João Franco and Brooke Laughton found love on the high seas together in Below Deck Mediterranean, but their romance was never really on solid ground

By Dave Quinn
May 30, 2019 11:00 AM

João Franco opens up about his relationship with ex-Brooke Laughton on the season 4 premiere of Below Deck Mediterranean, claiming that their romance fell apart after she was unfaithful.

PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the hit Bravo franchise’s new season kickoff.

In the clip, Franco — now a bosun — catches up with returning deckhand Colin Macy-O’Toole about the rest of their old crew, including former stewardess Laughton, who did not come back to the show this time around.

Franco and Laughton were involved in an emotional love triangle back in season 3, with Franco torn between her and her fellow stewardess Kasey Cohen. Laughton ultimately won Franco’s heart, and the two walked off the yacht and into the sunset hand-in-hand. But by the reunion, which aired in September 2018, they were at a standstill — with Franco admitting he still had feelings for Laughton but she making it clear his lying had pushed her away.

So what happened from there? According to Franco, Laughton found herself interested in someone else.

“Brooke and I threw ourselves in the deep end. I met her family, she met mine. She came to Zimbobwe and we worked so well together, we really did,” he recalls.

“Things seemed perfect and then I found out she cheated on me,” Franco claims. “I’ve changed so much, it’s quite scary. I really, really loved her. I wanted to make it work, even so. But she didn’t want to, so what can I do?”

João Franco and Brooke Laughton
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

When reached for comment by PEOPLE, Laughton denied Franco’s claim.

“Although it initially hurt to hear João blamed our relationship break down on a false claim that I cheated on him, it is very true to his character and allows him some relief for his ego. In reality, there was absolutely no cross over between when I realized what kind of person I wasn’t looking for and the kind I was and I absolutely did not cheat on him,” Laughton said.

“If this theory makes him sleep easier at night, then so be it but him saying this only makes me lose even more respect for him,” she added. “I know exactly the kind of person I am and I’m extremely content and secure in the facts of how everything played out. … I only hope he continues to grown and learn what it is to be a man and a good person.”

During the season 3 reunion, Laughton had put Franco on blast for not telling her the truth about the fact that he was still in contact with Cohen and continued to flirt with her while they were dating.

“I treated her like s—. I only see that now,” Franco admitted to reunion host Andy Cohen, before telling Laughton, “I’m in love with you. I need work.”

“Just don’t lie,” Laughton responded.

Regardless of what led to their split, Franco appears to have moved on and found happiness with someone else.

The reality star has gone Instagram official with girlfriend and “love” Michelle Dicu, sharing several photos of their time together on his page (including a touching Valentine’s Day tribute to her, and a sweet selfie of the two posted on April 12).

Below Deck Mediterranean premieres June 3 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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