A lot of memorable 90 Day Fiancé couples have graced our screens over the years, but one of the most unforgettable couples to have ever appeared on the show is Brandon Gibbs, who hails from Virginia, and Julia Trubkina, who is from Russia. Like all 90 Day Fiancé couples, Brandon and Julia have faced a lot of hurdles to make their international relationship work. Among the many challenges explored on Season 8 of the show are a language barrier, Brandon’s family, and Julia’s struggle to adjust to life in America.
Julia and Brandon proved to be one of the breakout couples of the season, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that they became fan favorites. That is to say, Julia won over the hearts of viewers, but those viewers also had mixed feelings about the more polarizing Brandon.
One thing that can be agreed on, though, is that Brandon and Julia’s dramatic storylines make for some pretty compelling television. Here is the truth about their relationship.
Brandon revealed on 90 Day Fiance that he fell in love with Julia at first sight
Like many 90 Day Fiancé couples, Brandon and Julia met online. Brandon wasn’t looking to fall in love, although his parents had encouraged him to try online dating and even registered him on “a dating app for farmers.” Brandon wasn’t keen on the idea of meeting someone virtually, though, until his best friend introduced him to Julia on a video chat.
Brandon was instantly smitten, saying on 90 Day Fiancé that he “fell in love immediately.” Brandon knew right away that Julia was someone special. “I couldn’t stop thinking about her,” he said. “And my first message to her was, ‘You look like my future wife.'”
In an interview with Access Hollywood, Brandon said that it wasn’t just Julia’s beauty or that she was “exotic” that drew him in on that first video call, but also her personality. “It just enticed me,” he said, adding, “I quickly knew. I had to be with this girl.”
90 Day Fiance's Julia was reluctant to speak to Brandon at first
Brandon may have fallen head over heels for Julia during that first video call, but Julia was a little more hesitant. In fact, she was reluctant to even speak to him at first. As Julia explained to Access Hollywood, she was out at a club in her native Russia when she was approached by Brandon’s friend. At first, Julia thought the friend was hitting on her and said she wasn’t interested. When Brandon’s friend assured her that he already had a girlfriend, Julia kept speaking to him.
After a few minutes of conversation, he realized that Julia might be a good match for Brandon and asked Julia if she’d be willing to join in a video call with him. Julia thought it was a joke at first and was a bit uncomfortable on that initial call as she was not confident in her English skills. “I just like [gave a] stupid smile,” the 90 Day Fiancé star said.
Brandon said that Julia’s grasp of English was stronger than she gave herself credit for, although Julia admitted to needing to look up some translations to speak with him.
90 Day Fiance's Brandon hesitated to pursue a relationship with Julia
While 90 Day Fiancé star Brandon may have fallen in love with Julia at first sight, he wasn’t sure if he should pursue a relationship with her. Long-distance relationships are hard, after all, and are even more complicated when there’s a bit of a language barrier. In an interview with The Progress-Index, Brandon spoke about how he wasn’t sure if starting a relationship with Julia was the right move.
Encouraged by his friend, Brandon decided it couldn’t hurt to get to know Julia better, but he wasn’t sure about how things were going to go with her until he flew to Russia to see her. “I figured… I’m gonna go meet her and the worst-case scenario is I get to spend a week with my friend and have a great time somewhere cool,” he said. “So, I went for it.”
Once he met Julia in person — mere weeks after they began talking — Brandon realized that what they had was the real deal and he asked her to be his girlfriend.
90 Day Fiance's Brandon proposed to Julia after her visa was denied
Once Brandon and Julia were an official couple, things moved very fast. After he visited her in Russia, the new couple planned for Julia to visit him in the United States. Unfortunately, things did not go as smoothly as they had hoped. When Julia applied for a visitor’s visa to the U.S., it was denied. As Brandon explained on 90 Day Fiancé, when Julia told the consulate she wanted to go to America to see her boyfriend, she was told that she had to apply for a K-1 fiancé visa instead.
This, of course, posed a problem since Julia and Brandon were not engaged. Still, Brandon refused to let bureaucracy — and the fact that they had only been together for five months — derail their love story. Instead, Brandon invited Julia on a romantic getaway to Iceland where he asked her to be his wife.
