Dark Secrets Of The Cast Of Shahs Of Sunset

"Shahs of Sunset" is just one of the many hit reality shows on Bravo. It premiered in 2012 and immediately captivated viewers with its groundbreaking cast of Iranian and Iranian-Americans living and working in Los Angeles. The second season even took Bravo executives by surprise by nearly doubling in the views it garnered. Fans got an inside look at the glamorous lifestyle of this group of close friends. Some of the cast have known each other since high school, while others have even hooked up in the past. 

With nine seasons under their belt and a few new faces added since its premiere, the show is still capturing attention with shocking revelations and non-stop drama. Over the years, the cast has had dark secrets play out in front of the Bravo cameras, in the press, and in social media. Let's take a look at some dark secrets that you may have missed.

Golnesa 'GG' Gharachedaghi started using drugs at age 11

Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi is one of the most captivating personalities in the world of reality television. Viewers have seen her fiercely go head to head with castmates in explosive arguments. On "Shahs of Sunset," she has always lived her life as an open book. She's spoken about everything from being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis to experimenting with drugs at the age of 11. 

Gharachedaghi told E!'s Just the Sip that her drug addiction took her to a low place. "It was a pretty much low dive. Very, very, very long low dive at age of 11 for me for quite some time." she said. She admitted that while growing up in Los Angeles, she witnessed everyone around her dabble in weed and cocaine, and even convinced her immigrant parents that it was the norm. "I was first generation. So the easiest mechanism for me and my sister to our parents was, 'Well, our American friends' parents let them do it.' And my parents are like, 'Oh.' So they didn't want to be wrong as like they're too strict on us," she shared. "We got away with everything." In 2005, Gharachedaghi checked herself into rehab to seek help after 14 years of drug use. She's now in a better place and only uses cannabis to help with her rheumatoid arthritis.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Jessica Parido was diagnosed with leukemia at 14

Jessica Parido's relationship with Mike Shouhed was just one of the few love stories documented on "Shahs of Sunset." Viewers witnessed the two fall in love, get married in a lavish wedding, and then unfortunately divorce in the messiest of ways. The two were very open about their relationship troubles as they tried to attain their Happily Ever After. One detail that many viewers don't know is that Jessica Parido was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 14. The young Parido was shocked by the news and was even told by doctors that she had a 20% chance of surviving. 

Even though she was young and her life changed overnight, Parido was determined to not give up, telling People, "My mind just completely accepted it, and I said, 'I'm going to beat this. There is no way I'm dying.'" She received a bone marrow transplant from her younger sister and spent the next eight months recovering in an isolated hospital room. "It was daunting to be alone for hours on end," she says. "I became very spiritual and very in tune with myself and my emotions." Parido even spent her 15th birthday in the hospital. However, the love and care from her nurses and caregivers is something Parido never forgot. It even inspired her to become a registered nurse herself.

How Golnesa's divorce changed her outlook on love

Golnesa's first marriage to Shalom Yeroushalmi ended in drama and heartbreak after just two months. The "Shahs of Sunset" star has always been open on the show about not truly believing in marriage. That's why viewers were shocked when she revealed she was going to marry Yeroushalmi after just a one-month engagement. "I have never believed in marriage. I did something to make someone else happy and I completely regretted it afterwards. I knew what I did was wrong and it wasn't for me or for my happiness, but for someone else," she told People. "And I guess for one moment I thought maybe someone else's happiness will do it for me. And it didn't." 

Even though her divorce took two years to get finalized, Gharachedaghi revealed to E! News that she knew her marriage was a mistake after just 48 hours. She explained, "My friends have always told me that I have commitment issues, and so here's a guy that I thought was amazing and incredible. I felt safe with him, so I thought, 'Let me try something new and show him a little bit more of my vulnerabilities, and I'll try this intense commitment.'" She revealed that she always resisted the traditional roles of marriage and the idea of submitting to someone. After moving on, Gharachedaghi remains firm on her anti-marriage stance and now no longer believes in monogamy. She has since embraced a polyamorous lifestyle and revealed a new boyfriend in 2021.

