With Pedro working at a warehouse and Chantel not graduating from nursing school until December, the TLC’s offer to do the spin-off show was a tempting way to generate income.
And on the bright side, as Chantel told me today, “it’s kind of therapeutic when they interview you. You’re able to talk through your problem and forces you to put everything on the table. You can’t ignore your problems with other family members.”
The couple first showed up nearly three years ago on TLC: Chantel, a then-25-year-old nursing student, met Pedro through a mutual friend as she was trying to learn Spanish. He wanted to learn English. They often used Google translate to communicate at first.
She flew to the Dominican Republic and they fell in love quickly. On their third trip there, he proposed.
Chantel’s protective parents - Thomas and Karen - were instantly skeptical of his intentions. Chantel’s siblings didn’t trust him either. They believed he was just using Chantel to become an American citizen.
On his end, Pedro’s mom Lidia and sister Nicole took an instant dislike of Thomas and Karen. Nicole and Chantel clashed as well.
Ultimately, the pair did get married and TLC has followed their journey ever since.
So while the hook of the show is the “you have 90 days to get married or not” and features plenty of super dysfunctional couples, Chantel and Pedro are - relatively speaking - not that dysfunctional.
When the two of them have joined the other couples for the reunion shows, Pedro said it's funny when the others start judging their relationship given their issues.
Chantel said while love is the glue, they still have, trust and commitment issues that keep the relationship unstable.
And TLC replays that fight Pedro had with Chantel’s brother River from nearly two years ago so many times that Chantel said she has become almost numb to it. “It’s now more annoying,” she said.
The spin-off also gives more air time to River and Chantel’s sister Winter. River used to be super close to Chantel but Pedro has caused a rift that has yet to be resolved. And Winter has her own relationship challenges with her boyfriend of five years. “She’s going through the most devastating point in her relationship,” Chantel said. “Better she know up front.”
The bottom line for both Chantel and Pedro is they both love their families and desperately want them to get along. If the in laws can make peace, that might calm the waters between Chantel and Pedro so they can have their own kids some day without so much drama, Pedro said.
They could also move away from Atlanta and just be at some point, which Pedro said is “on the table.”
As for Pedro’s family coming to the States, even if that were to occur, it may take awhile.
Pedro is still taking English classes and after three years, his comprehension is great and he can speak passably well - if not always clearly. (The show still subtitles him sometimes.)
“I can understand everybody,” he said. “The problem is when I need to speak back and I need to find the correct words.”
“The Family Chantel,” Mondays at 10 p.m., TLC