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The Tragic Real-Life Story And Death Of Alaskan Bush People’s Billy Brown

Billy Brown has made a name for himself on the small screen as the head of the Brown family from ‘Alaskan Bush People.’ The reality? The TV star has actually been battling tragedies throughout his life.

One of the many reality shows that have grabbed plenty of attention throughout the years is none other than ‘Alaskan Bush People.’ The Discovery Channel first aired the show back in 2014, and it has been a major part of the network ever since. The Brown family take center stage as they live out their lives in the, you guessed it, Alaskan bush, but it’s not their love of the wild that’s got people talking. It seems that ‘Alaskan Bush People’ is one of the most talked-about reality shows when it comes to figuring out how much is real – and how much of the drama has been scripted for the cameras.

Billy Brown has found himself at the center of most of the drama on the show as he’s none other than the head of the family. The twist? Billy has been battling tragedies at every turn throughout most of his life. That’s right; the conflict and upset we’ve seen unfold on our screens throughout the years aren’t the only things that Billy has had to endure throughout the years. Sometimes, the cameras really don’t show everything, after all, especially when it comes to the darker side of life for some.

The Alaskan wilderness wasn’t always the place that Billy Brown called home

It can be easy to think that Billy Brown was always out and about in the wild thanks to the impressive number of skills he’s showcased on ‘Alaskan Bush People’ throughout the years. Although people initially tuned it to learn about a family living in the wilderness, it wasn’t long before they stuck around for the main family on the show.

The Alaskan wilderness wasn’t always the place that Billy Brown called home
Source: Discovery

Billy has always been the head of the family, and it seems he has a passion for teaching his family about survival. Amazingly, he wasn’t born into the bush as Billy was part of an upper-middle-class family. That all changed when tragedy struck, and he met Ami all those years later. It was only then that Billy started to learn about living off the land.

Losing his entire family threw Billy Brown’s life into a spin

It might be no surprise that losing his entire family was enough to turn Billy Brown’s life upside down. The star of ‘Alaskan Bush People’ always lived in North Richland Hills, Texas, where he was greeted to a host of luxuries. Items like a ski boat and Camaro were common gifts among the family. That was until one fateful day.

Losing his entire family threw Billy Brown’s life into a spin
Source: Discovery

Billy’s family were all flying on a small aircraft when an accident ended their lives. Many years later, on the show, Billy admitted that his best friend was his sister, and they were part of a “very tight family.” To top it off, Billy’s family had a wealthy net worth before they passed, something that was reportedly swindled away from Billy by the judges and lawyers.

Billy started to learn about the wilderness after losing his family

Grief can have a funny way of dominating our lives. For some, we throw ourselves into a new passion. For others, we cut ourselves off from the rest of the world. Billy Brown? He decided to do a little bit of both. He has opened up about his childhood and teenage years in his memories, ‘One Wave at a Time’ and ‘The Lost Years.’

Billy started to learn about the wilderness after losing his family
Source: Instagram/alaskanbushppl

Here, Billy confessed he was just 17 years old when his family was taken too soon. However, it seems he skips over the part that explains how he went from living in a family home to living on the streets and traveling the US. It appears that he took any job that came his way to cover the necessities for ten years.

Ami was 15 years old when she married 26-year-old Billy Brown

It’s no secret that some celebrities have pretty considerable age gaps. That doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, but the difference between Ami and Billy when they walked down the aisle has raised more than a few eyebrows throughout the years. If Radar Online is correct, then Ami might have been just 15 years old when she married her husband.

Ami was 15 years old when she married 26-year-old Billy Brown
Source: Pinterest

The publication found their marriage certificate and revealed the truth to the rest of the world. That was just the beginning when it came to the rumors. Billy was 26 years old when he asked the teen to wed, and it appears that many people were worried about the 11-year age difference. Not Ami or Billy, though, as they went through with their plans.

Billy Brown has been accused of lying to get Ami to marry him

It might come as no surprise that Ami’s family was less than impressed with the idea of their teenage daughter getting married at 15 years old. Amazingly, they didn’t seem to be bothered by their romance, but more about the concept of Ami completing her time at school before she became a married woman and started a new life.

