Jeff Lewis Apologized to Daughter's Surrogate for 'Disgusting' Comments Before She Sued Him
Jeff Lewis tried to apologize to the surrogate who is suing him for making "off-color" comments while she was in labor with his daughter
Jeff Lewis tried to apologize to the surrogate who is suing him for making “off-color” comments while she was in labor with his daughter.
The star of Bravo’s Flipping Out, 48, has been hit with a lawsuit from the woman who carried his now-19-month-old daughter, Monroe. Alexandra Trent claims producers of the show filmed her vagina without permission during her delivery and that Lewis personally humiliated her by making “disgusting” comments on the show, according to a complaint obtained by PEOPLE.
Before news of the legal action “blindsided” the reality star on Tuesday, Lewis tells PEOPLE, he thought he’d resolved the conflict himself.
“I thought all was good,” he previously said, explaining he had sent Trent flowers and an apology letter after learning she had reached out to his surrogacy attorney to share that she was upset with what had been said.
Additionally, he says, both he and his partner, Gage Edward, stayed in touch with Trent after the episode aired, during which time “we were all friends.”
“We spoke to her for months and months! She sent gifts. We were reaching out and giving her updates and pictures. I’m telling you, this was an amazing experience. We were friends. She was a part of our family. We bought her a beautiful push gift. That’s what’s so insane to me. I thought this was over,” he added.
The off-color joke about Trent occurred during a season 10 episode of Flipping Out, which documented Monroe’s birth.
During interview setups filmed after Trent’s delivery and spliced into the episode, Lewis joked, “If I was a surrogate, and I had known there was going to be an audience, I probably would have waxed. And that was the shocking part for Gage. I don’t think Gage had ever seen a vagina, let alone one that big.”
The comment — and the fact that producers had filmed her delivery — “deeply damaged Trent” and “caused incredible anguish, self-loathing, contempt and depression,” according to the legal documents. Lewis, Edward, Bravo and the show’s production company, Authentic Entertainment, are all named in the suit.
While Lewis told PEOPLE he didn’t remember making the comment, he recognized it as “a poor attempt at humor” and “an off-color joke” once he saw the episode.
RELATED VIDEO: Flipping Out’s Jeff Lewis and Gage Edward Are Trying for Baby No. 2 — a Boy!
Reacting to the suit on Friday’s Jeff Lewis Live, the reality star got emotional as he called Trent’s legal action, “the biggest form of betrayal.”
“The only mistake I’ve made in this entire process was I made this off-colored comment about her female parts,” he said. “I don’t think that alone warrants a multi-million dollar lawsuit.”
He also added that though the lawsuit is upsetting because both he and Gage considered Trent to be like family, they’re more worried about how Monroe will react when she’s older and learns about what happened for herself.
“That agreement… was really meant to protect not Gage and I, but Monroe,” he went on. “What worries me now and what is upsetting is that our daughter, at any point in time, for the rest of her life, she has this horrible cloud. People can just Google and they know this entire story.”