The most recent episodes have caused quite a stir among fans and on social media as it seems Ben and Mahogany’s relationship might have more than just language barriers to overcome. Both Ben and Mahogany’s families, as well as fans, had already expressed concern over the couple’s vast age difference.
With Ben being 52 and Mahogany being 24(only 2 years older than Ben’s oldest child) it caused many to wonder if Ben was in the relationship for the right reasons. Some fans even went so far as to accuse Ben of being a “predator,” and when Mahogany’s parents let it slip that she was actually 22, not 24, as she had previously told Ben, things got even more complicated for the couple, and for fans. During the show, Ben expressed that he was certain that she had told him her age was 23, and he had even wished her a happy 24th birthday without being corrected. Ben had seemed initially upset about the indiscretion, but in an exclusive interview with ET, he shockingly reveals that he feels she did the right thing.
Ben says that the lie was something Mahogany did out of an abundance of caution and that he would give his own daughter the same advice; that when communicating with someone online, to skew details of your age, location, etc. just to be on the safe side. That is certainly a 180 from Ben’s initial feelings of betrayal expressed on the show.
Ben also said that her age discrepancy was a “one-time lie” and not one she kept repeating, so he did not feel it was an ongoing attempt to deceive him. He also responded to accusations of being a “predator” for dating someone his child’s age by expressing that Mahogany was a completely separate adult in his mind and that their similarities far outweighed their differences in age, and that Mahogany is “mature and wise and intelligent” so the age difference has not really bothered him.
But while finding out Mahogany’s true age was certainly a shock, it wasn’t the only surprise of Ben’s trip to Mahogany’s apartment. Ben revealed that while chatting online, Mahogany had expressed she lived with her parents, but when he went to visit her at what she claimed to be her home, it was a condo where she lived alone. A condo, that it was quite apparent did not belong to her. With no pictures in it, bunk beds in one of the rooms, and tourist brochures scattered throughout, it was clear the condo was some sort of rental or Air BnB situation.
Fans were shocked that Mahogany would try to pass off this clearly rented condo as her place of residence, as was Ben who cut the visit with Mahogany’s parents short to return to his hotel to think things over. With all these discrepancies, it’s no wonder this has been called one of the most scandalous seasons ever!
But once again, in his interview with ET, he revealed that after follow-up conversations with Mahogany, he got more information on the situation and did not feel she was being deceptive, just that she had not initially provided enough information. He explained that in San Bartolo, Peru, where Mahogany lives, they were off-season, so no tourists were coming and the rentals would become available for extended leases, so many locals would rent them like apartments during the offseason. Ben continued that that was what Mahogany had done it just had not initially been explained to him, causing the disconnect in communication.
So that just leaves the little matter of the huge discrepancy between Mahogany’s online pictures and her real-life appearance. Fans were shocked when the girl who met with Ben in the restaurant looked only vaguely like her heavily photoshopped pictures. But once again, in his interview, Ben explains that he wasn’t too concerned by the discrepancy and that he had realized that Mahogany’s Instagram, fell under the category of “art.” He explained people used the social media platform for two reasons, to post about their daily lives, or to showcase artistic photos, and he felt Mahogany fell under the latter. He felt she took artistic pictures of herself and utilized the photoshop tool to create an image for her Instagram so he was not very surprised when she did not look exactly like her online photos.
While it seems Ben has an explanation for all the miscommunications between him and Mahogany, what is still not clear to fans is if the two will be able to overcome all these obstacles. Interestingly enough, both Ben and Mahogany took down their online Instagram pages this week with no explanation, although it most likely is in response to heavy backlash from the two’s ever-changing show storyline and ongoing concern over the couple’s vast age difference. With no updated photos it is difficult to tell if the couple has been able to overcome all the road bumps of their rocky relationship, so it looks like we will just have to wait until the suspenseful season finale to find out for sure.