Billy Brown has been accused of lying to get Ami to marry him
Source: Pinterest

It’s said that Billy first met his wife as he was working as a plumber at the family home before he won Ami over and asked for her hand in marriage. Now, Ami’s family state that he made out as though he had plenty of money and everything Ami could ever dream of. They even state Billy would never take Ami away and ensure she finished her education.

Getting married only worsened the tension between Ami, Billy, and her family

Things got off to a rocky start when Ami and Billy Brown decided to go against her family’s wishes when they tied the knot. That’s right; rather than waiting for her to graduate from high school, it’s alleged she dropped out in a bid to marry Billy as early as possible. That was the tip of the iceberg as the new couple seemingly continued to upset the apple cart.

Getting married only worsened the tension between Ami, Billy, and her family
Source: The Celebs Info

Ami claims that she lived in a filthy house and didn’t have the best childhood, while her family says that she was spoiled and is lying about her previous life. Things got so bad that they didn’t speak for decades. Sadly, the ‘Alaskan Bush People’ star never reconciled with her mom before losing her life in 2018.

Several fans were amazed to hear that Ami was so young when she married

Getting hold of the marriage certificate was just the beginning of the new story between Billy and Ami Brown as people came to terms with the news that there was a lengthy age gap between the pair when they made it down the aisle. Radar Online might have been the first to break the story, but they were far from the last to talk about it all.

Several fans were amazed to hear that Ami was so young when she married
Source: Instagram/alaskanbushppl

Screen Rant reported that things might not have been so questionable as they seem on paper, as Texas previously allowed girls as young as 14 years old to marry if their parents gave their permission. That hasn’t stopped several fans from questioning if things were right between Billy and Ami back at the start of their relationship.

It’s alleged that Ami Brown cut contact with her family due to Billy

Although many of us reach a point in our lives when we want to break away from our family and start a life of our own, that doesn’t mean we always leave everyone behind. Sadly, that might have been the case for Ami Brown when she decided to marry Billy. At least, that’s what members of her family have claimed over the years.

It’s alleged that Ami Brown cut contact with her family due to Billy
Source: Discovery

Les Branson, Ami’s brother, states that Billy told him, “She belongs to me!” when he questioned his new brother-in-law following the wedding. Billy also supposedly added that Ami’s life had nothing to do with them anymore. Les went on to say that things have been pretty strained with his sister ever since as he believes Billy made her fall out of contact with the Bransons.

The head of the Brown family was married before his life with Ami

It can often feel as though we know everything about Billy Brown thanks to his time on ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ but it turns out that could be far from the truth. Several fans have noticed that we know little to nothing about his origins or life before being a part of the show.

The head of the Brown family was married before his life with Ami
Source: Getty Images

It turns out that one of the many secrets from Billy’s past is that he was married before he walked down the aisle with Ami. The woman in question was Brenda, who gave the star two children. Billy lightly touched on the subject of his first marriage in ‘The Lost Years.’ Here, he confessed that in less than a year, “she found she didn’t even like me” and “she never loved me.”

A secret child from Billy Brown’s past appeared on Alaskan Bush People

There have been a host of storylines that have gripped ‘Alaskan Bush People’ over the years. However, one that got plenty of people talking in season five was Billy Brown’s secret daughter, Twila Byars. It seemed that his long-lost daughter had finally managed to find her dad – perhaps appearing on a reality show helped to give it away?

A secret child from Billy Brown’s past appeared on Alaskan Bush People
Source: Instagram/twilabyars

Whatever the case, Twila was allegedly one-half of the daughters that Billy shared with his first wife and wanted to get to know her dad after all these years apart. ‘Alaskan Bush People’ played a huge part in flying Twila to Browntown in the hopes of hosting a reunion. It didn’t take long for people to notice that Billy’s new family appeared to accept Twila faster than anyone expected.

It’s thought that Twila and Billy knew about each other for years

Becoming a part of the Brown family so easily was a little strange for some viewers, given that Twila Byars had supposedly never met any of them before. That all changed when news emerged that it might not have been the first time they all met. This was enough to open up a host of rumors about Twila’s actual relationship with her dad.

It’s thought that Twila and Billy knew about each other for years
Source: Instagram/twilabyars

If the reports in Channel Guide Magazine and Radar Online are true, then the pair had “communicated over the years on occasion.” Yes, it seems that having a long-lost daughter is one of the many things that’s been accused of being fabricated on ‘Alaskan Bush People’ over the years, and it certainly hasn’t helped the show’s reputation.

