We've been not-so-patiently waiting to find out whether João Franco and Brooke Laughton are still a couple since the Below Deck Mediterranean Season 3 reunion wrapped last September. To recap, romance bloomed for the yachties last season, even in spite of a so-called love triangle with Kasey Cohen, and they walked off the Talisman Maiton hand-in-hand on their way to a lovely getaway in Florence. But after the reunion, it was unclear if the couple could weather long distance and João's continued flirtatious communication with Kasey.
Well, we finally got our answer in the Below Deck Med Season 4 premiere on Monday, and it was totally not what we expected.
João revealed what happened after he and Brooke walked off the boat during an interview in the episode. "Brooke and I threw ourselves in the deep end. I met her family, she met mine. She came to Zimbabwe, and we worked so well together, we really did," he shared. "Things seemed perfect, but I found out she cheated on me."
He added, "I really, really loved her. I wanted to make it work, even so, but she didn't want to, so what can I do?"
And yes, João can totally see how "ironic" this whole thing is, as he said in the above clip, considering how some thought he wasn't being totally faithful to Brooke in his interactions with Kasey last season.
João opened up more about the end of his relationship with Brooke during an interview with The Daily Dish prior to the Season 4 premiere, sharing that things started to fall apart after he left his job working as a bosun on a 60-meter charter vessel in Europe to be with her in America, which was at her request. He said he found out she had been unfaithful to him during his journey there.
"I went right up to her boat, and she wouldn't admit anything until I just said, I basically told her not to do to me what she hated her father for doing to her mother," João said, referring to Brooke sharing that her dad had cheated on her mom last season of Below Deck Med.
João said he had sacrificed a lot in order to have a future with Brooke. "Well, by the time I figured out exactly what was going on, I couldn't really believe it because I had literally quit my dream job. I had so much going on at the time, but everything I had planned for was for her and I," he explained. "I was busy planning a trip on a sailboat for us for two-and-a-half months, and she asked me to give her one more month on her boat in order for her to be happy to leave, and it turned out she was with the other guy."
Brooke and this other man stayed together after she and João officially ended things, the Below Deck Med bosun said. He also thinks they're still together today, although he said he's "not entirely sure."
João added he is "not at all" in contact with Brooke these days. He claimed she had reached out to him once after they broke up when she had some family issues going on, but he said he thinks "it was just a matter of attention and reason to speak to me," so he blocked her after that.
"We haven't spoken to each other since, not once. She had apologized to me through a friend of mine, and then I just said to her, I don't know what she wanted, but I was over it, so I told her that," João shared. "I wouldn't be able to speak to her again."
Now that João has had some time to reflect on what happened during and after Season 3 of Below Deck Med, he said he's not so sure that he and Brooke would have lasted, even if they didn't face these challenges in their relationship. "I think the whole show as a whole was a real big eye-opener for me," João said. "In seeing everything on the outside now, I would have to question whether Brooke and I would have ever worked even if she hadn't cheated on me."
After all of this turmoil, João made it a priority to get into a good headspace prior to the start of a new charter season in Season 4 of Below Deck Med with some soul searching during his travels around the United States. "I had to clear my head, and I really did, and I couldn't be in a better place," he shared. "I genuinely couldn't."
Though João was single heading into this season of Below Deck Med, he is currently in a relationship with Michelle Dicu.
See what's coming up for João in an all-new episode of Below Deck Med Monday at 9/8c, below.
Photo: João Franco/Instagram