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What Really Happened To Brandi From Storage Wars?

"Storage Wars” wouldn't be the hit reality show it is if it weren't for the charm and masterful wit Brandi Passante brings to the series. The show is essentially predicated on the age-old concept of the treasure hunt — its cast, Brandi included, hunts for the proverbial (and sometimes literal) gold in forgotten storage units. The show found its own diamonds-in-the-rough in thrift store owners Brandi and her then-partner Jarrod Schulz; the duo's lively banter and hilarious antics quickly made them fan-favorites. They came to be known as the Young Guns of "Storage Wars" (the nickname alludes to their youth and inexperience compared to the other members of the show).

Despite being one of the most outspoken and brazen members of "Storage Wars" when it comes to treasure hunting, Brandi's personal life is considerably more private and, in many ways, tragic. The reality TV star has previously spoken out about how "tumultuous" her adulthood (and childhood) has been, complete with work woes, a messy breakup, and an assault charge against ex-fiancé Jarrod. Join us as we attempt to understand the turbulent events of her life and what's kept her going.

Brandi found Storage Wars too taxing, which led to her temporary exit from the show

Fame was a surprising — but not entirely unwelcome — addition to Brandi and Jarrod's lives. Brandi has even been quoted as saying, "I really, honestly didn't think that ["Storage Wars"] was going to go anywhere." She couldn't have been more wrong. The couple, however, was significantly underprepared for the long working hours and arduous tasks that came with the fame.

Brandi, for one, made the giant leap from being a full-time mom and part-time worker to slogging for 60 hours a week. The reality star was asked to do everything from long drives to shoot locations to waking up at 4 a.m. The show also compelled Brandi to make several sacrifices, including missing out on some of her children's most important milestones, such as her daughter's first day of kindergarten. Such complications likely factored into her decision to take a temporary leave of absence from the show, with partner Jarrod in tow.

Her relationship with Jarrod became strained due to their constant togetherness

While starring on "Storage Wars," Brandi and Jarrod found their personal and professional lives colliding like never before, and it wasn't long before the duo experienced the downside of spending every waking moment in each other's presence. Per Jarrod's admission to the Times-Standard, not only did co-managing their joint venture (the "Now and Then" thrift store in Orange, California) take a toll on the couple's relationship, but the hectic production schedules also proved to be extremely challenging. Brandi agreed, saying, "Working together as a couple every day is quite an obstacle to overcome. We're together 24 hours a day, seven days a week trying to make business decisions together." She further revealed that the couple was often at each other's throats.

The show may have cast the pair's disagreements and spats in a mild and playful light, but reality was much different. In Jarrod's own bittersweet words, "[The show] makes our dysfunction seem a little less dysfunctional."

Brandi and Jarrod scored their own spin-off show

With their starring roles in "Storage Wars," Brandi and Jarrod had built a brand of their own, which led them to the next logical step in their illustrious career: their very own spin-off show, "Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job." The show followed Brandi and Jarrod's journey as thrift store owners, partners, and parents. While managing their store and their pair of adolescent children, the couple finally quarrels their way to the altar (although they never officially end up tying the knot).

"Married to the Job" was a marked shift for the couple, given that work and personal life became one and the same for them. Given that "Storage Wars" had proved so trying, this seemed to be a change for the better. Unfortunately for the duo, the show failed to garner the same attention that its parent series did and eventually stopped airing after a measly eight episodes. So much for positive change.

Cracks in Brandi and Jarrod's relationship first became visible on Instagram

Brandi and Jarrod's relationship was over long before the couple publicly admitted as much. Brandi officially announced her split from Jarrod in a tell-all interview with The Dad Diary in 2020, despite having broken up with him two years earlier.

In spite of their initial silence, it took very little detective work to work out that Passante's and Schultz's relationship was on thin ice back in 2018. Schulz's absence from Passante's plentiful Instagram posts became fairly obvious to her many eagle-eyed fans, as well as to news outlets, who easily deduced their break-up. Some publications spotted the star sans her engagement ring in photos, and even spied a new man (or two) on her arm. Not to be left behind, Schulz also went public with his new girlfriend, Rochel Beckman. Given the overwhelming evidence of a split between the two, it's safe to say that fans of the show weren't remotely surprised when Brandi broke the news publicly.

Brandi and Jarrod continued to appear on Storage Wars, but separately

Season 13 of "Storage Wars" brought about one of the show's biggest changes: Having split up, the Young Guns would no longer participate as a team. Yet those who thought this change might mean less of the former couple's notorious bickering couldn't be more wrong. Instead, viewers were treated to more drama than ever before, even if it was at the expense of Brandi's peace of mind.