Julia talked Brandon into appearing on 90 Day Fiance
Every couple has their own reasons for appearing on 90 Day Fiancé. In the case of Julia and Brandon, the couple ended up on the show because Julia talked her fiancé into it. Brandon was not on board with the idea at first, so this took some convincing. “I’m not somebody who craves the limelight,” he told The Progress-Index.
Julia, on the other hand, “loves the attention,” said Brandon. As he revealed on 90 Day Fiancé, Julia is a talented performer who has competed in pageants, so it’s easy to see how she would be more comfortable on camera than Brandon, who works as a pest control technician, in addition to helping out on his family’s farm.
While it might have been Julia’s idea for her and Brandon to appear on the show, Brandon does bear some responsibility for their reality TV stardom. He was the one who introduced Julia to the show, after all, telling The Progress-Index that he told her to check it out because they, like the couples on the show, were going through the fiancé visa process. “Next thing I knew… we were doing it,” said Brandon.
90 Day Fiance's Brandon went into debt for Julia
To some people, romance might mean serenading their sweetheart. To others, it could mean buying them flowers. Brandon proved his love for Julia by going into debt. He revealed on 90 Day Fiancé that, while he was in a financially stable place before he met Julia, he racked up a lot of bills while courting her.
Not only did Brandon fly to Russia to see Julia, but he also paid for them to go on trips to France and Iceland. Travel costs weren’t the only thing that wiped out Brandon’s savings — he also had to pay filing fees related to Julia’s visa paperwork. “I spent almost $10,000 in seven months,” he said (via CheatSheet).
Brandon’s money problems were particularly concerning because Julia was unemployed when she flew to the U.S. to be with him and he was worried about not being able to support her.
90 Day Fiance's Brandon claims Julia nearly stabbed him once
Like any couple, 90 Day Fiancé‘s Julia and Brandon disagree sometimes. Most, however, don’t take things as far as Julia nearly did in one particularly tense fight with Brandon. Brandon relayed the story in an Instagram Q&A (via CheatSheet), where he answered a question about the hardest part about being in a relationship with a Russian woman.
According to Brandon, Julia got upset with him due to a big cultural difference: whether or not to wear shoes inside the home. Brandon apparently either didn’t know or forgot that it’s typical for people in Russia to take their shoes off at home. When visiting Julia at her apartment in Russia, Brandon made the mistake of walking in with shoes on. It’s understandable that Julia would be annoyed by this, but she overreacted a bit. In Brandon’s words, Julia “almost f***ing stabbed” him. Yikes.
Brandon seems to be resigned to Julia’s temper. “I call her Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because one minute she can be a total angel and the next minute she could explode,” he said during the Season 8 premiere of 90 Day Fiancé (via The Progress-Index).
Julia struggled to adjust to life on Brandon's family farm on 90 Day Fiance
Cultural differences are not uncommon on 90 Day Fiancé. Julia faced a big culture shock when she moved to the U.S. to be with Brandon, although her difficulties stemmed more from the fact that she’s a city girl and Brandon lives and works on a farm in Virginia with his family. Julia can be seen struggling to adjust to farm life on 90 Day Fiancé, especially after she was expected to help out with the many chores on the farm. After just a few days, Julia was ready to go back to Russia, upset because Brandon had promised to “make [her] happy” in America. “But this is not happen,” she said.
Brandon convinced Julia to give herself more time to adjust to her new life. In an interview with The Progress-Index, Brandon said that Julia’s life was turned “upside down” by her move, but it wasn’t all bad. Brandon said that she also found that “the countryside is definitely beautiful,” even though “it’s not her cup of tea.”
90 Day Fiance's Julia has defended Brandon's family business from critics
While Julia may not be a fan of country living, she’s not about to let anyone else bash Brandon’s family farm. Many viewers of 90 Day Fiancé were shocked to learn that Brandon’s family, in addition to running their farm, Hummingbird Acres, also breeds dogs on their property. The critics denounced Brandon’s family business as a puppy mill, but Julia was not having it.
Julia clapped back at the detractors on her private Instagram account. Julia shared what the dogs’ lives on the farm are like, assuring her followers that they are treated ethically and humanely. She said they “live better than many people” (via Screen Rant).
Per the website for Brandon’s family farm, the family breeds German Shepherds and registers all of their puppies with the American Kennel Club. Before sending their “pre-loved and spoiled” dogs home with their new families, they have them examined by a veterinarian and make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations.
