Juliana Custodio and Michael Jessen of TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé had an eventful first few years together before finally settling down in the United States on a K-1 visa.
Custodio is nearly 20 years Jessen’s junior. The Brazilian model met Jessen (who hails from Greenwich, Connecticut) on a yacht party in Croatia. The pair struggled through a lengthy visa application process due to several delays, possibly related to suspicions about Custodio’s international modeling career.
The 90 Day Fiancé Season 7 couple finally had their visa application approved, however, and Custodio touched down in Connecticut to start a new life with Jessen. Jessen is a divorced father of two children, Max and CeCe, and Custodio had never met the kids before coming to the U.S.
In the Nov. 24 episode, “You Don’t Forget Your Past,” Custodio finally met Jessen’s ex-wife Sarah. Tensions ran high at their first meeting, and Custodio even told producers that she sometimes felt she was something of a homewrecker.
Juliana had a tense but polite first meeting with Michael’s ex-wife
Sarah’s introduction to Custodio at Jessen’s home was not explosive, but it was tense. Everyone stayed calm and mature, but there were clear signs that a rift could arise in the future.
Custodio told TLC producers on the Season 7 90 Day Fiancé episode, “I’m not sure how it will be with Michael’s ex-wife. I’m nervous about that because they’re close friends, and there’s a chance that she [could] be upset to see me with him. I hope not.”
Max explained that his mom was “assertive” but not in a way that would “hurt people’s feelings.”
“I don’t really think that they would be threatened by each other,” added his younger sister CeCe, “but I think Juliana might be a little bit nervous.”
Michael’s ex-wife said she did not feel competitive with Custodio
Jessen, like his kids, thought the first meeting would be awkward but would likely go well. “She smells [BS] pretty quick,” the 90 Day Fiancé star said of his ex-wife, “and if there was somebody sweeping into my life…and she felt there was insincerity or ulterior motives, Sarah would react to that. So as long as Juliana is sincere, everything will be okay.”
To TLC producers, Sarah explained that she knew many 90 Day Fiancé viewers would expect her to feel jealous of a younger woman with their ex, referring to Custodio as “tall,” “exotic,” “gorgeous,” “smart,” and “well-traveled.”
“But I’m not competing with anyone,” said Sarah. “I don’t have time. I don’t have the energy or the need.”
Sarah asked the ’90 Day Fiancé’ star ‘not to parent’ her kids
After meeting with Custodio for the first time, Jessen’s ex asked the Brazilian model, “How do you see your role in this big community family?”
Custodio admitted shyly that she felt “lost.” Jessen, meanwhile, told his ex-wife, “She’s not replacing you…The kids adore [Juliana] but I don’t think they would want anything else in life other than to have Sarah as their mother.”
Sarah told Custodio kindly but straightforwardly, “The kids have great parents. Michael is a great father and I’m a great mom. And what I want from you is to not parent at all.”
While the 90 Day Fiancé couple looked uncomfortable about Sarah’s words, things didn’t escalate from there. Jessen said he hoped that things would “smooth over” as they all got to know each other.
The 23-year-old said she felt she was ‘destroying’ Jessen’s family
After her first encounter with her 90 Day Fiancé ex’s new lady, Sarah repeated that she hoped Custodio would accept her new role with grace. “She can either embrace this and let me be her friend and help her, or she can not,” she said. “I don’t know because I really don’t know her.”
Custodio, meanwhile, admitted that she felt uncomfortable at her first dinner with Jessen’s ex. “I don’t feel I’m part of the family,” she revealed to TLC producers.
“They have a bond, and sometimes I feel I’m destroying their family,” the 90 Day Fiancé star said sadly.
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