The pair's estranged off-screen relationship translated into some heated on-screen moments, including bidding wars and stand-offs. In one such instance, Jarrod claimed, "If Brandi bids on [an item], I'll probably bid [too]," making it clear that he was out to get on his former partner's nerves. Some of this war between the two exes was also fought on the social media battlefield. In the run-up to the Season 13 premiere, Brandi posted a promotional image of "Storage Wars" on Twitter, in which Jarrod's face just happened to be obscured with an emoji depicting the devil.

Jarrod was charged with a count of domestic battery

For Brandi, running into her ex-partner during auctions was a source of great discomfort. One can only imagine her state of mind when Jarrod turned up at the same friendly gathering she also happened to be attending (per TMZ). The two got into a verbal spat, which quickly turned physical and violent when Jarrod allegedly shoved a shocked Brandi twice. Brandi has since indicated that similar altercations may have brought about the end of their decades-long relationship. The actor even sports a tattoo of the word "Free," signifying her escape from a harrowing almost-marriage and her new journey toward independence.

Although Jarrod vehemently disputes Brandi's allegations, he was charged with domestic battery for what transpired that night, and A&E, the network that airs "Storage Wars," set in motion an inquiry into Jarrod's alleged behavior. While the results of that investigation have not been officially revealed — assuming it's even been completed — the network seems to have taken action against Jarrod, given that he's conspicuously absent from the show's 14th season.

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.

Brandi's currently 'going with the flow'

Brandi's breakup left deep psychological wounds — scars that could not heal easily and left her "closed off," as the star's own therapist described. In an interview with Spirit Talk, she recounted, "I wasn't really allowed to have an identity for many, many years. And so these last couple of years, I'm kind of coming into my own and figuring out who I am." After nearly a decade of being one half of a pair — both in her personal life and career — Brandi is finally exploring and learning about her own individuality.

The "Storage Wars" star last addressed rumors about her relationship status in February of 2021 in the same interview, wherein she denied "having an attachment" with anyone at the time. She did admit to going on dates but declared that she was not actively "seeking out" a relationship. None of the mystery men from her earlier Instagram posts seem to have become permanent fixtures in her life, but one glance at her profile will tell you all you need to know: She's thriving and "going with the flow."

She's a devoted single mother of two

After splitting up with Jarrod, Brandi assumed the role of a single mother to their two children, Payton and Cameron. The star has revealed, however, that she had always done "a lot of [the parenting] on her own anyway." What may seem like a daunting task to some is something Brandi enjoys. In an earlier interview, she opined that raising children while simultaneously satisfying her professional goals has made her "a better parent."

Knowing fully well the trials that come with stardom, Brandi remains extremely mindful of her children's privacy — to the extent that she refrains from posting photos of them on social media. Of particular concern to the single mom is the abundance of "creepy dudes" online. To that end, Brandi's kids are in complete agreement with her and are more than happy to be relegated to the social media sidelines. In recent times, Brandi appears to have relaxed this rule, even posting a tear-jerking photo celebrating her son's graduation.

She's become heavily involved in charity work

"Storage Wars" may have netted Brandi fame and fortune, but the reality star makes sure she gives back in equal measure. Moreover, she hasn't allowed adversity to deter her from doing profoundly meaningful work, instead channeling her energy and celebrity into charity work to help women who have faced instances of domestic violence similar to her own experiences.

Most prominently, Brandi has lent her time and talents to the charitable organization Women's Own Worth (WOW), which assists "victims of domestic violence and survivors of violent crime." Notably, Brandi hosted the charity's yearly WOWapalooza fundraising event in 2019, helping them secure more than $100,000 in donations. The star became affiliated with WOW after hearing about its founder Jajuan Archer's own poignant story at an event in Dallas. On her association with the organization, Brandi remarked, "I have experienced some things in my life, and it's a really wonderful cause. It's things that are needed, so I wanted to help in any way possible."

She's recovering from a profound loss in her life

In October 2020, Brandi revealed that her father had passed away. She paid special tribute to him on Instagram, which included lyrics from Willie Nelson's poignant song "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground." The reality star appeared to be extremely close to her father; she especially recalled his lenient, patient approach to parenting. In Brandi's own words, "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."

Brandi also divulged that her father's death was not the only loss she had suffered in 2020. A short period of time before sharing her dad's commemoration post, she had posthumously honored another loved one. A deeply sorrowful Brandi implored the year to stop robbing her of those near and dear to her heart. The "Storage Wars" cast member does, fortunately, have a wonderful support system in her fans, who immediately flooded her posts with their condolences and heartfelt sympathy.

She contracted the coronavirus

News of Brandi's bout of sickness broke at the same time as that of her separation from partner Jarrod — and through the same channel too, "The Dad Diary." At the time of her heart-to-heart with Danny Jordan, Brandi had been under strict quarantine for 12 days. Despite her COVID diagnosis, the star appeared cheery and upbeat and shared her story about battling the virus in detail. 