Brandon's parents have caused friction in his relationship with Julia on 90 Day Fiance
One of the biggest challenges that faced Julia after she moved to the U.S. was Brandon’s parents, Betty and Ron. Brandon’s mom proved to be particularly controlling early in the relationship. Since Brandon lives at home, this was something that caused a lot of conflict in his relationship with his future bride, who told Entertainment Tonight that Brandon is “too close” to his parents.
Brandon’s mom even went so far as to call her gynecologist about getting birth control for Julia. She also insisted on Brandon and Julia sleeping in separate rooms before their wedding, something Julia was not happy with. When Brandon tried to get his mom to change her mind, she said that having Julia and Brandon share a room didn’t “feel right.”
Not everyone in Brandon’s family is so conservative, though. In one 90 Day Fiancé episode, Brandon’s grandfather Joe defended Brandon from Betty when she lectured him for giving Julia hickeys on her neck. “I’m 87 years old… I’d still do that to a young girl if I had one,” he said (via ET).
Viewers have compared Brandon and Julia to divorced 90 Day Fiance couple Larissa and Colt
As in love as Brandon and Julia may appear to be on 90 Day Fiancé, not everyone is convinced that their relationship is built to last. The couple have drawn comparisons to another 90 Day Fiancé couple, Larissa Dos Santos Lima and Colton Johnson. Newsweek noted the similarity between the two couples, particularly Larissa’s clash with Colt’s mom, Debbie. Like Brandon and Julia, Larissa and Colt lived with Colt’s mom, and Colt often found himself torn between the women in his life.
As fans of 90 Day Fiancé know, things did not end up working out with Larissa and Colt, whose short-lived relationship ended in 2019, when Colt filed for divorce. The split was a bitter one, and Colt told Entertainment Tonight that he cut off all contact with her following the breakup. “The only thing I want is to be left alone by Larissa,” he said in 2020.
Brandon's family doesn't entirely approve of Julia
When Brandon first told his parents, Betty and Ron, that he was in love with someone in Russia, they weren’t exactly thrilled. “At first, they were against the idea, and in fact, Mom was very against me going and meeting her,” Brandon told The Progress-Index. “She got so worried.”
Brandon’s parents first met Julia on a trip to France, after which Betty said (via CheatSheet) that they “enjoyed” their meeting, but added that she and Ron were still unsure if Julia had Brandon’s “best interests at heart.” Still, Brandon’s parents gave Julia a warm welcome when she arrived in the U.S., going with Brandon to pick her up from the airport and excitedly showing her around the family farm.
While Brandon’s parents truly seemed to like their future daughter-in-law, Brandon’s grandfather still had reservations. “She’s a lovely young lady but a lot of Russian young women like to come to America and they promise marriage, sex, everything that goes with it to attract them, and then later they find themselves in trouble,” Brandon’s grandfather said in a confessional on 90 Day Fiancé (via Entertainment Tonight).
Some 90 Day Fiance fans think Julia can do better than Brandon
While Brandon loves his parents, even he has admitted that his mom is “a little controlling” and even anticipated that her strong personality would lead to conflict with Julia. “My mother can definitely be overbearing,” he said (via CheatSheet). “Which is why I think they’ll kind of butt heads and clash.”
All of the drama with Brandon’s parents has turned many 90 Day Fiancé viewers off of Brandon, who criticize him for not standing up to his family. “Poor girl she’s got a wussy guy. that don’t even stand up for her against his parents,” wrote one fan on Instagram (via Screen Rant). Another told Brandon to “cut the cord,” saying, “I know you love your mom. But damn.”
Fans grew particularly vocal after photos of an attractive man who appears to be Julia’s ex-boyfriend in Russia surfaced, with many saying that he looked like a much better match for the 90 Day Fiancé star.
Brandon wouldn't recommend a 90 Day Fiance type of relationship to just anyone
Relationships are hard enough without the added pressure of being followed around by a camera crew. While being on 90 Day Fiancé might be the adventure of a lifetime, it’s also an experience that is not for everyone. “It definitely throws a spin on something that’s already so different and kind of crazy,” Brandon told The Progress-Index.
Brandon went so far as to warn people not to embark on a similar relationship. He said that, while it might look easy on the show, the process of applying for a fiancé visa is complicated and long and that it very nearly drove him and Julia apart.
While they ended up working things out, Brandon warned that other couples might not make it through such a difficult set of circumstances. “I would honestly not recommend it unless you know that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with,” he said.
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