their lives were documented in Season 4 of "90 Day Fiance," and they were filled with drama. One of their fiery exchanges even ended with Anfisa forcing Jorge to sleep in the garage, per The Wrap. The couple eventually tied the knot on the show (even though Anfisa didn't get her dream $45,000 bridal gown). Still, it all went downhill from there when Jorge was arrested for marijuana possession in 2018 and was given a jail sentence of two and a half years, per ET.

The Bee reported that the reality star was arrested after police found nearly 300 pounds of marijuana in his car. According to Jorge, Anfisa told him she no longer wanted to be with him two months into his prison sentence. "She wished that I got 12 years in prison, basically trying to get rid of me," he recalled on "90 Day Fiance: Self-Quarantined." To make matters worse, he found out she'd been seeing someone else. "That definitely hurt. It really broke my heart," he said.

In August 2020, Jorge filed for divorce from Anfisa, with documents showing that he had cited "irreconcilable differences" as the cause of their separation, per TMZ. However, Jorge appeared to be a changed man after ending his prison stint a few months early, posting photos with a new woman named Rhoda on Instagram in August 2020 and introducing their daughter Zara in an April 2021 YouTube video.

Sumit Singh's mother lost a child

While fans eagerly waited for "90 Day Fiance: The Other Way" stars Sumit Singh and Jenny Slatten to tie the knot, the couple endured more downs than ups in Sumit's home country of India. Sumit's parents, specifically his mother, Sahna, were always adamant about not wanting him to marry the much-older Jenny, and Sahna even threatened to take her own life if the couple wed, per ET

In Season 3, viewers learned that there was much more going on with Sahna and her disapproval of her son's relationship. Sumit believes his divorce from his first wife caused his mother distress because the two women were close. Sahna also had a daughter who died from jaundice when she was just a baby, and Sumit suggested this tragedy deepened his mother's pain. "She feels like I divorce [my ex-wife], and I snatched my mom's happiness. This explain the way my mother blamed me for losing another daughter when I get divorce," he said on "90 Day Fiance: The Other Way."

He continued, "Sometimes it feels like my mother is taking revenge. Like, she is mad at me because she's not happy. She lost her girl she had a connection with." He theorized that his mother never warmed to Jenny because she resented the new woman in his life for playing an integral role in his divorce. But in August 2021, Sumit shared with ET that he would "go ahead and marry Jenny" without his parents' approval. 

Biniyam Shibre's first son was taken away from him

"90 Day Fiance: The Other Way" viewers were left heartbroken when Ethiopian-born Biniyam Shibre shared that his first son, Simon, had been taken away from him. According to Screen Rant, before Biniyam met Ariela Weinberg, he was previously married to a woman named Bria. In 2017, the former couple welcomed a son named Simon in the U.S., whose birth Biniyam was able to witness after being granted "humanitarian parole." Soon after, they made their way back to Ethiopia. However, when Bria learned Biniyam was "texting someone else," she dumped him and moved back to America, taking Simon with her. As of this writing, Biniyam has yet to see his oldest son.

During Season 3, viewers watched as Ariela said farewell to Biniyam. She was taking their son, Avi, to America to undergo hernia surgery, and it was like déjà vu for the dad. Afraid that he would lose his second child, Biniyam broke down in tears and shared (via ET), "When I say goodbye to Ariela and Avi, I get flashbacks of my previous family. Kissing them with happiness and love, and my ex saying they'd come back."

Biniyam has shared photos of Simon on Instagram. "I miss him every single day," read one of his captions. "I can't wait to hear him call me dad. Please pray for me." As for Ariela, she told ET she'd like Simon and Avi to meet one day. "They can just be brothers," she said. 

Leida Margaretha got Eric Rosenbrook to kick his daughter out

Eric Rosenbrook and Leida Margaretha were not well-received by "90 Day Fiance" fans after they witnessed the mistreatment of Eric's teenage daughter Alari Stark, formerly known as Tasha, on the show in 2018. When Indonesian-born Leida came to America, she wasted no time demanding that Alari leave the apartment Eric shared with her — even Alari said her name was on the lease. Leida also did not like that Eric was paying child support. While Leida couldn't get Eric to become "a deadbeat dad," she did manage to convince him to kick Alari out, leaving fans in shock. 

During a Season 6 episode, a tearful Alari said (via Us Weekly), "I don't know where me and my dad stand anymore. I don't want to just not see my dad anymore but if this is how it's going to be, then I guess it's how it's going to be." It didn't look like things were going to get any easier, either — In 2019, In Touch reported that Leida got "a four-year restraining order" against Alari, which would have made it difficult for Alari to visit her father.

While some viewers considered her a villain, In Touch reported that Leida eventually dropped the restraining order. She revealed that she and Alari had bonded over hobbies that they both enjoy, including cosplay, and she'd even helped Alari create a costume. Talking about their truce, Leida said, "We just need to keep supporting each other, since we're family." 