The land around Browntown never belonged to Billy Brown or the family

It didn’t take long for the cabin and land around the home to get known as Browntown. It became a familiar sight on ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ and Billy Brown proudly confessed that he opened the area. Unfortunately, that might not have been the whole truth. Someone who supposedly had a job as a US Forest Service worker with the Tongass National Forest had plenty to say about it all.

The land around Browntown never belonged to Billy Brown or the family
Source: Radar Online

They state that Billy and the family were merely given a “Special Use Permit” that meant they could use the land on a seven-year lease and enjoy access to the surrounding roads and local dock. However, they never owned the space as it actually belonged to the mayor of Hoonah instead.

Billy Brown once said the government was behind destroying his first cabin

One thing that many people have learned from watching ‘Alaskan Bush People’ all this time is that the family is often caught in a host of drama. One of those times supposedly came when Billy Brown’s first cabin mysteriously burned to the ground. Still, Billy didn’t believe there was any great riddle to solve. Instead, he thought the government was behind it all.

Billy Brown once said the government was behind destroying his first cabin
Source: Discovery

The Discovery Channel took to their site to explain the cabin was “seized and burned to the ground” as it was allegedly “in the wrong location on public land.” If it was on the site, then it must be true, right? So it might have seemed, but not everyone was buying the story that government agents were behind it all.

People are confused about what really happened to the cabin due to conflicting tales

Want to keep people off your back and stop questioning what’s going on? Tell a host of different tales and see if they can figure out the truth. Either Billy Brown is hoping to do just that, or he has found himself caught in a web of lies, and he doesn’t know what he’s said over the years. That’s the case when it comes to what actually happened to the cabin.

People are confused about what really happened to the cabin due to conflicting tales
Source: Pinterest

Radar Online reported that in ‘One Wave at a Time,’ Billy says an accidental fire destroyed the home. However, an interview with Channel Guide Magazine offered a different story, as Billy said he “wasn’t home” when the fire took place. Here, he kept things short and sweet by stating, “That’s all I can say.”

The cabin was allegedly closer to reality than shown in the series

It appeared that the Brown family knew everything there was about living in the bush thanks to Billy and his talents in the wild. While it might have seemed that way in ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ some have accused the show of faking scenes to make it seem like the family was living in the wilderness with nothing around, even though that might not have been the case.

The cabin was allegedly closer to reality than shown in the series
Source: Outsider

In fact, if the reports are true, then the family was never too far away from some creature comforts. It’s said the local highway was just a short drive away, while a local pizza store was within half a mile. The Browns didn’t even have to go far to the local town as it was a mere 10 miles away.

Some people claim the Browns used hotels when working on Alaskan Bush People

Billy Brown often found himself caught up in an accusation or two, especially as he was part of a show that has been questioned time and time again when it comes to whether the scenes are real or entirely fictional. It wasn’t long until locals around the Brown family reported they spotted the stars at the Icy Strait Lodge.

Some people claim the Browns used hotels when working on Alaskan Bush People
Source: Pinterest

The town only has between 700 and 800 residents, meaning everyone knows everyone else’s business. To top it off, the town is only accessible by boat and plane, so it might be no wonder the Browns were spotted checking into the hotel – if that’s the case. If it’s true, then ‘Alaskan Bush People’ might be even faker than many people ever realized.

Filming Alaskan Bush People upset several local residents in the process

There are a host of reasons that people were less than impressed with ‘Alaskan Bush People.’ To start, many didn’t like the way Billy Brown and his family portrayed people living in the area, but Jason Hoke had something else on his list of reasons to get back at the family. Apparently, he was upset with a helicopter flying over his house as it filmed the show.

Filming Alaskan Bush People upset several local residents in the process
Source: Facebook/Alaskan Bush People

Rather than talk to Billy or the crew, it’s said that Jason started to fire fireworks at the aircraft. Things took another turn when ‘Alaskan Bush People’ made out that the family was under attack from an unknown stranger. Sadly, things didn’t end well for Jason, as he was handed a $500 fine for taking the matter into his own hands.

