Jeannie Mai, co-host of The Real, ended last year with controversy, drama, and pain after her divorce from Freddy Harteis. This year, she seems determined to turn it all around and has kicked off the year with positivity.
In a few interviews this year, Jeannie Mai left fans in awe of her new found positive outlook on life. The star started her year on a very different note from previous years.
Mai struggled through a heartbreaking divorce in 2016/2017 from her ex-husband Freddie Harties. The separation continued to haunt her well into 2018 as it had been a dark and ugly battle.
Mai and Harteis had been married for ten years, and Mai had made it clear she did not want to have children. Harteis had a change of heart, and his need for kids took its toll on their relationship.
Their relationship eventually bowed under strain, and they decided to get divorced. The divorce was initially amicable but quickly turned ugly.
Mai later blamed the ugliness of the process on money and ego. She said it was making the process more complicated than it needed to be.
“Knowing what I know now about who I married, I wouldn’t have married him,” Mai said, on an episode of ‘The Real’. As she started crying, she added, “It’s just crazy. You hear all the time that money can change people. Well, divorce can really change people. It’s just so weird because the one thing that he would always say back then is like, ‘You really, truly don’t know a person until they don’t get what they want.’ But I never thought he would be the one to prove that to me.”
Six months after their divorce announcement, Harties revealed that he had a new girlfriend, Linsey Toole. Even worse, he also sprung the news that she was pregnant with his baby.
Toole shared a few images of her growing baby bump on social media during her pregnancy. Harteis also took to social media to express his joy about the pregnancy.
Nearly a year after his divorce from Mai, Harteis, and Toole welcomed their daughter into the world. She was born on October 25, 2018, and named Emersyn Rose. Toole had revealed they picked her name to honor her father who was no more.
“And well, Daddy and I named my sister 29 years ago. I picked Savanna, and he picked Rose. Daddy is no longer with us but I still kinda thought he’d dig Rose. And that’s a little about what it means to me,” explained Toole.
Harteis had remained quiet about the drama of his divorce from Mai but flooded social media with pictures of his newborn. Many fans felt he was rubbing salt in Mai’s still open wounds.
Just after the news broke, Mai interviewed with “The Breakfast Club.” During the interview, she opened up about her feelings on how quickly Harteis moved on and had a baby.
Mai revealed she found the timing suspicious. Her statement implied that she believed he had cheated on her while they were still going through the tough phase of their marriage.
"You wake up with a rock in your heart, and you feel like you can’t really make it through the day because it’s just so heavy. Especially when finances get involved. Especially when people change,” Mai explained on a visit to “The Breakfast Club” radio show.
Just after Freddy and Linsey became parents, Mai opened up on her daytime talk show about the ups and downs of her marriage and divorce. She also broke down in tears on “The Real” and revealed she regretted marrying him in the first place.
“It’s just crazy. You hear all the time that money can change people. Well, divorce can really change people,” she explained. Adding, “it’s just so weird because the one thing that he would always say back then is like, ‘You really, truly don’t know a person until they don’t get what they want.’ But I never thought he would be the one to prove that to me.”
In February 2019, she confessed that she struggled with an eating disorder in the past. “The Real” co-anchor during the debut episode of her web series on Kin Network, “Hello Hunnay,” said:
“I was low-key abusing myself. The idea of being skinny became something that was most appealing to me. Even if you watch The Real, from season 1 to season 4, I was always 100 lbs. I started to really work hard to stay petite and to not gain weight and to stay sample size.”
Mai went on to explain that she realized she had an eating disorder where she would control herself until she could not let herself enjoy the food she wanted to eat. She also avoided eating anything that allowed her to maintain a healthy weight and wouldn’t eat past 7 p.m. Mai revealed she “always ordered food to share.”
The star revealed it was an unflattering photo of herself that opened her eyes to her eating disorder. She realized she needed to make a change.
“I didn’t realize that until I saw a picture of myself where my knees were really pointy and my shoulders were pointy,” Mai says. “I looked weak.”
The stunning star turned to a friend for help. Together they establish a healthy nutrition plan, which included grains, whole foods, and healthy fats. The TV personality also started hitting the gym and gained 20 lbs.
“Now I’ve totally got a new perspective on body,” she says. “I love how it feels to go into the gym, crank all my favorite music and literally sweat out all of the things that stress me out.”
Mai closed off last year looking much healthier! The starlet took to social media to show off her body positivity in December last year.
She celebrated the return of her “fit self” with a photo of her visibly slimmer figure following a trip to the Middle East. Her post had coincided with Harteis daughter’s first Christmas. It seems the post had been Mai’s first hint that she was moving on.
She kept up the positivity by kicking off the year with even more positive changes. Mai revealed, during one of the most recent episodes of “The Real,” that she has absolutely no hard feelings towards her ex-husband trying to find the love that he felt he needed.