How Mark Shoemaker made his wife 'sad'

"90 Day Fiance" has had its fair share of odd couples, with Mark and Nikki Shoemaker being one of them. Nikki, who hailed from the Phillippines, was 19 when she married Mark, and the couple's nearly 40-year age gap made viewers cringe. But this wasn't the only factor that led viewers to believe that Mark Shoemaker was one disturbing individual. When he purchased Nikki a red convertible, it seemed like a nice surprise at first. But he soon wiped the smile off Nikki's face by informing her that he'd bought the same car for his ex-wife. 

Adding to Nikki's discomfort were the photos of Mark's ex-wife that still decorated his home, which Nikki said made her "feel sad," per The Wrap. She complained that Mark treated her "like a child," according to Reality Tea, and he even tried to make her wear his daughter Elise's hand-me-downs. As noted by Women's Health, Elise is actually one year older than Nikki, and, sadly, she was the only person Nikki knew to reach out to when she needed to talk to someone about an argument she and Mark were having about the possibility of Nikki wanting children someday.  

Screen Rant described Mark's behavior as "controlling" — he infamously got testy with Nikki and told her that touching his car windows was "not allowed" as he was driving her home from the airport. As of this writing, Nikki hasn't updated her Instagram page since 2013, leaving fans to wonder about her fate.

Paola and Russ Mayfield share their miscarriage story

Russ and Paola Mayfield have weathered quite a few storms since appearing on the first-ever season of "90 Day Fiance" in 2014 and going on to star on "90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?" in 2016. From Russ' hesitancy to move to Miami so Paola could advance in her modeling career to Russ losing his job, the couple openly talked about some of the toughest times in their marriage. 

One of their most heartbreaking moments came in 2018 when Paola suffered a miscarriage. She later revealed that Russ wouldn't talk to her about the loss, making her feel "abandoned," per Reality Blurb!. She found out that she was pregnant again later that year, but was cautious about celebrating. "[We're] just trying to protect ourselves. Like, you don't want to get your hopes up because anything could happen, but it's like, it's hard not to feel excited," she told Us Weekly.

On "90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?," Paola shared that she needed to take a RhoGAM shot to protect her unborn baby after learning she has "a rare type of blood" that likely affected her first pregnancy. The reality star shared, "I love this baby so much that it scares me to think that something bad is going to happen." On New Year's Day 2019, Paola gave birth to a son she and Russ named Axel. "I'm ready to start this new adventure and to be the best mom for baby Axel," she said, per Us Weekly.

Corey Rathgeber learned about his father's death while in Ecuador

Corey Rathgeber gave up everything to move to Ecuador to be with the love of his life, Evelin Villegas, during Season 1 of "90 Day Fiance: The Other Way." Before he made the big move, viewers were introduced to Corey's family when he brought Evelin to meet them. His father, Gary Rathgeber, even expressed his hope that Evelin would consider moving to the U.S., per Distractify.

After giving up his car and job and saying goodbye to his family, Corey's dream of hosting his dad at his new home someday was soon dashed. His father died in January 2019, but viewers didn't learn about the death until Season 1, Episode 17, which aired in September of that year, per Screen Rant. Corey returned to his hometown in Washington to be with his family. In the episode, his mom, Linda, shared that Gary's "pancreas had been inflamed" and that he had "gone downhill real fast." Corey confessed that he was struggling over whether to stay in the U.S. to be with his mom or go back to Ecuador to be with Evelin. He eventually decided to go back to Ecuador. 

While Corey's Instagram is private, Screen Rant reported that he posted a heartbreaking tribute to his father when the episode aired. It read in part, "You were supposed to come visit me in Ecuador so we could fish and surf together." He also thanked his "90 Day Fiance" fans for their support. 

Geoffrey Paschel lost his son

Geoffrey Paschel appeared on Season 4 of "90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days" as he jet-setted off to Russian to be with his long-distance girlfriend, Varya Malina. Before he packed his bags, he shared that he had suffered a tragic loss. In a clip from the series, Geoffrey revealed that his son, Kazhem, died in 2018 when he was just 13 months old after suffering from a seizure and being hospitalized.  

Geoffrey shared, "Losing a child is the absolute worse thing that could ever happen to you. There's going to be a hole in my heart for the rest of my life. But I know Kazhem's all around me and that gives me peace in my heart to know that." In May 2020, he uploaded a YouTube video to speak about his son's death. He wrote that he'd been "accused of 'abusing' and 'killing'" his son, adding, "This is one of the most ridiculous and hurtful experiences of my life outside of his actual death."