There’s a chance Billy Brown thought up Alaskan Bush People

The Discovery Channel immediately knew they were onto a hit with ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ so much so that the series that was supposed to be a one-season show was suddenly turned into an entire franchise with now 12 seasons under its belt. However, there might have been a little inspiration for the story of a family surviving in the wilderness.

There’s a chance Billy Brown thought up Alaskan Bush People
Source: Discovery

In 2007, Billy released ‘One Wave at a Time’ – a book that might have served as inspiration for the show. It’s believed the head of the family wanted to bring his tale to life but didn’t want to leave it to actors. Instead, he signed his family up for the show and set to work turning his novel into a small screen hit.

Two members of the Brown family were charged with falsifying documents for extra income

Perhaps you’ve found yourself wondering if the Brown family has to follow the law, given they allegedly live out in the Alaskan wilderness? Unfortunately, being away from civilization doesn’t mean they can do as they please, especially when filling out official forms. Sadly, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) landed Billy in hot water.

Two members of the Brown family were charged with falsifying documents for extra income
Source: Facebook/Alaskan Bush People

The annual budget is divided between Alaskan residents and comes from “investment earnings of mineral royalties.” To qualify for the income, residents have to live in the state for a year and plan to live there “indefinitely.” The problem? That apparently wasn’t the case when Billy filled out forms to get his hands on the family’s share and resulted in Joshua and the head of the household getting arrested in 2016.

Billy Brown took thousands of dollars from the PFD before anyone noticed

So what caused Billy and Joshua Brown to land themselves in so much trouble? That was all thanks to the fact the family claimed they had been living in Alaska for decades, even though written proof showed they left the state in October 2009 and returned in August 2012. That would have been fine if they admitted they had relocated.

Billy Brown took thousands of dollars from the PFD before anyone noticed
Source: Discovery

However, it’s said the Browns wrote they never left and continued to collect their PFD funds. Eventually, six out of the nine family members were found guilty, but Joshua and Billy took a plea deal that got everyone else off the hook. That means that officially, they were the two behind taking $20,938 in PFD funds from the state.

The judge wasn’t impressed when Billy’s lawyer attempted to use his age as a reason for the deception

Little did Joshua and Billy Brown know that taking full responsibility for the false forms meant they had to deal with the punishments. They had to start by paying back all the money they had collected in the years they left Alaska. The pair also had to sign forms that meant they could never reaccess the PFD funds.

The judge wasn’t impressed when Billy’s lawyer attempted to use his age as a reason for the deception
Source: Facebook/Alaskan Bush People

That was just the beginning as 40 hours of community service and 30 days in jail – served as house arrest – tied everything off. It’s said that Billy’s lawyer tried to get Billy out of any of the punishments as they claimed his age and health issues should get him a free pass. The judge? They weren’t happy and said Billy wasn’t “the first person” in court “with significant medical problems.”

Billy Brown dealt with several health issues after falling into a coma

Sadly, it seems that Billy Brown dealt with several medical problems throughout his life, including an unknown coma. It’s reported that the doctors never learned what caused him to lose consciousness for eight days, but it left the ‘Alaskan Bush People’ star with swelling on the brain and issues with his kidneys and lungs.

Billy Brown dealt with several health issues after falling into a coma
Source: Instagram/heroofkirrkwell

As if that wasn’t enough, the coma caused Billy to suffer from seizures from 2015. He later opened up about it all during an interview with Radar Online, where he confessed the seizures were a part of his life “since my coma,” and they were starting to last “a lot longer, getting harder.” He even confessed that doctors believed Billy would be “child-like if I did wake up.”

Everyone thought Billy Brown was going to pass after contracting an infection

‘Alaskan Bush People’ has covered plenty of topics throughout its run so far, including the many health issues that Ami and Billy Brown have faced throughout the last few years. Sadly, it seems that even more problems could have taken place away from the cameras, including a significant health scare that almost ended Billy’s life.

Everyone thought Billy Brown was going to pass after contracting an infection
Source: Discovery

Country Living reports that the star was in the hospital after getting diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. Although he was in the best place, Bear later took to social media, where he confessed that Billy was in “really bad shape.” Thankfully, he made it out the other side. However, the others allegedly thought the head of the family was about to lose his life to the illness.

