The Real Reason Brandi Passante Left Storage Wars

Brandi Passante was a fan favorite on Storage Wars, the insanely popular reality show following storage locker auctions and the kinds of people who attend them, primarily thanks to her epic eye-rolls and razor-sharp wit. Alongside then-partner Jarrod Schulz, with whom she constantly, and very entertainingly, bickered virtually every time they were onscreen, Passante established herself as a must-watch on the hit A&E show. While other participants acted impulsively, Passante, a longtime business owner in her own right, mulled over each mysterious storage locker before placing her bid.

The chemistry between Passante and Schulz was such a huge part of "Storage Wars," in fact, that when the couple exited the show in 2014, it was a massive shock for fans. Considering how beloved they were, viewers knew it had nothing to do with likability. But the couple never envisioned themselves being on TV in the first place, as they memorably told The O.C. Registermaking their reason for leaving the show that made them famous even more shocking.  

Brandi Passante and Jarrod Schulz were too popular to be contained by Storage Wars

Passante and Schulz actually took a leave of absence from Storage Wars because they were gifted their own spin-off show, Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job. The title played off how the couple had never said "I do," in spite of being together for over a decade and sharing two kids. As a press release for the show, which describes the duo as "America's favorite bidders," noted the focus was entirely on Passante and Schulz. Their dedicated reality show followed the couple during their busy home life in Orange County, California, juggling the running of their second hand store with raising their two children.  

The big pull for long-time fans of the couple, however, was the opportunity to watch them finally plan their big day as Passante and Schulz prepared to wed. Naturally, there would be plenty of good-natured drama along the way. As the press release advised, "After 15 years together, Brandi and Jarrod finally decide to tie the knot, and they approach wedding planning in a way that only they could: with a little love, a lot of bickering and constant detours along the way." Schulz deadpanned to the Register that the show, "makes our dysfunction seem a little less dysfunctional." Although "Storage Wars" fans might have been sad to see them go, in the end they got a lot more of their favorite fighting couple than they expected.

Fame wasn't something Brandi Passante and Jarrod Shulz were chasing

Passante and Shulz's interview with The O.C. Register showcases how uncomfortable the then-couple was with fame. They got cast on the show by chance after the producers met Shulz at an auction. When they visited him at work, they spotted Passante and inquired about whether she would "mind being on TV" alongside him. Shulz enjoyed some of the perks of fame, including chefs sending them special meals at local restaurants, but Passante was more upfront about the realities of their new life. 

"It's a blessing and a curse," she admitted. "Sometimes you just want to go to the grocery store and pick up some milk." While filming "Storage Wars," they were expected to work six days a week, which was exhausting. Besides, although their extended family considered Storage Wars to be something of a godsend, Shulz acknowledged, "Neither of us really aspired to be on TV." The show also put pressure on them as a couple. Shulz explained to Times-Standard that running their business alongside the show was "very trying and has put our relationship to the test."

Being in the spotlight didn't suit Brandi Passante

Passante gave a rare interview in June 2020, with The Dad Diary on Facebook Live, whose host previously worked as a producer on "Storage Wars." The former reality star admitted that she had no idea what she was getting into upon initially joining the show, having only previously worked part time and basically been a stay-at-home mom. Passante was very hands-on with her children, who were 7 and 5 at the time. All that changed, however, when the show took off.

Suddenly, 60-hour weeks and long drives to filming locations meant less and less time with her kids. Passante missed out on so many major events, including her youngest Payton's first day of kindergarten. The other moms at school who had previously given her the cold shoulder suddenly wanted to be BFFs, which messed with her head even further. "Married to the Job" included the kids, but while the couple was also filming "Storage Wars," there still wasn't much family time. Now that it's all over, Passante is free to focus on her kids full-time once again, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

Brandi Passante was tempted back to Storage Wars by fate

Season 12 of "Storage Wars" wrapped up with the buyers disappointed in their hauls, suggesting the show may not continue. Indeed, nothing materialized until, suddenly, lucky number 13 was confirmed for release on April 20, 2021. As The Cinemaholic notes, fan faves including Dan and Laura Dotson were due to return alongside one Brandi Passante. The former reality star, who seemed done with the show for good, revealed her shocking return in a March Instagram post, tantalizingly writing, "Guess What y'all ... " alongside a teaser clip from the upcoming season. She actually teased her return a month prior, during an appearance on Spirit Talk Hosted by Shavaun and Sabrina. Host Shavaun enthused, "I'm glad that Storage Wars is back, that's exciting!" to which Passante responded jokingly, "Blessing and a curse is what I've always called it!" (via YouTube). 

Later in their chat, the mother of two acknowledged she's gained "a lot more autonomy to kind of bring myself out a little bit more," as the seasons wore on, "which has been really refreshing." She admitted, "I felt always that I was being held back. This [season] has been... enlightening and a little easier on me," which might go some way towards explaining her surprise return (via YouTube). Passante isn't resting on her laurels, however, announcing on Instagram in 2020 that she'd joined Cameo, where fans can pay for a personalized message or even chat live with the "Storage Wars" star.