'MDLNY' Agent Tyler Whitman Talks Getting Sober: "Alcohol Had a Death Grip on Me" (EXCLUSIVE)
'Million Dollar Listing New York' star and real estate agent Tyler Whitman spoke exclusively with 'Distractify' about getting sober during the pandemic.
Though a lot of the appeal of Million Dollar Listing New York is the prospect of seeing luxury properties and meeting the uber-successful people who own them, many viewers are also invested in the lives of the real estate agents who sell these apartments.
Tyler Whitman, who leads a team at TripleMint, joined the Bravo series in the middle of Season 8. In comparison to his co-stars, Fredrik Eklund, Ryan Serhant, and Steve Gold, Tyler was newer to real estate, and he took on his first "life-changing" listing over $10 million in front of the cameras.
By the time Season 9 premiered in May of 2021, Tyler had truly hit his stride. With the addition of Kirsten "K.J." Jordan, Tyler was no longer the new(est) agent on the series, and his business was booming.
During filming, the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns began, and people began moving out of the city and into the suburbs. While real estate was on pause, Tyler took stock of both his professional and his personal life, and he made changes. One of these changes was getting sober.
Tyler spoke to Distractify about his decision to stop drinking alcohol and why the pandemic lockdown was "strangely a gift."
Tyler Whitman said his sobriety journey is the "hardest thing [he's] ever done."
While many people turned to alcohol during the early days of the pandemic to pass the time or to cope with the stresses, Tyler decided to get sober in April of 2020.
He shared that people often reacted to the news by exclaiming, "'You got sober during this?!'" The real estate agent explained that, because so many places were closed, he wasn't as tempted to drink.
"I needed the bars to be shut down," Tyler told Distractify. "I needed my social life to be taken away from me so I could focus on healing this addiction and investing in all of the work that comes with it."
He noted that he had never been a "messy or violent drunk," but that he instead used alcohol to be "the fun one in the room" and to feel more likable. Now that New York is opening back up, he's trying to navigate going to social events without drinking.
"Alcohol Tyler was certainly a persona that I lived in comfortably for many years. ... I'm not going to be the loudest, most fun person in the room," he said. "The challenge at first was still feeling like I needed to be that person."
Though the MDLNY previously battled food addiction and lost 200 pounds with a gastric sleeve procedure, he said that getting sober was a more difficult prospect for him.
"Quitting drinking makes the weight loss look easy. It's the hardest thing I've ever done," he said. "Alcohol had a death grip on me."
The 'Million Dollar Listing New York' star teased what else fans can expect from Season 9.
In addition to making modifications to his life outside of work, Tyler and the other four agents on MDLNY are still attempting to close deals during the unprecedented pandemic on Season 9.
He teased that "there's more drama to come" for the rest of the season and that they will "all fight with Fredrik a little bit."
Tyler, who had a bit of a tiff with Kirsten at an open house at the beginning of the ninth season, said that the two will have another "moment" of tension on the show.
However, the agents have a special bond because they are recent additions to the franchise.
"Because the other people have been on the show for so long, it's robotic for them," he said. "She and I are still very much in the newness of it. ... We get together and nerd out about [being on the show]."
With the lockdowns (hopefully) behind him and his bigger platform from the show, Tyler is moving full steam ahead with his career.
"We're sprinting a marathon. I wake up every day, and I run as fast as I can. The only reason to stop is because I'm out of time," he said. "There's a lot to be done."
Million Dollar Listing New York airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo.
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.