Zoila worked for Jeff Lewis for 18 years before retiring back in 2017
Jeff Lewis has a new employee, and she has close ties to one of his former Flipping Out costars.
On Thursday’s episode of his SiriusXM radio show Jeff Lewis Live, the house flipper revealed that he had hired the sister of Zoila Chavez — the fan-favorite housekeeper who worked for Lewis for 18 years before retiring back in 2017.
“Her sister works for me now,” Lewis, 49, told a caller, who asked where his relationship with Chavez stood.
He went on to explain that Chavez, 69, now goes back and forth from Nicaragua — spending about 6 months out of the year there and the other in Los Angeles, where her daughter lives.
Though it’s been some time since they’ve spent time together, Lewis revealed that he’s hoping that changes soon. Specifically, he said he’s hoping Chavez can spend some time with his 3-year-old daughter, Monroe Christine.
“It’s funny, I was just talking to her sister because I haven’t seen her in a while,” Lewis said. “I want her to come by and see the baby.”
PEOPLE exclusively reported that Chavez had retired from working with Lewis back in August 2017.
“It’s been kind of rough,” Lewis said at the time. “I’m happy for her new life, but of course we were sad over here and we miss her.”
If Chavez’s absence was felt even more at the time, it was because Monroe was just 9 months old.
Lewis and his partner Gage Edward — who have since split after 10 years together — were left managing their new baby and busy business on the Bravo series.
“Zoila retired about three months ago,” Lewis said at the time. “She stayed the first six months we had the baby, which is amazing. You know, she’s wanted to retire for two years now, and she’s been with me for 18 years. I just begged her, begged her, begged her — ‘Please stay. I need help with the baby. I need help with this transition.’ And she stayed as long as she could.”
“Physically, after doing that kind of work for all of these years, it really takes its toll,” Lewis continued. “She’s 68 years old. She looks 10 years younger, because I gave her all that plastic surgery. But she’s tired and she’s ready to go.”
He and Chavez have certainly had their ups and downs over the 10 seasons she spent working with him on Flipping Out.
Not afraid to push back from time to time, Chavez’s sassy and stubborn attitude often landed her on the receiving end of Lewis’ famously short temper. In a season 9 episode, she was almost fired after walking out and refusing to return right as Lewis was preparing to leave for an important business trip.
“You better think real carefully about what you’re doing right now because there’ll be no going back,” Lewis warned her in a tense voicemail. “And I promise you—there’ll be no going back.”
Of course, the duo made up and Chavez returned to the household to work part-time two days a week. Viewers got to see her road to retirement throughout season 10 before her departure.
Last October, Lewis said that he and Chavez were still in touch.
“I just texted her this weekend,” he said on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. “In fact, I think we’re gonna have dinner pretty soon.”
Sadly, Chavez seems to have lost touch with former costar Jenni Pulos, who had a friendship-ending falling out with Lewis during Flipping Out‘s 11th season.
“We haven’t really spoken, no,” Pulos, 46, said in November, during her own visit to the WWHL clubhouse. “But Te amo, Zoila. Te amo always.”
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Meanwhile, elsewhere on Thursday’s Jeff Lewis Live, Lewis gave an update about his possible return to television.
“I have talked to a couple of different networks about either a doc-series or a more formatted design show,” Lewis said. “I think when the right show with the right person comes, we’ll hopefully put something together.”
in the meantime, he’s staying busy at SiriusXM. “I’m happy doing radio,” he said.
Jeff Lewis Live airs weekdays (12 p.m. ET) on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy (Ch. 102).