Seven months ago, Fredrik Eklund revealed the devastating news that his surrogate had suffered a miscarriage.
Now, with the new season of Million Dollar Listing: New York set to premiere Thursday, the real estate broker opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about his decision to film the show amid the tragic experience, and how he hopes his story might be able to help others find strength.
“[The first episode] is very emotional, I was crying a lot,” says Swedish-born Eklund, 38. “I knew when I started filming that this was going to happen, because I couldn’t keep it together and I knew as soon as I sat down in that interview chair, because of what happened, this was going to come out.”
“So when I made a decision to film season five, I made it under the one condition that I was going to be completely honest with everyone about this whole journey, wherever it was going to leave me,” he continues.
Of course, Eklund admits having cameras documenting the experience didn’t make things easier.
“It’s a very difficult thing to do because when you – when you’re that sad, everything feels somewhat empty and you feel alone and you struggle and you feel helpless,” he says. “It’s difficult as it is but then to do that on camera and not knowing where it’s all going to go It was tough.”
And while he recognizes the Bravo show is a realty show, and “people tune in for real estate,” he felt it was time to show the audience a more vulnerable side.
“I think it’s time to show people more – to show them the person behind the deals,” he says. “I hope that the audience will appreciate that honesty.”
Of his husband Derek Kaplan, with whom he was expecting the child via surrogate, Eklund says he functioned as the rock for the couple throughout the ordeal.
“I mean, he’s everything,” Eklund says. “Looking back at it now – thank God I had him.”
Million Dollar Listing: New York season 5 premieres Thursday (9 .m. ET) on Bravo.