Why Asa Soltan lefts Shahs and joined the Jacksons

Asa Soltan was always a fan favorite on "Shahs of Sunset." Viewers loved how she balanced the rest of the over-the-top cast with logic and humility. In many of the explosive arguments on the show, she was the voice of reason. However, in Season 6, a rift occurred between Soltan and the cast. Her reluctance to discuss her seven-year relationship with Jermaine Jackson Jr. irked the rest of the oversharing cast. The tension between the co-stars boiled over when Soltan appeared pregnant on the show and refused to discuss her IVF journey. Cast member Mercedes Javid felt betrayed by her secrecy and angrily referred to Soltan's unborn child as a "bastard."

When the rest of the cast didn't jump to her defense, Soltan no longer felt comfortable within the group and left the show after Season 6. She found home in a new group -– the legendary Jacksons. Her baby shower was star-studded with the Jackson family attending, including La Toya Jackson and Paris Jackson. Notably absent was the rest of the "Shahs" cast. She revealed that she no longer keeps in touch with the cast, and the treatment she received during her pregnancy is partly the reason. "The fact that I was eight months pregnant and my child was called that disgusting name," she told Bravo in 2021. "It was one of the most difficult things I've ever experienced in my life."

Mercedes Javid can't get pregnant again

Mercedes Javid's motherhood journey was one of the most emotional moments depicted in the series. When she finally gave birth to her first-born child in 2019, viewers were happy to see her finally make her dreams come true. What they didn't know was that her birth was actually a nightmare. Shortly after giving birth, Javid was placed in the ICU after losing two-thirds of her blood supply. The "Shahs" star had multiple complications and even had to remove her uterus.

In 2020, she revealed to People that she can no longer carry a child and is unsure if she wants to consider surrogacy for another baby. "If I wanted to carry, I can't. It's impossible because Shams' birth was an emergency c-section, and unfortunately, I lost my uterus during that birth process," she explained. "But if we could get a handle on this guy and feel like we are capable of having another, we would seek out surrogacy. It isn't something that we've done yet because we really have our hands full with this guy."

Mercedes and Reza's friendship is putting a strain on her marriage

Seasons 8 and 9 of "Shahs of Sunset ” chronicled the falling-out between longtime friends Mercedes Javid and Reza Farahan. The duo went from close friends to enemies when Farahan accused Javid of spreading rumors about his husband being unfaithful. Javid then went on social media and claimed that none of the cast, including Farahan, visited her in the ICU after giving birth. This battle of words led to an angry confrontation at a pool party where the two went at each other, and Farahan screamed at Javid, "Your uterus exploded 'cause you had ten abortions" in front of party guests. In retaliation, Javid's husband visited Farahan's house and allegedly damaged property, resulting in his arrest and Farahan filing a restraining order

In Season 9, the two friends took baby steps in mending the relationship, but Javid's husband has not been on board. In the Season 9 finale, his wife handed him an apology letter from Farahan –- which he quickly ripped up before reading. Javid and Farahan's friendship rekindling is still something the two don't agree on. "He threw his ring," she told E! News' Daily Pop. "He was not OK with it but that was a long time ago, and now I really believe in my heart that I'm so optimistic. Even if it's unrealistic, my goal is for us to do this again, for Tommy and Reza to be able to like [come together] because it's really important."

Reza threatened to sue Mike

The friendship between Reza Farahan and Mike Shouhed has always been rocky. The close friends have operated like two brothers who know each other so well, they know exactly how to get on each other's nerves. In 2019, the bickering between them almost went from in front of the camera to a courtroom. Farahan allegedly threatened legal action against his longtime friend after he began to sell t-shirts with his face and name on them. Farahan was not happy with the "Reza Is My Homeboy" t-shirts and responded with a cease and desist letter. Shouhed took to social media to express his disappointment in his friend, and cast members quickly took sides. Mercedes Javid even chimed in, writing, "Taking legal action on your best friends is really 'cool.' Just when you thought [he] couldn't sink any lower, he did!" 

