Secret For Life: Jeannie Mai's Mother Was Secretly Married To The Host's 'Uncle' For 8 Years

Date November 15, 2019

Jeannie Mai and her mom, Olivia Mai, are incredibly close. In summer 2019, the actress credited her parent's larger-than-life personality. Mai's relationship with her mother is evident on The Real host's social media and on her digital series, Hello Hunnay.

Talking to ET, Jeannie Mai stated:

She has so much light in her life, and she's super explosive with her personality. She's unapologetic. She's loving of everybody around her, and she checks you when your a** needs to be checked.

Jeannie Mai's mom

As an immigrant who escaped Vietnam to start a brand-new life in Northern California, Jeannie Mai's mom happened to have been married secretly, and she never told her children about it. The star's mother was married for 8 years, and Jeannie found out about it only recently.

The man Mai had called 'Uncle' for over a decade is actually her stepfather.

My mom got married without telling us kids for years. Uncle Ted has been my stepfather for 15 years. Eight years married, eight years married, sorry. But I found out just a year and a half ago.

The Real host found out about Olivia and Ted's marriage when she hosted both of them at her Los Angeles home and saw the stepfather sneak into her mother's bedroom.

In an episode featuring the couple, they explained that they met online in a chat room for Vietnamese singles. Mama Mai said that she was initially looking for someone for her sister, but the two developed spark instantly and went on talking.

When Jeannie asked why they didn't tell any of their kids, Ted replied:

We don't feel it's important… I don't feel like it's needed. They never ask.

But how would Olivia act if Jeannie were to get secretly married? "I'd kill you," boldly responded her mother.

An 8-year rift

In May 2019, Jeannie Mai revealed she had been sexually abused by male a family member, who was her babysitter, at the age of 9. It caused a serious rift between herself and her mother. Talking to PEOPLE, she said:

This happened every day for a few weeks, and then it turned into months and I remember one year going by. I didn't say anything because I was afraid.

As the abuse became more "aggressive," Jeannie Mai once tried to open to her mom a few years later, but Olivia didn't believe her. After not getting the response she expected from her mother, a then-young girl left home at the age of 16. Olivia and Jeannie Mai did not speak or see each other for roughly nine years.

The celebrity host and her mother didn't talk for years until they finally reconnected, and she was able to convince her mom of what really happened. Since then, the mother and the daughter have been inseparable!

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