If you watched 90-Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days Season 4 (or regularly consume social media content), you definitely know “Big Ed” or “No Neck Ed.” Ed Brown, a photographer and architectural interior designer, has catapulted himself into fame after becoming one of the reality show’s most despicable villains. It was hard to miss clips of him demanding his Filipina ex-fiance, 23-year-old Rosemarie Vega, to get an STI test, mocking her for her alleged bad breath, admitting to numerous past cheating, and lying about his height.
But while Big Ed was straight-up rude, he was also a subject of ridicule. The reality show star has received a lot of body-shaming comments due to his apparent lack of neck (thus his nickname No Neck Ed) and also became a viral meme. But living with the condition all his life, he got already used to all the bullying.
Though unlike what most viewers and trolls think, his neck condition wasn’t a result of his weight or size.
What caused Big Ed’s no-neck appearance?
In an exclusive interview with ET, Big Ed opened up about his appearance and the reason behind it, which was a rare congenital disorder. He explained, “I grew up with the condition called KFS – Klippel-Feil syndrome – where it looks like I actually don’t have a neck.” But he does. Though unlike normal humans, who have seven vertebrates, he has three that are the size of 2. That is mainly due to the congenital fusion of two or more neck (cervical) vertebrae. Additionally, he also has a bigger-than-normal chest cavity. In fact, way back in high school, he got stuck in the neck machine and became a running joke.
“So when the show first came out, I was literally in a panic because I was reading stuff online — which they told me not to — and that’s all it was, I can’t wait until next season,” Big Ed shared. All of the bad memories came flooding back in, and there was a time that he found it so difficult to get out of bed.
But he was able to get past it and claim his confidence back.
Big Ed inspires
Despite the hate comments during the show, Big Ed still gained a positive experience through messages from fans telling him that he inspired them. There was even one in particular from a man named Abe, who also suffers from bullying due to the same condition. He wanted to give up on life, but Big Ed told him “not to let this syndrome define who he is.”
At a very young age, Big Ed already learned an important thing: He can let his condition define him or accept that God made him that way. He chose the latter, and when he did, he felt empowered. He shared, “If we can learn more to laugh at ourselves and people are going to look at us differently, but the most important thing I’ve learned from that is that I’m different, and it’s OK to be different.”
He also said, “You can love who you are. There is nothing you can change about yourself. Accept that and you’ll be fine.”
Until now, Big Ed and Abe still email and talk. And what started out for him as a reality TV show turned into a platform where he can help people like him get through the bullying side of life. He also wanted to use it as a bridge to connect with fans, noting that he would never turn down a request for a photo or conversation.
Where is Big Ed now?
After the messy breakup between Big Ed and Rose, he continued his journey in the 90 Day Fiance franchise as a cast member for The Single Life. And in Season 1, he met Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Woods. The couple failed to maintain a relationship on the show and broke up eight times. But after filming ended, the two reconciled, got engaged, and joined the cast of 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? Season 7.
It was a rollercoaster ride for the couple after Ed admitted that his family wasn’t supportive of their relationship. Then in a tell-all episode that aired last January 1, 2023, the couple dropped truth bombs. First, they have broken up nine or ten times at that point. Second, they are still engaged (as Liz is still wearing the ring) but not living together anymore. Third, Big Ed is active again on dating sites. And fourth, he apparently reestablished a connection with his ex-fiance Rosemarie and Liz didn’t know about it.
It looks like Big Ed’s neck condition is not getting in the way of charming girls at all. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how and where this goes.