What a difference a year makes.
At the end of Vanderpump Rules‘ season seven premiere on Monday night, Jax Taylor proposed to longtime girlfriend Brittany Cartwright. She, of course, said yes. It was a happy ending for the couple…one viewers definitely did not think was going to happen at the end of the season six premiere, which aired exactly one year ago.
Back in December 2017, fans of the Bravo reality hit watched as Jax, 37, admitted to cheating on Brittany with Faith Stowers, a former SUR employee.
While he initially denied the cheating claim, he eventually came clean.
“This isn’t my first time being caught cheating,” Jax said in a solo interview. “In the past, I’ve gone through months and months of deny, deny, deny, and that didn’t work for me.”
He said he and Brittany had hit a rough patch in their relationship before he was unfaithful with Faith.
“Brittany and I had been fighting for a long time,” he attempted to explain. “There’s such so many things. I didn’t know she [Faith] was going to say anything.”
What followed was a season of highs and lows for the couple, Jax and the rest of the cast, as the male cast members tried to support Jax while the female stars rallied around Brittany, who moved to Los Angeles (and joined the show) after meeting Jax in Las Vegas.
“The very first night he met me he told me wanted me to move to L.A. I, of course, didn’t believe it,” Brittany said on E!’s Daily Pop recently. “Two months later, I moved to L.A. Three and a half years later, we’re getting married and we’ll be together for four years by the time we get married.”
So how did Brittany go from telling Jax to “rot in hell” in season six to saying “yes” to Jax’s marriage proposal in season seven? And how was Jax able to win her back?
“Maybe it was love at first sight or maybe we really are just meant to be,” Brittany toldJustin Sylvester and Morgan Stewart. “That’s how I feel about him, no matter what I just love him, so much I wasn’t going to give up on him.”
Still, destiny or not, it wasn’t an easy journey to happily ever after for the couple, as they endured two break-ups and the devastating loss of a parent during the last year.
And it was the death of Ronald Cauchi, Jax’s beloved dad, that ultimately made Jax realize Brittany was the person he was meant to spend the rest of my life with.
“My father passed away about six months ago, and it was kind of a turning point for me,” he said in the premiere. “I told Brittany, ‘I think I’m going to go in hole for a while…I’m going to drink myself silly.'”
But the Kentucky native didn’t let him do that, with Jax saying, “She really helped me make a huge turn around.”
He added, “That’s when I knew she was the one.”
And Jax’s father actually played an integral role in his proposal, as the gorgeous 3.14-carat ring Jax designed for Brittany with jewelry designer Kyle Chan was actually made possible by Ronald.
“Jax was very adamant on getting Brittany the perfect ring,” Chan told E! News, adding that he had been working with the reality star for several months on the ring.
“It was out of my price range,” he told Tom Sandoval and Tom Schwartz. “When my father passed away, he left some money for my sister and I, and I’m using my money for the right,” he said. “Every time I look at it I can think of my dad, and that’s just another memory for me.”
Chan revealed in the premiere that the stone alone would usually cost “around $70,000,” with Jax immediately saying, “Brittany deserves it.”
Soon after the proposal, Jax honored his late father on what would’ve been his 62nd birthday, writing in an Instagram post, “My only wish is that you could see me and Brittany on our wedding day, and meet your grandchildren, but I know you will be with me in spirit and help guide me the rest of my life.”
Viewers saw the effect of Ronald’s death in the season six reunion, with an emotional Jax crying over the loss and lashing out at Scheana Marie for not reaching out to him after. “He was my best friend,” Jax said. “I talked to him every single day.”
While Jax and Brittany ended the season broken up (with Jax later explaining on Twitter that his father’s battle with cancer played a factor in his decision to end the relationship at the time), Jax revealed she was with him when he received the news of his father’s passing in December 2017, telling Andy Cohen, “Ever since then I can’t imagine myself without her.”
Jax went onto say that Brittany “literally just took over” once he received the phone call from his mother about his father’s death. “She grabbed the phone and said, ‘I got this.’ [She] did the phones, did the planes, made sure my sister, my mom…she was just texting away. She took over. And everything I put this girl through…”
“It’s the uttermost worst thing in my life that’s ever happened, but it’s brought our relationship…it’s the best it’s ever been.”
