Before & After Storage Wars: The Complete Evolution Of Brandi Passante

Trigger Warning: The following article contains mentions of domestic abuse.

A&E has been playing on viewers' interests in bizarre characters and rare finds for years, hence the popularity of their reality shows "Pawn Stars," "Hoarders," and of course, "Storage Wars." The series, which premiered all the way back in 2010, followed a group of thrift dealers as they bid on abandoned storage units, searched for valuable items, and sold them off for profit. Unsurprisingly, the original cast of "Storage Wars" looks incredibly different today.

Not only that, but one of the original castmates who has appeared in more episodes than anybody, Brandi Passante (the eye roll queen), has had an incredible transformation over the years. From her tumultuous childhood in Texas to her on-screen career as a fan favorite storage unit bidder, she has amassed a huge following and made a name for herself outside of the show. However, following the end of her yearslong relationship with Jarrod Schulz and her exit from "Storage Wars," fans have been curious as to what she's been up to. Here is the complete evolution of Brandi Passante and how she's continued her successful career.

Brandi Passante had a 'tumultuous' childhood

Brandi Passante was born on May 16, 1980, in Harris County, Texas. Because she's been notoriously private about certain aspects of her personal life, not much is known about her childhood, but she has spoken about it a handful of times. During an April 2013 interview with Lifetime, Passante did share that she's maintained some of her characteristics from childhood. "I'm actually a very shy person. ... I was even shy as a child — I used to give everyone dirty looks!" Passante explained. She also spoke about how growing up with brothers toughened her up, seeing as they used to "beat the crap out of [her] when [they] were young."

On the "Spirit Talk Hosted by Shavaun and Sabrina" podcast in February 2021, the reality star gave her fans a little more insight into her upbringing and revealed that she had a "tumultuous childhood [and] tumultuous adulthood." Passante added, laughing, "I think maybe that is why I'm funny, because if I'm not, then you know, what else do I have? ... I would just be a big drag."

She met Jarrod Schulz while working at a carpet cleaning company

Witnessing a disagreement between "Storage Wars" couple Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz wasn't uncommon on the show. After all, they'd been together for over a decade by the time they premiered on our television screens as the dynamic storage unit bidding duo. Passante and Schulz first met in 1999 when she began working at a carpet cleaning company in Tustin, California, where he was the sales manager.

In an August 2016 interview with Inquirer.net, Passante divulged that their relationship wasn't quite love at first sight, saying, "That was a process. He wore me down. He was persistent." In response, Schulz explained that there was some complexity in their dynamic. "When Brandi and I started dating ... Technically, I was her boss ... and you were not supposed to do that. A mutual friend put notes on my truck, reminding me to be nice to Brandi, because I could be abrasive," he said.

Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz had two children together

When Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz were on "Storage Wars," their son Cameron and daughter Payton made the occasional appearance. While more private details of their lives remain locked away, Passante gave an interview in June 2020 saying that her kids were 17 and 15 at the time.

During her Lifetime interview in April 2013, the reality star spoke about how she juggles her career and parenting her kids. "I don't have much family outside of Jarrod and the kids, and Jarrod comes from a very small family, so when we were just starting out, we'd rely on neighbors and even some of Jarrod's buddies for extra support. Now, we can afford to hire some help — I work all the time, so I need someone to assist with the day-to-day stuff, but I do try to make time for the kids," she said.

While Passante has spoken about — and even posted pictures of her children on social media in the past — she's been hesitant to do so. In February 2020, the "Storage Wars" star shared an Instagram post of her daughter alongside a caption that explained the reason behind her fiercely private nature when it comes to her kids. "I stopped posting photos of my babies. Because some creepy ass dudes were harassing them. I am reluctantly posting this because, I am so proud of how beautiful my little is in her winter formal fit," she wrote.

They also owned a thrift store

After Jarrod Schulz left the carpet cleaning business he worked at with Brandi Passante, he became involved in the mortgage industry. However, when the business collapsed, he found himself jobless and with few prospects. That's when he and Passante followed the advice of his aunt and began looking into storage auctions. In February 2010, the couple opened up a thrift store called Now and Then in Orange, California, so they could sell their finds rather than letting them pile up.

"I had to draw the line. We could have been on 'Hoarders' instead," Passante joked to The Orange County Register in October 2011. After the couple had been on "Storage Wars" for a few years, their business picked up, and fans popped in frequently for autographs. Now and Then was doing so well that in March 2013, they decided to open up a second location in Long Beach. During the same interview, Schulz remarked, "I'm not an actor. Even if the show flops, I can run the store another 20 years."