She went on to add that in the end, she realized while they tried to make things work for a decade, they did not agree on certain things. She realized that holding on made it difficult for both of them to be happy together.
"Even today, when I look at my ex, I'm like, 'I'm so happy that he's a father and that he has found love. Those things are so amazing to me, and it sucks to me that just the divorce is what made it tacky and sticky and ugly, something man-made," said Mai.
She later added,
"To me, I have so much love in my heart for love, in general, that I can still say I wish you the best. I want everything to be so bomb for you. I want you to live that life that I couldn't provide."
Nothing says “moving on” quite like a new love interest. Jeannie Mai did not disappoint fans and by January 2019 as the rumor mill hinted that she landed herself a new beau.
The talk show host was speculated to be dating rapper Young Jeezy. The rumored couple appeared to be a triple date while celebrating Mai’s birthday in January.
Mai took to Instagram to share snaps from the evening. They were together at a bar along with actress Malika Haqq and her boyfriend, OT Genesis and Trey Songz with girlfriend Lorie Harvey.
In one of the pics, the three “couples” posed together, and Mai captioned it “3’s company.” Fans immediately assumed the pic hinted that Mai and Jeezy were an item.
Later that month, Mai decided to open up about her relationship status. She addressed the rumor by defining her relationship with the rapper to viewers of her talk show, “The Real.”
She revealed that Jeezy is “special” to her. However, she went on to clarify that they are not an item.
“You guys know that I’m multi-dating and Jeezy and I hang out. He’s very special to me. So we don’t really have a label to define what it is we’re doing. We’re just having a good time together,” said Mai.
The stunning host went on to assure her fans that when she does start a relationship with “that one special boo,” she will share the news with them immediately.
Three months later, in March 2019, Mai decided to discuss her relationship with Harteis once again and how it affected her. In an episode of “The Real,” she spoke out about their divorce and the alimony she had to pay.
Mai explained that Harteis might have been wealthier than her, but she was forced to give a portion of her earnings to him as part of their divorce because she was earning more.
“I was married to someone who had more money than me, but because I was the stronger earner and we lived in California — a shocking thing slapped me in the face when we divorced and I had to end up paying him my earnings,” said Mai. “That really taught me a lesson today about looking out for myself.”
Unfortunately, the information did not sit well with Linsey Toole, Harteis current girlfriend and the mother of his child. She publicly slammed Mai for the first time.
Taking to Instagram, she wrote a lengthy comment addressing Mai. The disgruntled girlfriend insisted that Mai was making up lies to gain more ratings for her show.
“Looking out for yourself is why you’re still miserable. Your complete focus on yourself is why you’re divorced. Yourself being the most important thing to you in the entire world is why you keep making up lies for more attention,” wrote Toole.
She also accused Mai of continuously saying bad things about Harteis. She added that he had never once spoken ill of Mai.
“Every week you got some new dramatic story so that you can get more pity and attention. How many more lies are you going to make up before you are satisfied? Stop trying to make up things for people to feel sorry for you,” continued Toole.
She then went on to end her message with a threat to the television star. She wrote:
“I will speak the truth, Jeanie. I’m pre-warning you that I will tell what really happened if you continue to publicly lie and humiliate Freddy.”
"Ratings must be down again. Waiting on that alimony paycheck.”
Days later Toole took another stance at Mai. Amid her feud with Mai, Harteis’ girlfriend decided to change her Instagram display photo to her massive engagement ring.
The move appeared to send a message that she was not backing down. She is ready to stand by her fiance's side.
Instead of paying any attention to Toole’s outburst, Mai seemed to be caught up in making revelations of her own. Around the time the drama with Toole was unfolding, Mai stunned fans with an unexpected announcement.
Having once confessed that one of the reasons for the demise of her marriage to Freddy Harteis was their differences in opinion about having children.
The new development left fans scratching their heads. Mai revealed on an episode of “The Real” that she kept her options of having kids open by freezing her eggs.
Speaking to her co-hosts, Mai admitted she opted to do so because “I never wanna say never.” She went on to say that she has 11 eggs and gushed about them saying,
“They’re so cute you guys!”
The eggs, she clarified, are unfertilized so they have no gender. She explained that she needs to find a suitable man to turn them into embryos if she decides to become a mother in the future.
She began contemplating the idea of becoming a mother in 2016. She hinted at the time that she might freeze her eggs.
“I’m 37, I know I’m not getting any younger. I know if I was going to have a kid, I should decide now, today, five minutes ago,” she said. “So I’ve decided I’m going to start thinking about freezing my eggs. I just want to think about it. I don’t want anybody’s hopes to get up, because freezing my eggs just means leaving me the option. It doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed.”
Fans are eager to see just what Jeannie Mai has in store for the rest of the year.