90 Day Fiancé star Ed “Big Ed” Brown brings the drama and the laughs on the hit TLC franchise, but he’s also experienced the dark side of reality TV fandom. He has been open about the cyberbullying and body-shaming he’s experienced on social media from viewers who make fun of his neck condition, Klippel-Fiel syndrome.
“I have limited range of movement,” Ed, 55, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published in March 2020. “I have a bigger than normal chest cavity, so I’ve been made fun of my whole life, and when I was in high school, I actually got stuck in the neck machine. I used to work out with all the football players and so that became kind of a running joke, so I sort of become really well-known, they would still sort of tease me. 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, was I can’t wait until next season.”
Klippel-Fiel syndrome is a rare disorder that exists when two or more cervical vertebra bones in the neck fuse together, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The fusion is caused when the cervical vertebrae fail to divide or become segmented during the early weeks of fetal development. Common signs of Klippel-Fiel syndrome are a short neck, low hairline at the back of the head, and restricted mobility of the upper spine.
The 90 Day: The Single Life star previously opened up about the positive side of his reality TV fame on social media is that he can reach others who struggle with the same condition.
“The biggest takeaway for me was, these people would write me letters and say, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ and ‘I have your same syndrome, but I can’t get out of bed,'” Big Ed told People in February 2021. “You have to accept that this is how God made you. And this is who you are, and the sooner you can do that, the easier life will become. And for me, that’s it. That’s worked really, really well. It’s been kind of my winning formula.”
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