Brandi explained that she had experienced the whole range of COVID-19 symptoms, from loss of taste to congestion. She had also been suffering from throbbing headaches, which had luckily subsided on the very day of her tell-all interview. The reality star was doing her best to bounce back from this spell of ill-health, even drinking some "nasty celery juice." According to TV Shows Ace, Brandi seemed to have made a full recovery a few weeks later and was up and about in the best of spirits.

She's been battling an autoimmune disease

Like with all major life events, Brandi took to Instagram to share an important update about her health. As it turns out, the reality star has not only battled the coronavirus but also a chronic illness, all while keeping the news under wraps from viewers. But die-hard fans of "Storage Wars" were quick on the uptake and first to notice that something seemed amiss.

As reported by TV Shows Ace, one inquisitive Instagram user questioned Brandi's raspy voice on a newly released episode of the show, prompting her to publicly reveal the cause of it. She explained that she has an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's Disease, wherein the immune system mistakes the body for a threat. She further explained that the disease strikes particularly at the thyroid glands, which occasionally leads her voice to take on a gravelly quality. The reality star chose not to detail her condition and treatment, but fans delivered an outpouring of concern and sympathy all the same.

Brandi advocates for disability rights

Brandi uses her considerable social media reach to promote good causes, often focusing on important causes like disability rights. Brandi's advocacy presumably stems from her own family's hardships, which she revealed in an interview with "The Dad Diary" host and prominent disability advocate Danny Jordan (whose own daughter was born with a limb difference).

Brandi divulged details of her daughter's congenital impairment: Payton was born deaf and with a cleft palate, both of which needed surgery when she was just an infant to resolve. Brandi single-handedly accompanied Payton as she underwent a 16-hour procedure and multiple rounds of speech therapy, all while minding her toddler Cameron. At one point, her son also underwent surgery to treat a serious condition of the kidney, which was particularly tough on the family. 

Drawing from her experience, Brandi can be often seen resharing Danny's social media posts about disability rights and enthusiastically promoting his children's book series "The Capables," which aims to make kids with disabilities feel empowered.

She's been teaming up with Bozek for Storage Wars Season 14

Jarrod's absence in Season 14 of "Storage Wars" was made less conspicuous by the arrival of Brandi's newest teammate Bozek, who was already a familiar face on the show. Bozek's brief time on the popular reality series has been enough to bring him notoriety. The central theme of one episode in particular, "Bozek is my Spirit Animal," became a running gag and practically turned the guest star into "Storage Wars" royalty. Undoubtedly, this popularity earned him more screen time in the subsequent seasons and eventually a storage-hunting partnership with Brandi.

Brandi has teamed up with others on "Storage Wars" often, but few of these alliances have had quite the success that the Brandi and Bozek pairing has. Their partnership has paid off in ways both figurative and literal. One Season 14 episode saw Brandi rake in thousands of dollars after a particularly good call by Bozek. She's even forced to utter the three most dreaded words in the English language, "You were right!"

She's been regularly podcasting her experiences

Not only has Brandi conquered the realm of reality television, but she's also mastering the podcasting domain. She's a regular on the podcast "Happening Now With Hammer," along with hosts Hammer and Troy Davis, both of whom she became fast friends after a chance meeting at a dive bar, per Outsider. Episodes of "Happening Now With Hammer" cover an eclectic mix of topics that, on any given day, can wildly oscillate between discussions about the Hulu hit "Pam and Tommy" to more somber fare like the ongoing war in Ukraine. Another chapter even showcases Brandi and the crew celebrating 4/20 in style.

Since beginning her run on "Happening Now With Hammer" in June 2021, Brandi has made her mark so effectively that the podcast is slowly beginning to resemble "Storage Wars." Its introductory sequence features Hammer and Troy opening a storage locker to find an invaluable treasure inside: Brandi! The reality star seems to have even brought on board her "Storage Wars" castmate, fan-favorite Kenny Crossley, for multiple episodes of the podcast series.

She's gotten close with Storage Wars castmate Kenny

Listeners of this "Happening Now With Hammer" episode were the first to become privy to important behind-the-scenes "Storage Wars" information: The warm relationship Brandi and Kenny seem to share on-screen is just as real off-camera, if not more. When hosts Hammer and Troy express their admiration for Kenny, Brandi is only too happy to chime in, "[He's] one of my favorite humans." Rarely does a day go by without Kenny calling or texting her, she further reveals.

Brandi also mentions that Kenny would make for an excellent guest on the show, an appearance that materialized a year down the line. The duo has since made their strong friendship social media official, from embarking on adventures in podcasting on "Hammer" to posing for selfies together on Brandi's Instagram. The pair's cordial relationship is often captured on the "Storage Wars" cameras, too. In one episode, Kenny can be seen helping Brandi sort through items in a cluttered storage locker in exchange for a scrumptious meal.