Going against the doctors’ advice could have made things worse for Billy Brown

Doctors quickly learned a lot about Billy Brown as the ‘Alaskan Bush People’ star began to spend more time in the hospital than ever before. Although they never had answers to some of the health issues, such as his unexpected coma, they did have some advice for the star. It’s reported that doctors told Billy he needed to slow down.

Going against the doctors’ advice could have made things worse for Billy Brown
Source: Discovery

However, The U.S. Sun reported that Billy had no interest in listening as he continued “to live on the mountains with his family.” That was all while battling issues with his heart, breathing, and kidneys. All of the ailments started to take a toll on the rest of the family, especially when they learned Billy needed more medical tests in 2019.

Leaving the Alaskan wilderness wasn’t Billy Brown’s choice

People have learned several things about the Brown family throughout the years, including how Billy Brown loved to be outdoors and knew a lot about surviving off the land. Sadly, it appeared the head of the household didn’t have much choice when it came to saying goodbye to the Alaskan wilderness as the family had to move to Washington state.

Leaving the Alaskan wilderness wasn’t Billy Brown’s choice
Source: Discovery

Billy told People magazine that “Alaska beat the crud out of me,” before Ami added they weren’t “spring chickens anymore.” It seemed that life outside was just too much to bear anymore, and Billy had to move closer to hospitals if he stood a chance of beating his various health conditions. Thankfully, the children worked together to build another Browntown for the couple.

Billy Brown spent several years checking in and out of hospitals

Living out in the bush means that Billy Brown knew a lot about survival. However, he was no doctor, and even the best of us need some medical help every now and then. Sadly, it seems Billy required more than most as his health issues continued to deteriorate to the point The Sun stated he was “in and out of hospital” for the last several years.

Billy Brown spent several years checking in and out of hospitals
Source: Discovery

One of the significant issues was a heart condition that affected Billy’s breathing. It’s believed the doctors told the star the mountain’s high altitude wasn’t helping his health, but he always wanted to be outside and live his life the way he had for so many years. It became tough to watch Billy battle his wills and health at the same time.

A seizure caused Billy Brown to pass away at just 68 years old

Although his health became a huge topic of conversation among the Brown family, none of them had prepared themselves for the news that Billy Brown lost his life. Sadly, that all came to a head on February 7, 2021, as it was announced 68-year-old Billy had passed away. It wasn’t long before ‘Alaskan Bush People’ fans wondered what happened.

A seizure caused Billy Brown to pass away at just 68 years old
Source: Getty Images

Bear later announced that Billy “passed away last night after suffering from a seizure.” However, that was about as much as we ever learned as the family wanted to keep the details to themselves. All we know is that Bear confessed everyone would miss “a wonderful and loving dad, granddad and husband” and a “best friend.” Billy’s passing certainly left a huge hole in the family.

Fans reached out to the Brown family to share their support

It didn’t take long for the rest of the world to learn about Billy Brown losing his life, and this led several fans to reach out to the Brown family in a bid to share their love with those he left behind. It seemed that Billy was going to be missed by thousands of people as many wondered what this meant for the rest of the family and the future of ‘Alaskan Bush People.’

Fans reached out to the Brown family to share their support
Source: Facebook/Alaskan Bush People

Photographer Jason Elias was one of the several to talk about Billy, as he wrote the pair first met through The Discovery Channel as Jason was tasked with taking the promotional shots. He noted that Billy was “a kind, strong and caring father, a true patriarch.”

People are uncertain about what will happen to Alaskan Bush People going forward

Billy Brown has been a part of ‘Alaskan Bush People’ since May 2014. Unfortunately, losing his life and being such a significant part of the series means that no one has any idea if the show will return to our screens or if this marks the end. Season 12 was the last to air in August 2020. Although its future is uncertain, ‘Alaskan Bush People’ has plenty of content.

People are uncertain about what will happen to Alaskan Bush People going forward
Source: Facebook/Alaskan Bush People

To start, there is covering how the family has dealt with Billy Brown’s passing. Then, there is all the drama that’s taken place between Raiven and Bear. The couple welcomed a baby in March 2020, but they have split and reconciled with rumors claiming Bear didn’t get to meet his son for months and was allegedly abusive.

