A major storyline on this season of The Real Housewives of Dallas is LeeAnne Locken’s wedding to longtime love Rich Emberlin. The duo’s decade-long romance has been well documented on the Bravo show, but not much is known about the groom outside of his relationship with LeeAnne.
As it turns out, Rich has some prior reality TV experience — and the story behind his distinctive eye patch is a heartbreaking one.
Why does Rich wear an eye patch on RHOD?
For 30 years, the father of one served with the Dallas Police Department, spending 17 of those years as a member of the Dallas SWAT team. "His job was very dangerous, and I lived with him when all of that was going on," LeeAnne told The Daily Dish in 2018.
"When we started dating, he was a SWAT officer. He'd go on call-outs, and I'd sit at home for hours, 'Is he alive? Is he dead? Is someone gonna take me to a hospital?' I mean I was scared for the doorbell to ring," she added.
In 2016, Rich was forced to retire from the police force after sustaining an injury to his right eye that left him permanently blind. "While there are light and shadows, the vision in his right eye is gone forever," LeeAnne explained in an interview with Bravo.
"The transition into retirement has been difficult, but, as is his true nature, he finds new ways to continue to serve others," she continued. "His career hasn’t stopped, as he is now working on a book and has begun doing speaking engagements. He makes me so proud, and I am humbled and thankful to know and love him."
Rich also has metal plates in his face and rods in his back from on-duty injuries.
Earlier this year, Rich revealed that he’d been shot at on multiple occasions and was once stabbed in the hand, but his emotional scars are tougher to deal with.
"It’s hard being 'that guy,' especially among your peers… The guy who shot someone out of self-defense, or the guy who wasn’t able to save a kid, or prevent a deadly accident," he shared. "We are just human beings watching people do inhumane things."
Rich has appeared as a law enforcement subject matter expert on a variety of crime shows.
The Texas native can be seen in segments on A&E Network’s The First 48, Dallas SWAT, and Live PD. He also worked as a technical director on the Outdoor Channel competition series Elite Tactical Unit.
Throughout most of his low points, Rich has had LeeAnne by his side. "He's my universe. He's everything," the brunette beauty told The Daily Dish. "He's my security. He's my protector. He's my Prince Charming. He's my provider. And he's my best friend."
Rich proposed in September 2017 with a 10-carat ring at the Texas State Fair. "It was the happiest carnival prize ever," LeeAnne said at the time. Their wedding took place a year and a half later at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas.
"Happiest Day EVER!" the blushing bride wrote shortly after walking down the aisle.
Catch LeeAnne and Rich on new episodes of Bravo’s RHOD Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.