Leah Shafer discussed the fun and challenges that come with dating someone who is famous in an exclusive 2020 interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Shafer has dated Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean for nearly two years and candidly spoke about life with Yawn.
Captain Sandy from ‘Below Deck Mediterranean’ is recognized almost everywhere
Shafer said going just about anywhere without being recognized is tough. “We can be out in public and all of a sudden someone screams, ‘Oh my God, Captain Sandy!’ At that moment I don’t exist any longer and I’m just some girl standing there,” Shafer laughed.
“I laugh and joke that I am the personal photographer. I offer to take photos because I want to support Sandy and her fan base and I believe in humility,” she added. “Most fans are very respectful and say hello to me, or Sandy will introduce me.”
‘Below Deck Med’ fans can sometimes get a little too excited
But sometimes the couple is having a private moment. “There are times when Sandy I are eating and [the fans] just plop down at our table uninvited,” Shafer remarked. “That bothers me. It’s called etiquette. Especially if it’s private family time with my daughter.”
“And it really bothers me when the fans are drunk and hang on Sandy. Can you imagine if some dudes or women came and sat at my table and starting hanging on me? It’s just disrespectful to any couple.”
Social media in the public eye can also be dicey
Shafer acknowledged that constantly being scrutinized is also an enormous challenge. “Sandy and I are both very free spirits and neither one of us likes to be controlled or told what to do,” she laughed. “So when we are passionate about something and we post about it and are then told we aren’t able to really discuss our views. That can be frustrating. I feel like we are constantly apologizing for being ourselves.”
“I would say the hard part is constantly watching every move you make so you don’t offend someone,” she admitted. “I’m used to that anyway being a gospel artist. I was constantly judged and watched. I couldn’t even post [photos of] myself in a bathing suit or with an alcoholic beverage in my hand. Sandy and I live a very clean life so what you see is what you get.”
Fame meant sacrifice for Below Deck Med’s Captain Sandy and Leah Shafer
Shafer also shared in a separate interview that she faced a health scare just as Yawn had to leave to film Below Deck Mediterranean. In 2019, Shafer was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), which are pre-cancerous cysts. “Not full-blown cancer,” she shared. “Nothing has spread. [But] if I don’t remove it could end up being aggressive since I have the gene. No chemo for me!”
She faced surgery without Yawn by her side. “I couldn’t sleep, anxious about it all and I will miss Sandy for seven weeks,” Shafer said. “She’s my strength in so many ways and asks questions, and is so protective of me, it will be hard not having her, yet this is an amazing faith-building process. Sandy and I keep God the center always.” Shafer had a successful surgery and is cancer-free.