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The Daily Dish Below Deck Sailing Yacht

Dani Soares Addresses If Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux Is the Father of Her Child

The Below Deck Sailing Yacht crew members opened up at the reunion about their relationship following the charter season.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Dani Soares Addresses Her Baby Girl & Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux

Dani Soares' life has changed a lot since filming Season 2 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht. Not only did the second stew move to Australia and is currently pursuing a career in nursing, but she also welcomed her first child, daughter Lilly, in late May.

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Dani opened up more about her pregnancy during Part 2 of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2 reunion, which aired on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on June 22. "I'm very happy being a mom, you know," Dani told host Andy Cohen. "Obviously, I didn't plan this." 

After starting a romance with Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux during the charter season, Dani memorably disembarked Parsifal III with the deckhand. At the reunion, Dani, who confirmed that she is currently single, explained what happened with JL after that last glimpse of them in the Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2 finale. "We did hang out for a couple days. I kept trying to tell him the whole season that it wouldn't really ever work," Dani said. "Like, I was coming to Australia, he was going to America. I was not gonna move from Australia to go anywhere else for him, and I wouldn't ask him to move to Australia for me. And I just kept trying to convince him that this wouldn't work, and he kept the whole season trying to convince me that this would work."

Andy then asked Dani the question that "everybody wants to know": "Is JL the father of your baby?" Dani replied, "Well, let's put it this way: This baby was made during this season while we had cameras 24/7 with us, and I only slept with one guy."

Dani went on to describe how JL reacted to her pregnancy news. "He hasn't supported me at all in any way," she said. "He thinks it's not his child, and he doesn't want to have anything to do with it."

According to Dani, things were different when she first found out that she was expecting while in quarantine by herself in Australia. "And I told him, and he was obviously a bit shocked and everything. He seemed supportive. He told me he would support me whatever I decided to do," she recalled. "So he was supportive in the beginning, and then it just changed. Like, around December, things just changed, and he was just not interested anymore." 

Dani said that JL told her that he wanted to have a DNA test performed, which she said that she agreed to if he organized it and paid for it "because it's quite expensive, and it's such a mission," she said. "And if he was interested in doing that, he would do it. And he hasn't done anything," she continued. "I ask him again, but since January, he asked about the baby twice or three times. And his mom made a horrible comment online, and since then, I've just literally had zero interest in having that family involved in my child's life."

Dani got emotional as she spoke about her desire to start a family — something that she was vocal about during this season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht — even if it did not happen exactly as she had planned. "But I'm just going with it now, and I'm sure my little baby girl is gonna be, she's gonna be amazing," she shared. "And I will do my best every day to give her everything she needs."

She also shared her disappointment over JL's absence at the reunion (he was on charter at the time of the taping). "I wish he was at this reunion, because I don't want, I'm just telling my side of the story, and I wish he was here to defend himself or to say what he thinks," Dani said. "Because as much as everything he did, I don't think it is as fair that I'm just saying all this, and he's not being able to say anything."

It was then revealed, "Five days after the reunion was recorded, Jean-Luc found time in his work schedule to speak with Andy." Andy caught up with the deckhand virtually while he was in Mexico for a one-on-one conversation.

JL started off by sharing where he currently stands with Dani. "Today, I would say the status of my relationship with Dani is kind of a little uncertain. We definitely talk a little bit back-and-forth, not as much as we probably should," he said. "But yeah, it's just, there's some things that are to be questioned. She has questions for me, and I have questions for her. We're trying to be adults about this whole entire process and figure it out."

He then addressed the speculation among viewers that he is the father of Dani's child. "I asked for a paternity test, and essentially, that turned into a lot of backlash and her not wanting to hear from me and essentially not having to do anything with me. But, for me, as a 24-year-old at the time with not much experience at all in a relationship and a woman telling me that she's pregnant, I feel like that that's a very understandable question to ask in any situation," JL shared. "And she took it very poorly, and I understand why she took it poorly, because, you know, in her mind, I might be the only person that she's ever been with. And if that's the case, I told her, I really do apologize. But for my peace of mind, I just wanted to know. And I told her that if this is my child, I want to be a part of that child's life every single day as much as I can for the rest of her little life or for his life."

Is Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux the Father of Dani Soares’ Baby?

