Stephanie and Erika, stars of the hit reality series 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, feature on Season 4 of the popular TLC spinoff. The new season airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST, and follows seven new couples and one returning, fan-favorite pair as they travel abroad to meet their international soulmates.
Stephanie, 29, and Erika, 24, are the first same-sex couple to ever appear on the 90 Day franchise. As with most of the Season 4 couples, Stephanie and Erika met through social media, and although their relationship started as just friends, the reality stars, who both identify as bisexual, quickly fell in love and formed a romantic relationship.
Here’s what we know about Stephanie and Erika ahead of their debut on tonight’s episode:
Stephanie Still Hasn’t Told Her Family That She’s Bisexual
Although Stephanie admits to being involved with women in the past, she still hasn’t come out to her family as bisexual. The clip above sees Stephanie struggling to tell her family that she’s flying to Australia to meet Erika because they are in love, and that Erika is more than just a friend to Stephanie.
When Stephanie’s brother asks her why she’s going to Australia, she responds simply, “to meet up with a friend.” She adds that she’s been talking to Erika for a year and that she’s “safe,” to hang out with, but her mother looks skeptical and rolls her eyes.
“I really want to tell my family tonight about my bisexuality, but my mom’s opinion matters a lot to me, and I don’t want her to be upset by the news,” Stephanie says during a confessional. As the family sits down to eat dinner, her father asks her about Erika, and she explains how they met; however, her mother is still visibly frustrated that Stephanie is flying to Australia to meet this mystery woman.
“In my opinion, I don’t really see why she has to go to Australia right now to meet this friend,” her mom Magda tells the cameras. “She doesn’t know where she lives, she doesn’t know the environment, and really, in her condition, it actually could be very dangerous. I don’t know why she’s putting herself at risk. I’m worried.” (You can read more about Stephanie’s condition below!)
Stephanie Suffers From Aplastic Anemia, Which Could be Fatal if She Falls Ill During Her Trip
Stephanie suffers from a rare bone marrow disorder called aplastic anemia, a disorder that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells. The condition causes intense fatigue and can be deadly, as it leads to the increased likelihood of infections and in some cases, uncontrollable bleeding.
“My family thinks I’m filming a TV show about my illness,” Stephanie tells the cameras in the clip above. “Two years ago I was diagnosed with a very severe disorder called aplastic anemia, which means complete failure of the bone marrow. For months I needed blood transfusions every other day in order to stay alive, and I’ll never be 100 percent healthy. Bacterias that are safe for other people are really dangerous to me. Even something like a common cold can kill me,” she adds. “So traveling can be really dangerous because I’m always at risk for infection.”
However, she also notes that Erika is “worth this big risk, because we have an intense connection that I’ve never never felt with anybody before.” Stephanie’s illness will likely be explained further throughout the series, but we hope she doesn’t fall ill during her trip to Australia!
Tune in Sunday nights at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST to catch new episodes of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days on TLC. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out this author’s profile for all of your 90 Day Fiancé coverage and reality TV news!