Brandi Passante made her debut on Storage Wars in 2010

While at an auction in Los Angeles, Brandi Passante and Jarod Schulz met the production team behind "Storage Wars," and they were selected to appear on the show. Come December 2010, "Storage Wars" premiered, introducing the world to the couple, who were dubbed "The Young Guns" (seeing as they were the youngest bidders on the show), as well as other beloved cast members like Barry Weiss, Dan Dotson, and Dave Hester.

Passante spoke with the Times Standard in June 2013 about what a typical day of filming requires, saying, "It's a lot of hard work. You go out to the auction, battle it out, get a unit, and then you have to move out and clean every inch of that storage unit and leave nothing behind. No trash, nothing, and then you have to figure out how to sell it."

Fame is something the couple struggled with over the years, as they went on to appear in 11 seasons consecutively. In June 2020, she divulged the details about her behind the scenes experiences while speaking with Danny Jordan for "The Dad Diary" podcast. "I got some scary letters in the very beginning. I did have to move at one point to like a guard-gated community. ... It was definitely life-changing, I did have to have a little bit of therapy about it. I didn't like to leave the house," the reality star explained.

Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz landed a spin-off show

After several seasons of successful bids, extraordinary finds, and plenty of bickering along the way, Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz landed their own "Storage Wars" spin-off show in 2014. This required "The Young Guns" to leave "Storage Wars" temporarily while they filmed "Brandi and Jarrod: Married to the Job."

The first episode of their new series aired after the Season 5 premiere of "Storage Wars" and, rather than focusing solely on Passante's and Schulz's bidding wars and rare finds, viewers got an inside look into the couple's lives. From running their secondhand store to raising their two children and planning their wedding after 15 years of dating, the show shined a light on their personal lives in a way "Storage Wars" never had. While there were plenty of squabbles between Passante and Schulz, their dynamic proved television-worthy.

In speaking with the Times Standard in June 2013, Passante said it could be difficult to work with Schulz at times. "Working together as a couple every day is quite an obstacle to overcome. We're together 24 hours a day seven days a week trying to make business decisions together," she said. Unfortunately, "Brandi and Jarrod: Married to the Job" only lasted one season, but the couple went right back to their usual spot on "Storage Wars" soon afterward.

She and Jarrod Schulz quietly split up in 2018

Fans were shocked when, during the "Storage Wars" Season 13 premiere in 2021, Brandi Passante said that she and Jarrod Schulz were no longer together. She later revealed that she had ended things with him after filming on Season 12 had wrapped in 2018. While the former couple were never married and could forgo a messy divorce, they had two children together, and Passante ended up with full custody.

She had spoken about the split beforehand, telling the "The Dad Diary" in June 2020 about parenting her teenage children on her own. "I did a lot of it on my own anyway, but it's the scary dad voice in the background that we're missing. ... I have them all the time, 24/7 they're here with me," Passante explained. She did add that things are going well for her, though, saying, "I think we're good right now. I'm very happy with my life," she explained.

Brandi Passante became involved in charity work

Not only has Brandi Passante maintained a polished reputation throughout her career on "Storage Wars," but she's also used her platform to shine a light on important causes. One of them was Women's Own Worth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic violence.

Passante had met the organization's founder and survivor of domestic abuse, Jajuan Archer, through a friend of a friend. The "Storage Wars" star was moved by her story, and she ended up emceeing 2019's WOWapalooza, a Women's Own Worth event, ultimately helping them raise over $100,000. As Passante told The Saline Courier at the time, "I have experienced some things in my life, and it's a really wonderful cause. It's things that are needed, so I wanted to help in any way possible."

Passante explained how she came to host the event for Women's Own Worth while speaking with "The Dad Diary," saying, "[Archer] asked me if I would emcee their event, and she ... She's like, 'But we just — we can't afford you.' And I said, 'You don't have to pay me, you know, just get me there,' and it was such an amazing experience, and I would love to continue to help them anyway I can."

Her father died in 2020

Sadly, Brandi Passante had to deal with a huge loss in October 2020 when her dad died. She shared a touching Instagram tribute at the time, posting a photo of her dad holding her as a baby. The caption alongside it read, "I always smile when I think of you. I was most definitely a daddy's girl. .... I will miss you terribly. Now if everyone I love, could stop dying in such close proximity that would be great. #f***2020."

Months later, in February 2021, Passante spoke on the podcast "Spirit Talk Hosted by Shavaun and Sabrina" and revealed that her dad had been dealing with poor health for many years prior. When asked how long he had been sick, Passante replied, "Most of my life. My dad had COPD I think ... for probably 35 years, and then he had rheumatoid arthritis. He had osteoporosis, he got liver cancer, he had ... just so many things. He ended up dying of lung cancer." While her dad's death must have hit her hard, Passante was likely at least relieved that he was no longer in pain.