Geoffrey has dealt with several other serious issues in his life. In October 2021, E! reported that the reality star was "found guilty of kidnapping and domestic violence" against a former girlfriend who had accused him of assaulting her in 2019. A press release from the Knox County District Attorney Office's in Tennesse stated that because Geoffrey has a criminal past that includes multiple drug-related charges, he faced a jail sentence of 12 to 20 years "without the possibility of parole." 

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.

Olga Koshimbetova lived in an orphanage

When viewers met Russian-born Olga Koshimbetova and Maryland native Steven Frend on Season 6 of "90 Day Fiance," the couple was learning to navigate their new lives after finding out Olga was expecting. Despite a few hardships, like Olga having to spend most of her pregnancy in Russia without Steven, he did manage to make it to the birth of their son, Richie, and during the end of the season, Steven proposed to Olga. The pair tied the knot in August 2019 but confirmed that they had split in October 2020, per Us Weekly. However, they appeared to have later reconciled, with Olga sharing photos on Instagram of the family of three enjoying ice cream in July 2021.

While fans were happy to see the couple working together to stay a family for their young son, they also learned that Olga had a rough childhood back in Russia. According to Screen Rant, she was placed in an orphanage and mostly grew up having to take care of herself. With no support from her family, she spent much of her young life around strangers, but she managed to find the light at the end of the tunnel. 

With a family of her own, Olga no longer needs to feel alone. In 2021, she also had a big move to New York to celebrate. "I know you guys asked where exactly we moved, what city. So now our new home in Middle Village. It was a great choice..." she wrote on Instagram.

Darcey and Stacey Silva lost a brother

Darcey and Stacey Silva have become reality television queens. While Darcey starred on several "90 Day Fiance" spin-offs and suffered crushing heartbreaks, her sister Stacey has always been by her side to help pick up the pieces. It was only a matter of time before the sisters landed their very own show on TLC, the aptly titled "Darcey & Stacey." It follows the women's lives as they juggle their relationships and pretty much do everything together — even getting the same cosmetic procedures

The reality stars have been an open book, which also means that they've shared some of the lowest points in their life, including the death of their brother in 1998. According to his obituary in the Hartford Courant, Michael Silva left behind a fiancée and "was a member of the New Haven Police Academy." The sister's fashion brand is named House of Eleven as a tribute to their brother, who "was born May 11th, passed on a July 11th," Darcey said during a Build interview, adding that he died from Ewing's sarcoma.

The sisters have also talked about the bullying they experienced growing up. On an episode of their show (via Screen Rant), Stacey recalled a time when a boy made fun of her because of her vitiligo, which formed a triangular shape above one of her eyes. The bully used to call her "the Bermuda triangle," but he stopped after Darcey told him to leave her sister alone.

Armando Rubio's ex-wife died in a car accident

"90 Day Fiance" stars Armando Rubio and Kenneth Niedermeier made history as the TLC franchise's first male same-sex couple. Kenneth lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, before he moved down to Mexico to be with Armando and his daughter, Hannah, and the family instantly became fan favorites. 

However, before Armando got together with Kenneth, viewers learned that he was married to a woman and trying to hide his sexuality. While he was blessed with Hannah as a result of that relationship, he eventually told his wife the truth, and the two split. Sadly, he shared that his ex-wife later died in a car crash, per Screen Rant. Armando never went into detail about her death on the show, but apparently curious viewers wanted to know what happened. He took to his Instagram and wrote (via Showbiz CheatSheet), "During the divorce proceedings and on the evening of her passing a disagreement took place over fiances and I thought it would be best to leave the situation ... I was driving down the highway and I was shocked when I was suddenly struck from behind and then hit again. I then realized it was my ex-wife and before I knew it she lost control of her vehicle and passed away on the scene."

Armando also sadly revealed that his ex-wife was pregnant with their second child, adding, "I ask for your empathy and understanding on this personal tragedy. Thank you." 

Ellie Rose's husband died suddenly

"90 Day Fiance: The Other Way" Season 3 star Ellie Rose gave up her entire life in Seattle, Washington, which included her pizza shop, to be with Victor McLean in Providencia, an island in the Caribbean. Already having to face Victor's past infidelity while they were in a long-distance relationship, Ellie also learned that she'd be moving to an island that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Iota in November 2020. The storm destroyed thousands of homes, and "95% of the population was affected," per Relief Web.

Before Ellie packed her things to move to Providencia, she shared tragic news about her first husband. During a September 2021 interview with ET, the reality star stated that he had died after accidentally overdosing on prescription painkillers. She shared that his sudden death had an impact on her relationship with Victor, stating, "Probably losing somebody that close to you, changes ... I don't know, I think people could go different ways." She revealed that while she did "build a wall around" herself at first, she later became "more willing to take a leap of faith." She added, "And if you think you've found the person you want to be with, then you're trying to be with them because you don't want to waste any time."

But after Ellie told ET that she and Victor "really do love each other," viewers watched her express her fear that he was possibly interested in her only for her money.