Shouhed told TMZ he was confused by Farahan's abrupt anger toward the t-shirts. "I had that site up for years. It was an homage to my friends on the show. After years of the site being up and me wearing the shirt in front of him, now all the sudden he wants to send me a cease and desist." He said he asked for everyone's permission before selling the t-shirts, and they all agreed. Shouhed even hinted that their personal issues led to Farahan's sudden change of heart regarding the t-shirts.

​​Sara Jeihooni dated R. Kelly

In Season 8 of "Shahs of Sunset," newcomer Sara Jeihooni shocked viewers when she revealed that she'd dated singer R. Kelly. She sat down with cast member Reza Farahan and detailed how two federal agents showed up to her front door to deliver a subpoena in the case against him. She reportedly met the singer in 2013 and dated him for three years. She revealed that she was shocked by the current allegations against him because that wasn't what she experienced with him. "Robert was very charming, so kind — definitely not what I would have expected," she told Farahan. When she saw the explosive LifeTime documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," she was left in shock. "I don't speak to him anymore," she continued. "And I've watched the documentary and I'm like, the person I loved is a monster, but I don't know that guy" (per Rolling Out).

Later on in the season, she broke down in tears after the cast accused her of not being transparent about her issues –- including her past with R. Kelly. "None of you really know anything about that experience," she tearfully told them. After the season wrapped, Jeihooni opted to not return and publicly slammed the show. "They're just the most toxic group of people I've quite frankly ever met. They're truly not a representation of Persians. I've never met Persians like them to be honest," she told Us Weekly. "I just feel like this is the only show on TV in this country that shows any representation for Persians and it's just not a true representation."

Lilly Ghalichi didn't invite former castmates to her wedding

From the outside looking in, Lilly Ghalichi was the perfect addition to the "Shahs of Sunset" cast. The self-proclaimed "Persian Barbie" was a glamorous lawyer-turned-businesswoman, who always knew how to have a good time. After her introduction in Season 2, she never quite gelled with the group. Cast mates considered her stuck-up and fake, so they quickly shunned her. After Season 3, TMZ reported that Ghalichi was fired for being boring. However, Bravo confirmed that it was her choice to move on from the show

Even though the cast never truly bonded with the Persian Barbie, many of them were still left confused when she didn't invite them to her lavish wedding in 2017. "Lilly made everyone, Golnesa, Jessica, and Mike, feel like they were cool and then snubbed them for the wedding invitation," said Mercedes Javid during the Season 3 reunion. Javid even went on to spill on "Watch What Happens Live" that Ghalichi invited her publicist to her wedding but not the rest of the "Shahs" cast. During an interview with Bravo in 2021, Ghalichi revealed there were a lot of hurt feelings after her departure, but she's taking baby steps in mending the relationship with the crew. "After the show, I was genuinely hurt. I really had my feelings hurt," she said. "I felt alienated by this group that I thought I was forming real friendships with. I didn't talk to any of them for three years ... maybe four years. I reconnected with Gigi first, then Reza, then Mike, and we really are friends."

Nema Vand got in trouble for talking about Meghan Markle

The city of Los Angeles is a pretty small town, and apparently, all celebrities have been classmates. Nema Vand definitely one-upped his cast mates Reza Farahan and Mercedes Javid (who went to high school with Monica Lewinsky) when he revealed his former classmate -– Meghan Markle. "I grew up with her. We were friends for a long time," he said. "She was a year older than me." He described how well-liked she was amongst their peers and how every guy (including him) had a crush on her. 

After detailing a flirty moment he had with Markle and his friend's short-lived relationship with her on a podcast, Vand accidentally created a media firestorm. During an episode of "Watch What Happens Live," Vand told Andy Cohen, "I had reporters showing up to my house," he said. "My friend, who I had mentioned had dated her, had reporters camping outside of his home for a week. I was getting death threats on Twitter." Vand said he learned his lesson from the Meghan Markle Army and probably won't be telling old stories ever again.

