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What Ever Happened to MDLNY's Michael Lorber?
The broker is still selling luxury real estate and counts RHONY's Sonja Morgan among his closest friends.
Looking back at our shows, we often wonder about the people who've left. Where did they go when their moment in the Bravo spotlight was over? What are they up to now? Each week, we'll be looking into the lives of one of these familiar faces. Today, it's Michael Lorber from Million Dollar Listing New York.
Michael Lorber was the attorney-turned-broker who made his Bravo debut as one of the three original sales moguls on the very first season of Million Dollar Listing New York in 2012. Then the real estate scion left the show before Season 2 kicked off — but he's still in the risky but lucrative business in a very big way.
In fall 2014, Michael and two other high-performing brokers at Douglas Elliman Real Estate launched The SLS Team at the firm. "We're only a year into it and it's one of the top teams at the company right now," Michael, whose dad is real estate giant Howard Lorber, told The Daily Dish at the time. "We now have two additional brokers — it's really growing. We've just been super busy."
Michael made headlines last winter for something far scarier than the Manhattan luxury real estate market: He thwarted a kidnapping scam he's since described as "the worst experience of my life." In December 2014, Michael received a phone call on his cell phone from a blocked number. The callers "told me [my brother] Brian had been in a car accident, they'd kidnapped him, broken his hand, and I needed to meet them with $2,000 in cash to pay for the damage to their car," Michael told Page Six in January. "They said they had his cellphone and they'd shoot him in the head if I called him."
Michael discreetly asked an assistant for help and confirmed his brother was at his office — not under the control of kidnappers — and realized the ransom demand was a scam. "It plucks at a real serious heartstring. There was screaming in the background. You're so confused, they're yelling at you — it's very scary. I was a wreck that day," he tells The Daily Dish. Michael had to speak to the FBI and NYPD about the ordeal and learned he wasn't the only victim of the terrifying hoax. "It was a very common scam going on at the time. It was happening to people all over," he continues. "So many people called me and told me it had happened to them too. I'm glad [talking about it meant] people got to hang up not have that heartache."
As for his old cohorts, Michael says he "sometimes" watches MDLNY but is still friendly with his Season 1 co-stars Fredrik Eklund and Ryan Serhant. "I've stayed close with Fredrik — he and his husband [Derek] have come to my house in Nantucket, and we're having dinner next week," Michael shares. "I never really knew Ryan — I just wasn't close with him — but I saw him a few months ago and I met his fiancée [Emilia]. She was so sweet."
He knows plenty of other MDL franchise stars, too. Chris Leavitt from Million Dollar Listing Miami "has been a super close friend for many years," says Michael, who also reveals that he's gone on several European vacations with Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles star Josh Flagg — they've been friends for the last seven years — and Josh's boyfriend, Colton. And although Michael has never shared screen time with current MDLNY star Luis Ortiz, who joined the show after he left, Michael says they've gotten to know each other in the last few years too. "I was just with Luis this morning!" says Michael.
It's a small world for the Bravolebrity. "Sonja [Morgan] from Real Housewives of New York is one of my very close friends," says Michael. "She was just at my house for a week and we travel together a lot. I'm close with her daughter, [too]." He and Sonja met at a Bravo event a few years ago and immediately hit it off. "We've been close ever since," he adds. "She's always at my birthdays and I go to her house sometimes and watch her show — she has these great viewing parties."
He and Sonja have also been known to do some charity work together. Michael, who works with several non-profits including serving as a board member for the AIDS-education charity Love Heals (he's also on the Board of Trustees for Babson College, among many other endeavors), attended an AMFAR event honoring Andy Cohen with Sonja in June 2015. "She loves a good party," Michael says, "but she's philanthropic as well."
Fans of Michael's season of MDLNY might remember that while he was in college, he spent his summers working for Donald Trump. He's thrilled that his former boss is now making a run for the White House. "I'm a strong supporter of his presidential campaign," says Michael (who's also tight with The Donald's daughter-in-law Vanessa: "We go to Soulcycle two times a week," he says). "I think he'll make the country safer and the economy stronger — those are two things that are very important to me. To me, he's one of the greatest real estate developers in New York. To people around the country, he's an American success story and a true patriot."
Looking back on his time on MDLNY, Michael says he has fond memories. "It was all an adventure. I don't regret doing the show at all. But would I want to do it again? No. I don’t think it was the right thing for me or my clients, and I didn’t want to make a career out of being a celebrity," he explains. Although it's been three-and-a-half years since he left, he still gets recognized. "All the time," he says. "I was just at a movie premiere for The Intern and a woman asked me for my picture! It happens at Starbucks, Soulcycle, on the street, restaurants, open houses. They'll say, 'Oh my God, you're from the show!' It's funny when people connect the dots when you're in that setting."
Between his work, philanthropy, and travel, Michael says he doesn't have a lot of time for a love life. "[I'm] single," he confirms. "I work a lot so it's always hard. I'm always looking for someone who can understand that. But I'm young — I'll be 36 next week," he adds. "I'm not looking to settle down yet."
Watch Michael and his former co-stars, Fredrik and Ryan, discuss working with the Housewives, below.
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