"The fact that people are telling me that I want nothing to do with this child, it's really tearing me up. Like, all my friends and all my family know the type of person I am and know that I want everything to do with that child, everything, if it is mine. But the fact of me not knowing at this particular moment, if it is or is not my child, how am I supposed to go about that and tell everyone 100 percent that it is? Because I don't know," JL continued. "I want everybody to know, who watches your show, who watches Bravo, who watches Below Deck Sailing Yacht, if that is my child, I want everything and anything to do with that child's life. Bottom line."

JL explained why he has not yet taken a DNA test. "There was talk of a DNA test, and I still want to do it. I was told that I have to pay for it, which is completely fine. Money is not the object; the peace of mind is the object here. So, you know, we've gone as far as me trying to reach out to her doctor's office," he said. "I don't think lawyers need to get involved. That's not the avenue I want to go at all. I'd really like for me and Dani to work together on this. But she told me that if this was my child, that she would never, basically, throw dirt on my name to our child."

But JL said that he did want to be there for the baby's birth. "The fact of me knowing that this could possibly be my child and not being there for the birth is f--king killing me," he said.

JL then watched what Dani and some of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht crew members said about his reaction to her pregnancy news. At first, JL said that he was "a little lost for words at the moment" after hearing their comments. 

But then, JL said that Dani's account of how everything unfolded was accurate for the most part. "Everything that she said, most of it is correct, as far as the messages that we went back-and-forth, about how in December I started, apparently, not being there for her as much or whatnot," he said.

When it came to how his family reacted to the news, he said that his mom "was excited" initially. "She was a little confused because she's been telling me my whole life to wear protection and be safe and this, this, and that. You know, I haven't really taken on that teaching that she's been trying to tell me," he said. "I know that she'd be happy for me, but in the same token, she wants to know the same thing that I want to know, and she's only trying to protect me."

JL added that he "didn't agree with" the comment his mom made on social media about Dani. "I told her to take it down, to delete it, because I knew that, you know, I didn't like for things to be said in regards to Dani that way, and I hope that she wouldn't have liked things said about me in regards to that way. So I made her take it down," he said, adding that his mom also apologized. 

Andy told the deckhand that if he wants to have a DNA test performed and that he's willing to pay for it, maybe his mom could help him to "try to facilitate this test." "It seems like a pretty simple equation," Andy said, to which JL replied, "Well, you know, Andy, at this point, the child is gonna be born here very soon. And as soon as the child's born, we're gonna know."

JL responded to the criticism of his actions surrounding Dani's pregnancy announcement from some of his crewmates at the reunion. "None of those people like me. That's OK, though. I'm cool with that. Everyone has their own opinion, and the fact that they all saw one side to the story and now everyone has this picture against me and how I'm a piece of s--t, I saw all their faces. I saw how everyone started judging me right off the bat. And they're going off of stuff of what they only heard from someone and not the other side of the story," he said. "But no, I wish everyone the best of luck who I was on board with on Parsifal III. I don't care what any of them think as far as this situation goes at all because none of them have gone through this, and they have no idea what it's like."

In his final moments in speaking to Andy, JL said that he would tell his crewmates to not "judge a book by its cover." "You know, I understand how I'm probably being perceived right now, and I just want everyone to know that if this is my child, I want everything to do with this kid. I haven't told Dani this, but I thought about moving to Australia," he shared. "I've thought about every possible avenue, every f--king avenue, and I haven't come up with one yet."

As for what he would say to Dani, JL underscored that his feelings for her that we saw this season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht were real. "What I felt for you and the time that we had was genuine, and anything that I ever said to you was true," he shared. "And the fact that we are as where we are now, I'm really sorry, and I would assume to say that most of it is my fault, maybe because I'm the boy that you think that I am." 

"But with that being said, I want to be there for you. And I just want to know what I've asked you for months now. And though you may not want anything to do with me because of me asking for a paternity test, I understand that. That's something that I can get over. But what I can't get over is if this is my child, is not being there for her, to watch her grow up, to watch her learn how to eat, to watch her learn how to walk. I can't get over that," JL continued. "And I need you to know that I did support your decision, and I still do. And I really hope that we can co-parent together mutually and have respect for one another like we did. And I'm sorry that things happened the way that they did. I really am."

Part 2 of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht reunion ended with an update that shared that Dani's daughter, Lilly, was born on May 26, and photos of the new mom with her baby appeared on the screen. The update also revealed that "Jean-Luc and Dani have yet to speak with each other."

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