Reza Farahan revealed he has body dysmorphic disorder

In 2017, Reza Farahan revealed that he was working to get in shape and was hoping to lose 50 pounds. He took on exercising, long-distance running, intermittent fasting, and dieting in hopes of getting healthier and getting back to looking like his younger self. Even after reaching his weight loss goals, the "Shahs of Sunset" star revealed that he still had a long way to go and wasn't quite comfortable with his own body image. "I've lost 50 pounds but unfortunately I have body dysmorphic disorder. I still look in the mirror and see someone very rotund," he revealed to BravoTV. "My dream body is like really long and emaciated. I wish I was 6'4” and 170 pounds, just lean as f**k. I think I'm going to spend my whole life trying to get there."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Nema Vand's estranged relationship with his father

When Nema Vand joined the cast of "Shahs of Sunset" in Season 7, he instantly became a voice of reason in this wild cast. His bubbly personality and neutrality during conflicts made him one of the few people in the crew that was liked by all. Outside of his funny commentary, he began to open up about some of the issues in his life, including his own divorce and the strained relationship he has with his parents, which began after they divorced when he was a child. His mother moved out with his sister, while he stayed with his father. 

On the show, he opened up about how devastating it was to see the breakup of his family. In Season 8, viewers saw an emotional breakthrough between Vand and his father as he opens up about that childhood trauma and reveals that it's partly the reason he doesn't want kids. "I love you to death," he told his father. "I forgive you and I forgive mom. I mean that because I don't want to carry it in [my heart] any more. I can't spend the next 35 years like the last couple of years. I can't do it." Like every other reality show, his vulnerability has been used against him. Cast members like Mike Shouhed have thrown it back in his face during arguments. During Season 8, Shouhed and Vand bumped heads, and Shouhed knew exactly what button to push. "Your dad didn't teach you these things," he sneered. "He didn't teach you how to be a man."

Golnesa suffered a miscarriage

Golnesa's emotional journey to motherhood was documented in Season 9. She revealed that she was ready to have kids, even if she had to raise them as a single mother. On the show, she revealed that she had a sperm donor and used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive. Her first successful embryo transfer resulted in a heartbreaking ectopic pregnancy which led her to believe her dreams of motherhood were never going to come true. 

She tearfully told her cast mates the news: "There's only 1 percent chance for that to happen through IVF, so everyone was in shock, my doctors, everyone. And then they start [methotrexate] injections into my muscles to make it dissolve. So we did that. It hasn't dissolved," she explained. "Start getting these pains, and it got really bad. It was in there, it ruptured, which is what can kill the person. So they had to go in and they removed both my fallopian tubes. So I can never, in my life, get pregnant naturally. So it is what it is." Going from celebrating the pregnancy to mourning the loss hit her hard. "For weeks, [I was] playing the, 'Who am I supposed to be mad at?' game," Gharachedaghi told People. "I wanted to blame someone and I couldn't. I kept blaming myself because no one had an answer. I checked back into therapy, to try to figure out how to work through this all."

The cast has been open about experiencing racial profiling

Even though the cast of "Shahs of Sunset" have faced criticism from the Persian community for poor representation, the show still has moments that ring true for many members of the community. In Season 8, viewers had a chance to see the racial profiling many Middle Eastern people experience while traveling. With Bravo cameras rolling, cast members Mike Shouhed, Nema Vand, and Shervin Roohparvar were kicked off a plane while traveling to Los Angeles. The three men described the moment as racial profiling

"We're walking to our seats that were saved by another friend. The gentleman, he saw that and ran to take our seats. I was guilty before the flight attendant even came up to me. She already made up her mind that I'm gonna get off the plane. She didn't want to hear our story," Shouhed described. "People who look like me are discriminated against." At the show's reunion, other cast members chimed in with their own experiences at the airport that includes being constantly randomly selected for extra screenings and even being tested for bomb residue. "I think 9/11 changed a lot of things more aggressively," said Golnesa Gharachedaghi. "It happens, we deal with it."