Erika Owens’ relationship with Stephanie Matto played out on 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days in the most awful way. Now, the Australian photographer is speaking out about the experience, and she’s even defending Stephanie against those who say she isn’t gay.
It all started when Stephanie made her way down under to meet Erika face to face after the pair had been in an online relationship already. But from the moment Stephanie touched down, every interaction she had with Erika was really, really awkward.
The pair spent more of the trip fighting than anything, and ultimately, Erika and Stephanie broke up over some severe trust issues — and Stephanie’s reluctance to come out to her mom.
Erika defends Stephanie’s sexuality
Ever since their first meeting and their explosive breakup played out on reality TV, 90 Day Fiance fans have been questioning whether the first LGBTQ couple cast by the franchise was real. Specifically, many think that Stephanie Matto is not gay.
When given the opportunity to pile on, Erika stepped up in Stephanie’s defense, explaining that sexuality isn’t always that easy to figure out.
“Honestly, I can only speak for my experience and who I am,” Erika told Entertainment Tonight. “Sexuality is a very personal thing, and sometimes it takes, like, exploring yourself to be able to figure that out, you know? It sucks that at some points, it felt like the figuring out of things was at my expense, but I’m not gonna sit here and say that she is something or she isn’t, because that’s her own personal journey.”
“I don’t think it’s fair for them to say that in the first place to a stranger, and secondly, you know, to even make a judgment in the first place,” she continues. “Of course, like, people can have their doubts or whatever, but like I’ve mentioned before, this is Steph’s journey, and its no one’s place to, like, publicly go for her.”
Erika had to recover after explosive breakup with Stephanie
Even though their time together was short, Stephanie Matto made a significant impact on Erika Owens.
Erika said if she knew Stephanie would have a problem with so many things about her life, she wouldn’t have bothered meeting in the first place.
“Honestly, we didn’t sleep in the same room or even the same hotel room more than four nights, which was … you know, I didn’t actually get to spend a lot of time with her other than what you guys have seen,” Erika explained.
Erika also said she was “very taken aback” by the things that Stephanie had a problem with, which includes their first date. Erika took Stephanie to make molds of their breasts. Stephanie also had issues with Erika’s friends.
It was that final breakup when Stephanie got upset about a relationship that Erika had before they even knew each other, which will leave a lasting impression. Stephanie got so angry that she smashed a bowl on the floor, which upset Erika.
“Once we shut the cameras off, I was not in a good place for a while after that,” Erika said of the split. “After the bowl throw, I actually sat in bed for quite some time, and I was just crying. It was not good mentally for me. I wouldn’t say I was fearing for my life or anything, but you know, it was a very intense moment that really startled me and kind of put me in a very negative headspace that was not great … For a couple of weeks after that, I was not OK.”
Ultimately, Erika doesn’t know if she and Stephanie could ever work things out in the future. What she did say, though, is that if they had realized sooner just how incompatible they are, they might have been able to go their separate ways and still be friends.
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days airs Sundays at 8/7c on TLC.