If you happened to be caught by the rise of reality TV shows which premiered in the past decade, you surely know the name Frank Fritz quite well. Along with co-star Mike Wolfe, Frank traveled the US looking for rare and potentially valuable vintage items in to present in the series “American Pickers”.
However, what made the show special wasn’t necessarily the artifacts’ value. It was the hunting process which led Mike and Frank and the entertaining dynamic between them which made the series so enthralling and charming.
Nonetheless, a decade has passed since “American Pickers” premiered on History channel, and many things aren’t the same. Frank Fritz’ disappearance from the show is especially disheartening for his fans, but his career downfall goes beyond that.
So where is Frank Fritz now? Why did he leave “American Pickers”, and what other negative events have befallen to him? Stay with us to know all!
Why Frank Left The Show?
It’s always sad seeing one of our favorite TV stars leaving their shows, but the situation is usually more disheartening when said exit is sudden and confusing.
The latter case describes the situation surrounding Frank Fritz leaving “American Pickers”. The last time we saw him in the show was in March 2020, and while it was unusual that he had just stopped appearing in the middle of the show’s season, it was soon explained that he’d taken medical leave to undergo emergency back surgery, which supposedly would also take him away from cameras for several months.
Though fans were worried about Frank’s health, the topic didn’t become an issue until Frank’s absence became just too noticeable in the 22th season’s premiere in early 2021. There wasn’t any news about Frank until July that year, when Frank told The Sun that despite recovering well from his surgery and wanting to go back to the show, he had lost all communication with the production: ‘I haven’t heard from those people at all. They don’t contact me’.
Later on, TMZ reported that Frank was definitely not returning to “American Pickers”, as the show’s producers apparently wanted Mike Wolfe to be the only host.
The Drama Behind His Exit
Seeing that Frank’s exit from “American Pickers” was more of an indirect firing instead of a resignation, the situation was meant to become dramatic. In July 2021 Frank affirmed that he was fired due to his former co-star Mike Wolfe’s ‘ego’, and his intention to include a family member in the show. Besides describing him as ‘arrogant’, Frank claimed Mike hadn’t contacted him for two years, not even when he was recovering from his surgery.
Despite Frank’s negative statements, Mike didn’t feed the likely feud, and instead expressed how much he was going to miss sharing the screen with Frank, who wasn’t only his co-host for 10 years, but had been his friend for decades.
The situation took a turn for the worst when Frank alleged that Mike’s declarations were insincere: ‘I’m not going to sit here and f–king lie to people’, he told The Sun.
American Pickers' Frank Fritz Says He Hasn't Spoken to Longtime Co-Host Mike Wolfe in 2 Years https://t.co/1Vwn31qP9Q
— People (@people) July 21, 2021
Amidst the tense situation, their co-star Danielle Colby-Cushman affirmed that it wasn’t her place to ‘speak ill’ about Frank, as he’d been going through difficult situations recently: ‘I wish things could have been different, but we must be accountable for our actions when we cause instability or pain and suffering to others,’ she wrote on a social media post, making it clear that there’s a lot of things which the show isn’t telling us.
What’s Up With Frank’s Health?
The furore surrounding Frank’s exit from “American Pickers” and his feud with Mike Wolfe was distracting, but it wasn’t enough to distract his fans from noticing how physically changed Frank looked when he returned to the entertainment world.
Known for his heavy figure, Frank’s huge weight loss instantly worried his fans. As has been known for years, he suffers from Crohn’s disease, a condition which could severely affect his lifestyle, with symptoms such as abdominal pain and fever, causing complications as enduring as anaemia and arthritis.
Although Crohn’s disease commonly causes weight loss, Frank insisted that his now-slim appearance was the product of his newly-adopted lifestyle, and ‘is me watching what I’m eating so I can keep my disease under control the best I can. I’m just eating healthily’.
Walking often and taking care of his Iowa’s farmhouse’s plants also played an important role in him losing 65 pounds in total, almost 30kgs in less than two years. Nonetheless, this is just a small part of a four decade-long battle for his health. Recalling an interview with the Quad-City Times in 2011, Frank described the disease as ‘terrible’, but was hopeful that he could become an example of how it was possible to live normally with it ‘regardless of the adversities and the social situations, the awkwardness, (and) accidents’.
Was He In Rehab?
Though knowing that Frank is taking meticulous care of his health is relieving for his fans, many others also wonder if his publicly-known alcoholic tendencies are also in a halt.
By July 2021 Frank had apparently been sober for almost 10 months, as he confessed to The Sun. As it happens, after his back surgery recovery was over, he entered The Abbey Center, a rehab program in Iowa in which he spent 77 days. The time there was well spent though, as he used it to improve his life by reading self-help books and ‘learn the most out of it’.
While Frank admitted that leaving those unhealthy habits also played a positive role in his weight loss process, his reasoning to enter rehab was motivated by his family’s history. As it happens, Frank’s mother died in 2016 of an illness related to alcohol, which was an unfortunate similar fate that Frank’s alcoholic grandfather also suffered.
While some aspects of Frank’s life have improved for the best, the same can’t be said about his financial situation. Reportedly, in 2021 Frank has been struggling to pay his Iowa farmhouse’s property taxes. The first payment of $1,752 was due on 21 September that year, but by November he hadn’t paid it; another part payment of $1,701 on his property is due by March 2022, and there’s also an adjoined property he’s owned since 2013 of which he’s in debt for $843.