She took time to focus on herself

Brandi Passante had been with Jarrod Schulz for nearly two decades when they finally split up, and despite their breakup, they continued working as co-stars on "Storage Wars." Understandably, working with an ex came with its own drama and stress, especially because the show had painted them as rivals. As Passante told Distractify in 2021, "It is a little tense, but we seem to get through it."

Like any newly single person who just left a long-term relationship, Passante seemed to enjoy her newfound freedom. When "Storage Wars" went on hiatus during the pandemic, she took some time to rediscover herself. On "Spirit Talk Hosted by Shavaun and Sabrina," she explained her mindset, saying, "I was describing it as sort of emotionally dead inside, you know, just kind of trying to find my place. ... I wasn't really allowed to have an identity for, you know, many, many years, and so these last couple of years, I'm kind of coming into my own and figuring out who I am."

Brandi Passante returned to Storage Wars for Season 13

COVID-19 left many without work, including those who would normally be in front of the camera. After Season 12 of "Storage Wars" wrapped in January 2019, the show finally returned with Season 13 in April 2021, bringing Brandi Passante back to our television screens. She spoke with PopCulture.com at the time about her return to filming, saying, "I was getting bored." Passante added that the new health and safety protocols had the entire cast and crew "on level weird," but that they've "found [their] stride again."

While Passante has continued her appearances on "Storage Wars," Jarrod Schulz didn't return for Season 14. While this may have been related to his trouble with the law (more on that later), there's no doubt this made filming easier on his ex. Passante again came back for Season 15 in 2023, again with no Schulz in sight, and time will tell whether she'll come back for another installment of the season — that is, assuming "Storage Wars" is even renewed.

She co-hosts a podcast

Luckily for Brandi Passante, she has much more to offer than flipping antiques found in storage units and running her secondhand store. Fans have loved her candidness for years, making her a great candidate for a podcast. During a July 2021 episode of "Happening Now With Hammer," Passante was announced as the newest cast member of the podcast, joining showrunners Hammer and Adam Malarchick.

On her first episode as a regular, the reality star shared the best dive bar pickup line she'd heard, which was appropriate given she'd met Hammer in a dive bar. "Some guy came over to me and he said, 'Do you like my shirt?' I was like ... 'I don't know man, yeah, whatever.' [He asked], 'What is it made out of?' ... And I was like, 'I don't know, cotton?' He's like, 'Boyfriend material,'" she said, with a wink. Her co-hosts cringed, but Passante laughed along, insisting it was a clever line. Since then, the "Storage Wars" star has returned regularly to the show to talk about things happening in Newport Beach and Orange County.

Brandi Passante revealed that she lives with an autoimmune disease

Countless celebrities deal with health issues affecting their thyroid, and in April 2022, Brandi Passante revealed she was one of them. After an Instagram user asked the reality star, "Why is your throat so scratchy?" she shared her response on her Instagram Story and revealed for the first time that she lives with thyroid issues. "I have Hashimotos [sic] Disease. An auto-immune [disorder] that affects my thyroid. Sometimes, it makes my throat Raspy," the "Storage Wars" star wrote.

This health condition impacts around five in every 100 Americans and can cause symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, and an enlarged thyroid, which can create a feeling of "fullness" in the throat. Hashimoto's disease affects several stars, including Leona Lewis, Gigi Hadid, Victoria Justice, and Zoe Saldana, and it's the most common cause of hypothyroidism. While it can cause further health issues, it is luckily a very treatable condition.

She opened up about her experience with domestic abuse

Brandi Passante has made her opinions on Jarrod Schulz clear throughout her time on "Storage Wars" and in interviews following their breakup, yet she's been pretty quiet about what exactly incited their split. Back in April 2021, a few years after she ended things with her "Storage Wars" co-star, an incident broke out between the exes at a bar in Orange County. Schulz was charged with one count of domestic violence battery against Passante after he allegedly pushed her.

While she hasn't spoken out against her ex about the incident, she did share a telling post on Instagram in August 2022. Passante shared a picture of her tattoo, the word "free" with a bird on her finger, which she said she'd gotten touched up recently. "My little reminder of the strength, that I finally, miraculously, found... & all that I've accomplished. In spite of constantly being told, that I was worthless... My reminder that I can be fearless and free to make my own choices without consequences," the caption alongside read. Underneath, Passante used the hashtags "#domesticviolenceawareness," "#domesticviolencesurvivor," and "#freeasabird."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.