Jeff Lewis Claims He and Jenni Pulos Were Faking Their Relationship on Flipping Out for Years
Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos have been faking their working relationship on the last several seasons of Flipping Out, Lewis claimed on Friday
In an emotional episode of his SiriusXM radio show Jeff Lewis Live, the famous house flipper confirmed PEOPLE’s report that he and Pulos had parted ways personally and professionally while claiming that she had actually stopped working for his company, Jeff Lewis Design, several years ago — something they both allegedly hid from viewers.
“I want to be honest with my listeners and I want to be honest with my viewers, because I respect my viewers and I do have something to apologize for,” the Bravo star, 48, said.
“I have always claimed that Flipping Out is a true authentic un-produced show. It is. However, Jenni has not worked for me — she has not been working for me for several, several seasons,” he said. “And I apologize because it is the one inauthentic thing about the show.”
He continued: “She is employed by Bravo. She shows up the day of filming, she leaves the day we are done filming. She doesn’t work for me seven months out of the year. She’s not employed by me. I don’t pay her. She’s not on my payroll.”
Reps for Pulos and Bravo had no comment about Lewis’ claims.
Flipping Out premiered on Bravo in July 2007. Season 11 of the show kicks off Sept. 11.
Though the show follows Lewis and his employees, 45-year-old Pulos has played an integral role since its debut, serving as Lewis’ assistant. Like Lewis, she’s also an executive producer on the series.
The decision to continue to portray Pulos as an employee for the show, Lewis claimed on his SiriusXM show, was made out of fear for the show’s continued success — which he felt hinged on their dynamic together. “I was afraid that if she left my office, people wouldn’t watch,” he said.
Lewis went on to reveal the pair parted ways professionally after he learned Pulos allegedly “had other objectives” and didn’t want to work to help Lewis grow his business.
“She said she had given up her acting career to work for me,” Lewis said on Jeff Lewis Live. “That really hurt my feelings because I felt like I have done nothing but accommodate her for her auditions and meetings and whatnot. And initially I was very hurt and I was put on the defense. I understand that she spends a lot of time with me. It’s very possible she hasn’t been able to go on certain auditions and maybe she hasn’t been able to have the opportunity of booking a movie or a show or whatever, but I have been very, very flexible.”
As a result, Lewis said, “We elected … to have her move on from Jeff Lewis Design.”
The pair discussed Pulos staying on the show as a “friend,” in order to be truthful about the nature of their relationship after her departure, Lewis said. But those plans deteriorated after Pulos brought allegations of “abuse and victimization” against him and later claims of wrongful termination to Bravo and the show’s production company, Authentic Entertainment, Lewis claimed. (Authentic Entertainment did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.)
“I’m pretty sure they’re not going to keep picking up Flipping Out if she’s not on the show,” Lewis said. “And she’s not on the show.”
On Thursday, PEOPLE exclusively reported that Lewis and Pulos were no longer working together and had ended their nearly 20-year friendship.
According to multiple sources, the emotional moment was filmed for the upcoming eleventh season. The two longtime collaborators and friends reportedly haven’t spoken in months.
“It’s sad,” one source said. “They used to be inseparable but their differences just got too big to overcome.”
“They found fame together so there was always this thought that nothing could tear them apart, but that hasn’t been the case,” the source added. “They’ll never come back from this. It’s over.”