Brittany added, “It’s almost like we had to go through some of the most horrible things you could ever go through to be where we are now.”
Jax said he felt an immediate shift following the loss of his father, saying he himself now felt more ready for fatherhood and marriage, something he had questioned over the course of the series and on the couples’ spinoff, Jax and Brittany Take Kentucky, “I think my dad kind of took over me…I feel like he’s taken over,” he said to Andy. “He’s like, ‘I’m taking over your body now.'”
It was a bit jarring for fans to see the couple so solid at the reunion given the state of their relationship (or lack thereof) in the finale.
Breaking up with Brittany, Jax told her he had been “unhappy for such a long time,” before clarifying, “This has 150 million percent nothing to do with you. I need to make some changes.”
He continued to tell her, “You deserve to be happy. You deserve to get married. You deserve to have kids. You deserve to have someone treat you like the princess that you are. I am just not that person. I am not good in relationships. You deserve a lot better than me. I just don’t think we can be together anymore.”
Brittany, understandably, did not take this well, considering the summer she had just endured.
“I’m really pissed off. How dare you do this to me? How dare you put me through all this s—t and let me go through all this heartbreak then for you to sit here and act like you’re the one to give it all away,” she said. “After everything I’ve been through? This is bulls—t! This is complete bulls—t.”
She then said in a solo interview, “He’s betrayed me in so many ways. He’s cheated on me. He’s begged for me back. He’s played mind-games on me. I know he’s not changing and he’s always going to be the same Jax Taylor he always has been.”
But then his father passed away and Jax did change and as Brittany said on E!’s Daily Pop, he fought hard to win her back.
“He was very persistent and just did not give up. He just wasn’t going to give up on me. There were some times—sorry to say this Jax—where I’d have 30 missed calls from him,” Brittany revealed. “I knew that I loved him still. I was trying to act like I didn’t. In the end, I’m just so glad where we are right now because we are so much better than we ever have been.”
Of course, many of Brittany’s friends and a lot of Bravo viewers were critical of the Southern belle for choosing to stay with Jax, and she eventually defended herself during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live.
“Because I’m following my heart and it’s my life,” Brittany said. “I’m the one who’s living it and being with him every single night and nobody else out there is, so it’s my decision.”
Even more telling of the change in Jax? Stassi Schroeder‘s reaction to the news that he was proposing, seeing as how Stassi was just one of his former girlfriends that he had cheated on throughout the course of the show’s six-year run.
Stassi, along with the other female cast members, weren’t shy about voicing their opinions on Jax’s behavior last season, constantly encouraging Brittany to leave him.
“If you would have told me the eight months ago, all of us would’ve said, ‘Hello no, you don’t deserve Brittany,'” Stassi told Jax in the premiere. “But all of us have noticed a giant change in you.”
And Sheana told E! News, “After his dad passed away, they’ve been through these life-changing moments together. I do see a different side of him that has come out and I see a lot of growth in him. I see a lot of remorse and I think he’s being the best man he can be for her.”
As for his boss Lisa Vanderpump, who has had her ups and downs with the former SUR bartender?
“I just think she’s a wonderful girl, I reallyo do,” Vanderpump told E! News at the season seven premiere party. “She’s the best thing that’s happened to Jax Taylor.”
She continued, “I think he’s kind of grown up. He had a very sad year…losing his father, and I think when you lose somebody maybe it puts everything in perspective. It changed him.”
It seems like he does because since their engagement, it seems like things have been better than ever for the couple. Even wedding planning has been “easy so far,” Brittany told the Daily Pop co-hosts.
“That’s the best thing about us…we’re best friends, so we like the same exact things. It’s really easy,” Jax agreed.
While they’ve yet to reveal any official details about the wedding, Jax did share the part he’s most looking foerward to with E! News.
While details about the special ceremony are being kept secret, there are more than a few things the groom-to-be is looking forward to.
“Just the look on her face,” Jax shared. “Seeing her in her beautiful wedding dress. “
So after years of bad behavior, cheating scandals and ups and downs at SUR, why was Jax finally able to settle down?
“She’s my best friend. She’s my soul mate,” he said on Daily Pop. “It just clicked. It just was right for me.”
Or you could say Jax finally got it…wright.
Vanderpump Rules airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)