Despite more than 40 years of friendship, American Pickers stars Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe had a falling out in 2020. What happened to cause their feud and where do they stand today?

Why Did Frank Fritz Leave ‘American Pickers’?

Fans started noticing that trouble could be brewing on season 21 of American Pickers in 2020. Frank abruptly stopped appearing on the show beginning with the March 9, 2020, episode, with no explanation to viewers about his absence.

Frank later explained that he took some time away from filming to have back surgery, which left him with 185 stitches and two rods in his spine, according to The U.S. Sun. Amid his recovery, he was also continuing to deal with his chronic Crohn’s disease.

“It’s up to the network whether I come back on the show,” he said in a 2021 interview with the outlet. “It ain’t gonna affect me one bit. I didn’t leave the show. I finished shooting and then I had a little back surgery and then the pandemic came.”

When season 22 premiered in January 2021, Frank was still nowhere to be seen. That summer, Mike confirmed that his costar would not be returning. “I have known Frank for as long as I can remember, he’s been like a brother to me,” Mike wrote on Instagram. “The journey that Frank, Dani [Colby] and I started back in 2009, like all of life, has come with its highs and lows, blessings and challenges, but it has also been the most rewarding.”

He concluded, “I will miss Frank, just like all of you, and I pray for the very best and all good things for him on the next part of his journey.”

At the time, Entertainment Weekly also reported that the network didn’t feel Frank fit into the show’s “big picture.” Meanwhile, Frank admitted that he “would like to come back to the show” but wasn’t sure if that was in his future. “There is a lot of controversy going on right now,” he admitted.

What Happened Between American Pickers’ Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz?

“I haven’t talked to Mike in two years,” Frank told The U.S. Sun in July 2021. “He knew my back was messed up but he didn’t call me up and ask how I was doing. That’s just how it is.”

american pickers feud what happened between mike and frank

He also expressed his frustrations about the production of American Pickers, adding, “The show is tilted towards [Mike], 1,000 percent. I can’t even bend that far down to show you how much. That’s fine. It’s like you’ve got Aerosmith and there’s Steven Tyler and he’s the frontman. I found my spot. I’m second and he’s number one on the show. That’s no problem with me. Maybe he does have a problem.”

The following month, Frank resurfaced to slam Mike for the message he posted about Frank’s exit from the long-running series. “Mike’s statement was bulls–t,” he said, per Newsweek. “Somebody wrote it out for him. I don’t believe in 10 years he’s said five nice things to me, you know? Unless he was cutting somebody else down and we were both laughing.”

Mike then hinted that Frank’s struggle with addiction is what led to their fallout. “We all do care about Frank and want him back on the show,” the History channel star said. “I would love to talk with him again, we would absolutely love to, but he just can’t get it right. Frank is just going through a lot personally with his addictions. It’s unfortunate that he’s made decisions that have made him the way he is.”

At the time, Frank confirmed that he had gone to rehab and was sober for 11 months. “I don’t think I’ll ever have a drink again because I don’t like the feeling anymore and some of the dumb things that I did,” he admitted. “I’m feeling really good. Life is good and I’d like to get back into the swing of things. I wish I had done it five years ago. I would have been a different person.”

In July 2022, Frank was found unresponsive in his Iowa home after suffering a stroke. Despite their differences, Mike took to Instagram to wish his former friend well. “I have been very private in the past years in regards to Frank’s life and the journey he’s been on,” Mike wrote. “There [have] been lots of opinions in regards to mine and Frank’s friendship and the show but now is not the time to set the record straight. Now is the time to pray for my friend.”

He also added, “Frank I pray more than anything that you make it through this okay. I love you buddy.” Several months later, in February 2023, Mike publicly addressed his relationship with Frank once again during an Instagram chat with fans. “Nothing will ever replace Frank,” he insisted. “We miss him. Very much like y’all do.”

Where Do ‘American Pickers’ Stars Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe Stand Today?

In May 2023, it was reported that Mike and Frank had reunited over Memorial Day weekend. “Mike has been wanting to see Frank for quite some time,” a friend told The Quad-City Times. “Frank just now felt up to seeing him. It was Frank’s request to see Mike.”

The friend said that the reunion went down in the room where Frank had been receiving care from his stroke. While she wasn’t present for the entire conversation, she shared that the men “were both in tears” as they reminisced.

It was also reported that Mike and Frank were on good terms and that their relationship had simply become “strained” after working so closely for many years. “This was not a feud between Mike and Frank at all,” the friend insisted. “They were not feuding. They needed separation to appreciate each other.”

Frank has still not returned to American Pickers as he continues to focus on his health.

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