The Netflix reboot Queer Eye takes you inside the lives of modern-day men who need a makeover — physically and mentally — courtesy of Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, and Jonathan Van Ness.
However, sometimes the Fab Five will share personal anecdotes from their lives to help connect with a contestant, and reveal unexpected details about their personal lives. Like the time Karamo opened up about being a single gay father, which took plenty of viewers by surprise.
Karamo's sons, Jason and Christian, are his No. 1 priority.
In a recent Instagram post, Karamo, 38, opened up about being a father and balancing his newfound fame. "I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately which is great... but as a single dad it’s really hard to leave my sons constantly," he wrote. "Every decision I make is to better their lives.... but that still doesn’t stop the guilt I feel for being on the road. I’m so thankful for the opportunities so I’m not complaining. Any parents out there who get my pain?"
Karamo's son Jason was born when Karamo was 15 years old, but it wasn't until 10 years later that Karamo found out. "I came out at 16 years old as a proud, gay man. My last girlfriend in high school—when I was 15—became pregnant with my child but did not tell me," Karamo told Parents.com. ""She moved away, and I never had contact with her again; remember this is before social media."
It wasn't until he received a subpoena for child support that he learned he fathered a child. "I was confused, sad, angry, and weirdly excited to be a dad, but felt lost nonetheless," Karamo continued. "It wasn’t always easy, but when it comes to your children, giving up is never an option."
He also quickly discovered that Jason had a half-brother named Chris, who Karamo took legal guardianship of in 2011. "Chris was nine at the time, and it has been an amazing journey. Again, I give my son’s mother so much praise for allowing me to step in and support her in raising our kids," Karamo added.
Karamo's sons are also his biggest fans.
Despite having to spend more time on the road filming, Jason and Chris, who are now 21 and 18 years old respectively, are proud of their dad — and his Queer Eye success. They also revealed that he is a "strict" parent, but they don't mind.
"A lot of kids think it’s bad when their parents are strict, but I think as a child, I needed that from my parents ⏤ or at least from my dad,” Chris told Slate. "It helped me create self-discipline, so I knew some things I can’t do and some things I can."
Jason agreed, adding, "I also get a sense of confidence from my dad too. He literally gives me so much confidence to do anything."
Before fatherhood, Karamo appeared on Real World.
One year before finding out he was a father, Karamo appeared as the first openly gay man on the MTV reality series Real World: Philadelphia. He credits the show for some of the "best memories of his life."
"It helped me grow as a man, and helped me learn so much about other people and other experiences," he told the PhillyVoice. His season of Real World also starred Shavonda Billingslea, Landon Lueck, and Sarah Burke.
"They're mothers now, and successful businesswomen," he said of the female cast mates he keeps in touch with. He then went on to star on one season of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, before leaving reality TV behind to become a social worker and care for his boys.
Now, Karamo has added fiancé to his resume.
Last May, Karamo proposed to his longtime boyfriend Ian Jordan and he said yes! "Last night, in front of family and friends, I asked my best friend and the love of my life, 'Will you marry me?' He said YESSS!!!! I’m engaged."
So, when's the wedding? Karamo revealed he will tie the knot on October 10, 2020. "I’m in full planning mode," he told The Knot. "Because when I was a boy and I was 7, I was already planning my wedding. I knew it wasn’t legal at the time. But in my mind, I had faith in our country that one day, my love would be recognized. It was literally [recently] watching people like RuPaul that had me thinking, ‘It has to be!'"
Luckily, he will have his Fab Five groomsman by his side.
What is Karamo's net worth?
According to outlets, Karamo's is worth an estimated $3 million. Along with his reality TV fame and lifestyle empire, Karamo also recently published a memoir titled, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope.
"When Karamo Brown first auditioned for the casting directors of Netflix’s Queer Eye, he knew he wouldn’t win the role of culture expert by discussing art and theater. Instead he decided to redefine what ‘culture’ could — and should — mean for the show," the book's synopsis reads. "Seen through this lens, Karamo is culture: His family is Jamaican and Cuban... he was trained as a social worker and psychotherapist; he overcame personal issues of colorism, physical and emotional abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, and public infamy; he is a proud and dedicated gay single father of two boys, one biological and one adopted. It is by discussing deep subjects like these, he feels, that the makeovers on the show can attain their full, lasting meaning."
Stream Queer Eye on Netflix now.