Billy Brown was open about how he couldn’t live without Ami by his side

One of the many things we got to see on ‘Alaskan Bush People’ is how Billy and Ami always appeared to be utterly in love with each other. It seems this is one aspect of the show that hasn’t been accused of being scripted throughout the years. Unfortunately, the pair had to cope with a lot through their marriage as they both had several medical issues.

Billy Brown was open about how he couldn’t live without Ami by his side
Source: Instagram

Things got so bad that the Browns moved closer to California, so Ami had access to cancer treatment centers. While getting better was the main focus of the move, Billy also wanted to keep his wife by his side as he admitted to People magazine that “I can’t live without her. I can’t lose her.”

Rumors claim that Billy Brown controlled Ami throughout the show

Being followed by cameras on ‘Alaskan Bush People’ means fans got to see almost every aspect of Ami and Billy Brown’s lives. However, some think this might not have painted the head of the family in the best light, as they claim that he was always controlling Ami throughout the series. We have since learned that Ami’s family wasn’t impressed with their wedding.

Rumors claim that Billy Brown controlled Ami throughout the show
Source: Discovery

Add onto that how they allege Billy took Ami away from her family, and it seems the fans might be onto something. Pop Culture later reported that several accused Ami of being “quiet, dutiful, and subservient” whenever Billy was near. However, she has never confirmed the rumors or given any hints that they could be right about what her marriage was like away from the cameras.

Did Rain and Billy Brown fall out before he lost his life?

Let’s face it; it’s pretty common for families to fall out along the way. After all, they say that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Now, some people believe that might have been the case for Billy Brown and his daughter, Rain, judging by how the youngster reacted online to the news of her dad’s passing.

Did Rain and Billy Brown fall out before he lost his life?
Source: Instagram/heroofkirrkwell

Several of the Brown family, including Bam Bam and Noah, wrote heartfelt posts about how much Billy would be missed and what he meant to them throughout their lives. Rain? Some feel that she didn’t share the same love as her brothers compared to the usual emotion-filled posts we are used to seeing. Of course, it could also be that Rain is merely grieving away from social media.

Billy and Matt Brown reconciled before he passed away in 2021

For years, Matt Brown was a leading face on ‘Alaskan Bush People.’ However, that changed in recent years as it was announced that Ami and Billy’s son was walking away from the series. Many wanted to know what happened behind the scenes, with Matt claiming it was all to do with the control he felt his dad had.

Billy and Matt Brown reconciled before he passed away in 2021
Source: Twitter/AlaskanBushPPL

To top it off, Matt told his fans that a lot of ‘Alaskan Bush People’ had been scripted by the producers, and they had modern luxuries when the cameras weren’t rolling. His time in the limelight has been tainted in recent months as two women accused Matt of inappropriate behavior. While things haven’t always been on his side, Matt says he made up with Billy before losing his life.

Matt Brown accused Billy of causing personal issues in his life

Although Matt appeared to be angry with ‘Alaskan Bush People,’ it wasn’t long before his fans got the feeling that a lot of his hatred was aimed toward his dad. Matt took to social media, where he uploaded a video called ‘The Truth.’ Here, he states that deceiving people on the show led him down a dark path of addiction.

Matt Brown accused Billy of causing personal issues in his life
Source: Instagram/mattbrown511

He claimed that “for a long time,” the secrets were “destroying me,” and turning to drink and illegal substances were his way of dealing with it all. Matt believes that checking into rehab allowed him to realize the issues step from how Billy supposedly controlled every aspect of ‘Alaskan Bush People’ and the family, including how they had to move to the wilderness in the first place.

It’s rumored that Billy Brown kept money earned through Alaskan Bush People from the family

It wasn’t until Billy Brown lost his life that fans got to hear Matt Brown’s side of the story when it came to why he really walked away from ‘Alaskan Bush People.’ He claimed that he was living cold, hungry, and penniless as he is allegedly owed $360,000 from his time on the show – and it wasn’t down to the producers or a battle about wages.

It’s rumored that Billy Brown kept money earned through Alaskan Bush People from the family
Source: Discovery

Matt states that Billy Brown always kept his money away from him and the rest of the family, but no one has been able to prove if this could be true. Instead, many have accused Matt of using his father’s passing to get back into the spotlight after so many months of being quiet on social media.

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