Fans of Million Dollar Listing New York will recognize a familiar face that has returned to the main cast. After famously stepping aside from real estate at the end of Season 5, Luis D. Ortiz is now back in business.
Now that he's made his return, Luis has opened up a little bit about his breakup with ex-girlfriend Nikita, as well as the mental health issues that taught him that he's better off with his real estate family in New York.
Here's why Luis left Million Dollar Listing, and why he's back today.
Luis moved to Paris, a city he'd never visited, to get a new lease on life.
Two years ago, Luis' fellow real estate brokers were shocked when he broke the news that he was leaving New York for Paris, a city he'd never even visited before.
The 32-year-old Puerto Rico native spent the past couple of years traveling, making stops in California, New York, Australia, London, Bali, and Tokyo. MDLNY costar Ryan praised Luis' bravery, saying it took "cojones" to follow his gut and look for his passion in life.
"I think that's what he wanted to do," Ryan said to The Daily Dish. "He just wanted to travel, see the world, live life, and he's living it. And I give him a lot of credit for actually doing it because a lot of people talk about doing that kind of lifestyle all the time... But he's figured out how to do it and how to be happy doing it, so it's great."
But Luis struggled with depression following his breakup from first love, Nikita.
Those who caught Season 6 and watched the guys visit Luis in Paris know that his life in the City of Lights wasn't all "flying balloons and flying elephants," like he thought it would be.
In fact, the Latin broker confessed to Ryan and Fredrik that he was "crying all the time" and truly "not happy" during their visit to Paris. "I keep putting this f--king pressure on myself to try to find out what it is that I want to do," he told his coworkers, holding back tears. "I come to Paris, I leave everything behind, people think I'm crazy."
"But I come here," he continued, "and I f---ing hate it, you know? I'm crying all the time and it's stupid because I'm supposed to be the happiest man in the world." Luis came to the realization, while in Paris, that he had no idea where he was headed or what his goals in life were.
"This is the truth, I've been here in this beautiful apartment and these beautiful views and this beautiful city and beautiful women and beautiful wine," he lamented. "This is the thing, I sit down here and I say, 'What the f--k am I doing, where am I going,' you know? If there is no goal or objective in your life, there is no purpose for you to do anything."
This flurry of emotions was compounded by the fact that he was "abandoned" by his girlfriend during his time away from Million Dollar Listing. To add insult to heartbreak, Nikita was his "very first" love. "Her name was Nikita," he said in a one-on-one confessional this season.
"She was so beautiful and so different from every other girl," he continued. "So I became very much in love with this woman. When we broke up, it broke my heart a lot. Because not only did I lose the person I was in love with, I also lost my best friend. I loved this girl so much, I started blaming myself."
Now, Luis has returned to New York to get his head on straight.
In an emotional one-on-one confessional, Luis revealed that his years away from New York and the show led him to struggle with depression. This was all the harder to admit considering the cheery and bubbly persona he wears on the outside.
"All my life I've been so positive, I've been uplifting people and inspiring people and for the first time I was the opposite of everything I thought I needed to be," he bravely confessed. "Deep inside, I was depressed. Even at this point, I struggle with saying so."
"We're taught that little thing called depression is something to run away from and something not to speak about, something we're taught to be ashamed of," he said of the societal taboos mental health issues still carry today. "Keeping it inside and talking to you as if it never happened to me, it would be the biggest lie to myself and to you," he added.
"If I didn't come back, I wouldn't be here," he said. Last year, in the wake of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade's suicides, Luis wrote on Instagram, "All I can think of — day and night — is putting an end to it all."
His coworkers were very encouraging of his return, with Fredrik calling himself "instrumental in getting him back" and footing the cost of Luis' first-class one-way ticket to New York.
And Luis has learned a lot from his years away from the show. "There is a beautiful thing about me moving to Paris because I've learned something," he shared. "You can't be happy if you're running around in circles and not going after something."
Now, he's enjoying his new neighborhood of the Bowery, where the cobblestone streets "remind [him] a little bit of old San Juan," and this ambitious broker is ready to "get back to work."
Watch what Luis and his costars get up to this season when Million Dollar Listing New York airs at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
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