The season of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days brings a huge first for the franchise: the first-ever same-sex couple.
Stephanie Matto, 29, is from Yonkers, NY, and met her Australian girlfriend Erika Owens, 24, online.
According to TLC president Howard Lee, they’ve been looking to cast a same-sex couple from the beginning of the series, but it hasn’t worked out until now.
We have yet to meet Stephanie and Erika on the show, but based on the previews, we’ll probably get to see them this week. Rumor has it that much of the drama around the show will concern Stephanie’s health.
Stephanie has aplastic anemia, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough blood cells.
Stephanie starts the season in the closet
However, there are hints that Stephanie and Erika’s families may cause drama as well; both women identify as bisexual, and Stephanie hadn’t come out to her family at the time she began her relationship with Erika.
Stephanie, a YouTube influencer, has over 350,000 subscribers on her channel but hadn’t previously revealed her sexuality.
“There’s people that have been following my social media for a long time, and I’m sure they’re probably very caught off guard,” she said of coming out.
Even more of a concern than her followers was her family. She said there were “specific reasons” that she hadn’t come out, but was coy about what they were.
According to her, we will be able to see it on the show.
“One of the important things that I go into in the show is coming out to my family, and trying to embrace who I am finally after keeping it hidden for so long,” Stephanie said in an interview with Us Magazine.
She mentioned that while she had casually dated women before, Erika is her first serious relationship with a woman.
Coming out on TV
Coming out is a big deal for lots of people, but Stephanie decided to make it even bigger by coming out on national television.
Stephanie knew the decision would be controversial.
“A lot of people might wonder why did I decide to do it now and on television? It’s pretty crazy, but I’m a pretty crazy person,” she said, “I felt like this was like ripping the Band-Aid off, like, the ultimate coming out. You can’t back out now, you just got to do it. You got to jump right in.”
Viewers are thrilled that Stephanie decided to share her story on 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days. Stephanie and Erika have been the talk of the fandom, and it looks like we’ll finally meet them this Sunday.
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days airs on Sundays at 8/7c on TLC.