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This Is What Led to Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos' Falling Out
The Flipping Out Season 11 finale showed the beginning of the end of this longtime friendship.
Right from the beginning of the episode, it was clear that something major and sad had happened between the co-workers and pals. "Sometimes you can't explain why things happen, and it did. This happened, and it was a lesson that I need to take and learn from," Jenni said in an interview after we saw her wiping away tears in her eyes at the top of the episode. "I really considered him as family, and maybe that is a huge mistake."
The episode then cut to when the drama seemingly began during a seminar for the whole Jeff Lewis Design crew led by Jeff's client, The Real Housewives of Miami's Lea Black. While everyone shared their feedback on how the company could be more efficient and successful, Jenni said that she was "happy" at Jeff Lewis Design, but she noted that she was still hoping to pursue her acting career, which she said she had put on hold for her job.
Jenni opened up more about this as the team and Lea went out to lunch on their way to look at some lighting fixtures. She shared that she missed some auditions and turned down some acting opportunities because of her dedication to her job at Jeff Lewis Design. Jeff told Jenni that he thought she would have taken advantage of those opportunities if they had come up, which made her feel like he was minimizing her acting dreams.
Things got even more heated when the team got in the car to make their way to the lighting fixture store. Jenni revealed that last year she was asked to be on tape for a final audition with an offer for a Nicolas Cage movie, and she didn't do it because she would have had to have taken off work for two weeks. Jeff said that this was the first he had heard of this, and he didn't think she was being truthful because he said she would have shared the good news with him, as she has always done in the past.
Jeff said during an interview that his feelings were hurt after this discussion. "I guess, for me, whenever I feel hurt, I always respond with anger," he explained. "Bottom line, my feelings were hurt."
After a tense and quiet moment in the lighting fixture store, Jenni burst into tears in the car on the way back to the office. "I believe he didn't maybe totally mean all of it, but because we've had such a history, you know, it's hard to know that at his core, this is who he thought I was," Jenni said during an interview. "And, you know, that's heartbreaking."
Jeff gave Jenni the rest of the day off, as well as the next week off. The two later got together for lunch to talk about everything that went down. "I wanted to apologize. I feel really bad about what I did and what I said and how I acted. First of all, I need you to know something, like truly," Jeff told Jenni. "What I was hearing was that you weren't where you wanted to be in your career and that I somehow was to blame for that because you have made all of these sacrifices for me. So I was hurt by that, like really hurt. But then, as of yesterday, and it took me a while to get there, I thought, 'Well, you know, I bet she has probably turned down some auditions. And I bet she has probably not taken some meetings so she could be there on Wednesday when I need her for Alder & Tweed.' So now I kind of understand where you were coming from. But before, I was hurt and I was angry. I certainly didn't mean to embarrass you. I hope you understand that I was actually, in my own screwed up way, trying to help you. But I'm sorry. I really am sorry."
Jenni thanked Jeff for his apology and said that she "felt minimized" by him. She was also really hurt by feeling Jeff was calling her a liar. "That's kind of what kind of hurt me to my core, and I don't want you to ever think that I didn't want to be there because that's not true. It's just not true, and you have to believe me," Jenni told Jeff.
Jeff went on to say that he felt like he was holding Jenni back from her dreams, and he also needs to grow in his business. "I feel like I need to, for me, I need to have people in that office that are going to commit to me full-time and have the same objectives that I have," Jeff said. "So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think it's time to move on. I think it's time for you to move on, and I am eternally grateful to you because I would not be here if it weren't for you."
Jenni said "OK" to that idea. "I thought we were having lunch to discuss what had happened and decide how to regroup. I didn't realize my future at Jeff Lewis Design was over," she later said in an interview. "Some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I thought it was gonna be a lifetime, but I'm grateful to him for so many things. So it's scary, the future, when you don't know and you've had such a history."
At the end of the episode, Jeff explained in an interview that he hadn't made up his mind about letting Jenni go until about an hour before their meeting. "To be honest, I was leaning towards not letting her go. The whole thing was scary. It was scary because I'm used to her being next to me for the last dozen years," he shared. "The idea of changing that was scary to me, but I felt like I needed to do this for her and for me."
Relive some of Jenni's best Flipping Out moments, below.