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Fredrik Eklund didn’t necessarily make any friends when he jumped Million Dollar Listing cities, moving from New York to Los Angeles for the OG show in the franchise’s 13th season.
“I wouldn’t say anyone was friendly at the time, no,” Fredrik confesses to ET over video chat, Zooming in from his home in Bel Air. “But in the Bravo universe, I think that’s how it should be. When you’re new, you got to pay your dues, which I certainly did this season and you have to, you know, you’ve got to be in the hot seats.”
Fredrik teases he gets into it with nearly everyone on the West Coast cast, which includes Josh Altman, British business partners James Harris and David Parnes, Tracy Tutor and Josh Flagg.
“Tracy and I specifically — I don’t want to give away too much — but we have a very, very large fight, like major,” he teases. “But we love each other so much. I really can say that. And we are also very close, and we work it out, and I have no idea how that’s going to be portrayed or received by the audience … I have no idea, but it was a lot of tears on both of us. And it was very, very deep. And I’m excited to see that.”
“There’s a major fight between me and the Brits — like major,” he goes on. “There’s a major, major huge fight with the Altmans, like, that goes on multiple episodes. The only one I didn’t fight with was Flagg. And I love him, like how can you fight with Flagg? I mean, really.”
Well, the internet says otherwise. Just days after Fredrik spoke with ET, he found himself in the hot waters of Instagram, accused by his co-stars — especially Josh Flagg — of stealing Flagg’s thunder when it came to announcing he was moving brokerages to Douglas Elliman, which just so happens to be the banner Fredrik (as well as Josh Altman and Tracy) works under.
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Fredrik seems to believe any friction with his new castmates is born out of the sort of hazing that comes along whenever a newbie joins an established ensemble in the world of reality TV.
“I’m … learning the new cast,” Fredrik tells ET. “Like, I know them, but I’ve never filmed with them — with this intensity — to this upcoming season, and I’ve never fought with them with this intensity and also made up like this.”
Fredrik popped in for a few cameos on season 12 of MDLLA, when he first began living and working bicoastal, after relocating his family — husband Derek Kaplan and their 3-year-old twins, Milla and Fredrik, Jr. (aka “Freddie”) — out to Los Angeles.
“I’m so incredibly grateful for having expanded to California,” Fredrik notes. “It was the best decision I made personally, like, Derek and the kids, and I’m much calmer. I’m sober. There’s so many life changes that have been amazing by living in California — the weather, as well — but more importantly, maybe, the business. Like, we’ve almost doubled our business because we came here, and we’ve had an incredible year and an incredible summer — like, crazy numbers here in California — and that couldn’t happen if I wasn’t here.”
That only plays into a theme that popped up on season 12, though, with the L.A. agents feeling territorial over their home turf.
“It was very hard for me to come in, pop in, get a lot of resistance from the current cast,” he explains, “what I’ve seen from Twitter, maybe, some of the current audience back then — and trying to, I don’t know what I was trying to do. I guess I just was expanding. And I was trying to show people, like I am still today, that I’m one of the top agents here and I’m really here to stay and I’m working really hard and it was just, it was hard. So this season, what I’m trying to say is, it feels much more rewarding. You know, I have my interviews and I can explain myself and I have my family and my emotions and my crazy antics.”
“I think that they, collectively, have had a really good thing going,” he remarks of the MDLLA cast. “The show has been incredibly successful and very highly rated and appreciated, and I was not needed for the show to be successful or not. And I acknowledged that. … They didn’t need me on this show, right? So I hope, I pray, that I add something to what’s already successful. And I am the underdog and I need to bring something to the table without taking away from the table.”
Fredrik’s biggest adversary in the Golden State is Altman, whom he went head to head with in season 12 over allegations of stealing business. Fredrik admits he surprised himself when dealing with Altman in season 13, as he stood up and fought back instead of “taking” whatever Altman dealt out.
“In previous years, maybe, I would have, like, backed off and, like, made up and cried and be nice and, like, let’s hug it out,” he shares. “I’m not going to do that anymore, and I don’t need to anymore. I’m like, I’m not going to feel less because somebody says I’m less.”
“I admire his business here in Los Angeles,” he adds. “He’s one of the top people here in L.A. and he’s built something incredible. But, it’s not easy to deal with him, for me coming in as new. And like he says to me, it’s money off the table for him when I come in here. So he’s very territorial and competitive.”
It’s a similar dynamic to the one Fredrik has on Million Dollar Listing New York with his longtime rival on that show, Ryan Serhant. But Fredrik says, he’d take sparring with Serhant over Altman any day.
“It’s going to get really intense this season. Really, really intense,” he promises. “I think Ryan is harmless, because I think Ryan… Ryan’s Ryan.”
“I’m very grateful to Ryan, specifically, because although we fight and we disagree, we do have a respect and love for one another,” he continues. “We are like two planets orbiting in the same solar system, and we have made each other successful — that’s a fact. If it wasn’t for Ryan, I wouldn’t be this successful. The same for him. You know, we are competitive. Altman is another beast in its entirety.”
Bravo superfans took notice earlier this year when Ryan landed the listing for The Real Housewives of New York City alum Bethenny Frankel’s Manhattan apartment, with speculation running rampant in fan forums over what kind of bad blood was boiling between Bethenny and Fredrik. The two formerly worked together, going into business on development projects on the short-lived show Bethenny & Fredrik.
“Well, did he sell it?” Fredrik asks, leaning into his webcam while applying lip balm. “This is my way of giving shade, putting Chapstick on and pulling my glasses down. I don’t know what to say. You know, I’m just so happy to be here with you calling in from Bel Air and talking about other things.”
When pressed, Fredrik says there’s really no great story behind his and Bethenny’s falling out. Their relationship just came to a natural end when their show ended.
“I will always admire her,” he says. “I feel like she’s — well, she wouldn’t agree. She said to me at the end, we’re not friends because we don’t hang out, so I guess we’re not friends. I just feel like it was something that we tried — god, we tried! — not only with the show, but this business venture, which was very real. And we were going to invest in all these apartments together, renovate them, and then it went sour. It went really sour and it was very exhausting. And I just said, I don’t want to do it again.”
“It doesn’t take away how much fun we had,” Fredrik continues. “I’ve never, ever had more fun with anybody in my life than her. And she knows that, and she would probably agree. I mean, we were on the floor crying, laughing. We are so– I mean, she called me, like, a pregnant woman, which is totally true, because I always need to pee, I’m always hungry, I’m so clumsy. And you know, she is crazy smart and funny, but would I want her listing? No. Ryan can have it.”
Fredrik is focused on the future rather than the past, settling into life and business in Los Angeles. He has no plans to give up his New York endeavors, though, with hopes to stay on both Million Dollar Listing shows — which would mark a Bravo first: a full-time star of one city-based series regularly appearing on two arms of the franchise.
“I’m just really proud that we got through New York with the pandemic and that it was a great season,” he says. ‘I’m really proud of L.A. I always say, I mean, I haven’t watched any of the L.A. [season], but that is a kick-ass season coming up. … [Of] all the seasons I’ve done, I would arguably say it’s my best — or it is the best season.”
Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles kicks off season 13 with a 90-minute supersized premiere on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.
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