Although Frank hasn’t publicly addressed the topic, these accumulated debts could easily be faulted to the financial difficulties which most-likely have resulted from his firing from TV, and presumably costs of his surgery and rehab treatments. Though it’s unknown how much he actually earned in the show, reality TV is known for being quite lucrative, especially when it comes to successful shows like “American Pickers”.
Nonetheless, Frank’s financial downfall has possibly been an issue for years. Reportedly, in 2017 his company named FFF Holdings was shut down for not providing the government with necessary documentation regarding its activities. On the other hand, his Illinois’ antique shop – Frank Fritz Finds – is apparently still open, but there’s no way of knowing how financially stable it is.
Did He Sell His House?
Reportedly, Frank’s Iowa house was indeed sold in January 2021, after almost two years on the market.
The 2,780 square-foot house was actually bought by Frank and his now former-fiance in 2018 for $355,000, and had three bedrooms, two bathrooms and modern and renovated spaces, in addition to including stainless-steel appliances.
The house was put on sale for $379,000 after the couple’s separation in 2019., then at some point Frank re-listed the property for a higher price, but seeing how selling it was becoming difficult, the price was lowered several times before selling for $358,000. Though it’s assumed that the sale was financially relieving for Frank, the messy split from his ex- was most likely the main motivation he had to say goodbye to the property.
Before you worry if he might have been left homeless, it’s important to point out that Frank’s current main home is a farmhouse in Iowa he has owned since 2010.
A couple of years ago, Frank Fritz’ name was barely on any headline that wasn’t related to the show in a positive way.
However, his feud with his former co-star Mike Wolfe and his firing from “American Pickers” treally changed everything for him. Besides being in everyone’s mouth for negative reasons, a huge part of his past was also dug up and revealed.
One of those dirty details about Frank’s life that we’ve only got a hold of recently is a lawsuit filed against him for breach of contract. As it happened, the Iowa farmhouse he lives in nowadays was bought in 2010 for $130,000. In 2015 he contracted the company E&G Contractors to renovate parts of its interior and exterior, including spaces such as the bathroom and roof.
In 2016, E&G Contractors accused Frank of not paying the renovation costs of over $20,000, alleging that the reality star had retained the money without explaining why, in spite of the company’s insistence and ‘diligent and workman-like manner’ of addressing the issue.
The breach in contract case didn’t go anywhere though, as in 2018 a jury dismissed it. However, it’s not surprising how these issues could be brought to light even years later, when things aren’t going well, especially for a celebrity.
His Tumultuous Romantic Life
While Frank Fritz never revealed too much about his personal life, his relationship with Diann Bankson became so messy that its most dirty details eventually became known to everyone. Diann and Frank had been together for several years before becoming engaged in 2017. The next year they bought their Iowa suburban house, and everything seemed to be perfect for the couple until November 2018, when Diann allegedly caught him cheating on her.
After splitting and eventually reconciling, their relationship was damaged forever only a couple of months later when she suffered three-degree burns in an accident in his farmhouse. Reportedly, Frank and a friend had been drinking before heading out to unsuccessfully light fireworks. However, instead of properly disposing of the artifact’s gunpowder, they stored it in an ashtray without warning Diann, whose arm and hand were severely burned as the ashtray blew up when she lit a cigarette.
The worst part was yet to come though. As Diann affirmed, Frank told her to ‘toughen up’ after refusing to take her to emergency. Diann received medical assistance days after, but she affirmed that the situation had been tremendously traumatic for her.
The relationship ended not long afterwards, and Frank allegedly locked her out of their shared house without notice.
Diann’s Lawsuit & More Problems
If things were already messy for Frank and Diann, they actually worsened when she filed a $50,000 lawsuit against him for being ‘negligent in the operation of fireworks’. As the court papers stated, he had not only caused her emotional and mental trauma in the incident in which she suffered severe burns, but caused her loss of hearing and bodily functions.
Though the lawsuit was withdrawn by Diann herself in early 2020 for unknown reasons, the drama didn’t end there. In July 2021, Frank told The Sun that Diann had cheated on him for two years, allegedly pushing him to get the phrase ‘once a cheater always a cheater’ tattooed as a reminder of not making the ‘same mistake again’.
Besides accusing Diann of costing him a six-figure sum, Frank affirmed that he’d bought her a house and an expensive ring before discovering her alleged affair. However, Diann denied her former partner’s accusations, declaring that she just wanted to ‘move on’ and ‘heal’.
Besides facing lawsuits, personal and professional drama, it’s really not surprising to know that Frank has been arrested as well. It all comes back to 2017 when he was detained for driving his pick-up erratically.
Admitting to being drunk and drugged, Frank was arrested.
However, while there’s no information about how long he spent behind bars, if he paid a fine, or had to do community service, it’s evident Frank was aware of his addiction problems back then, and that was probably the first step into seeking help through rehab years later.
Will Frank Return To The Show?
After feuding with Mike Wolfe, it’s the most logical thing to assume that Frank Fritz won’t ever return to “American Pickers”.
Nonetheless, the show’s fans have been quite hopeful of his return. While some have taken to the show’s social media to ask the production to give Frank ‘another chance’, others have been bolder to the point of threatening to boycott the show until Frank returns.
While fans’ pressure might not look very serious, in August 2021 the show removed all merchandise with Frank’s face on it, after he accused them of unfairly profiting through him.
Whether fans manage to bring Frank back to “American Pickers” is unlikely, it’s actually heart-warming to see that despite the many difficulties he’s been through, there are many people still actively supporting him.