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Former Below Deck Mediterranean bosun João Franco shared that he and fiancé Michelle Dicu broke off their engagement. Franco cited distance due to Covid-19 restrictions, plus differing career paths prompted the couple to call it quits.

Franco has been living with family in Zimbabwe, while Dicu remained in the U.S. When borders closed due to Covid, Franco and Dicu were separated for several months. He made the best of living near family and continued to study and earn new yachting certifications, but it became clear that he and Dicu likely would not be reunited any time soon. He shared loving words about the relationship on Instagram, plus he chatted with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about how the couple shared a love of adventure.

João Franco from Below Deck Mediterranean laughs at BravoCon
João Franco from Below Deck Mediterranean laughs at BravoCon |Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

João Franco from ‘Below Deck Med’ shares why he is no longer engaged

Franco posted a sunny selfie on Instagram and addressed the engagement. “As I am sure most of you have gathered, I am no longer engaged,” he wrote. “I haven’t been for a long time and also haven’t felt the need to share it until I was ready. Firstly, I absolutely loved the bombshell of a lady I was with. She was nothing short of extraordinary and so crazy beautiful!!! She truly deserves the world.”

He then revealed what ultimately came between the couple. “Through the hardships of COVID, career paths and distance we didn’t make it through,” Franco continued. “I truly wish we could have and will never regret nor forget the love we had for each other. It is sad to be strangers after being so close but, it is what it is, isn’t it happy is she and happy am I. That’s all that matters.” Franco and Dicu were last together in January and rang in 2021 together. “#2020 has been a ride… but all is well that ends well #happynewyear to everyone!!” he wrote.

Friends and fans responded, including close friend and former cast member Colin Macy-O’Toole. “Stay positive bud!” he wrote. Paget Berry from Below Deck Sailing Yacht also recently ended his engagement to Ciara Duggan. He shared some words of support. “Stay strong mate, everything happens for a reason! Would be great to catch up at some point if our boats cross paths.” 

How did João Franco and Michelle Dicu meet?

The couple met when Franco visited a dentist to have his teeth bleached, Bravo’s The Daily Dish reports. Dicu was the dental hygienist and the couple had a connection. Franco said about the relationship, “It’s been the easiest and most rewarding relationship I’ve been in so far. I’ve never been with someone so secure, in a sense. And she’s very independent, which is fantastic.”

Franco told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in 2019 that one reason he was drawn to Dicu because she shared his passion for adventure. When he wanted to embark upon a shark dive, Dicu was happily by his side. “I sort of just asked if she might consider doing the shark dive with me,” he said about Dicu. “She said ‘why not?’ which was amazing.”

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Dicu was also excited to do the shark dive with Franco. “I thought about it and didn’t see why not,” she said. “Of course I didn’t tell my parents beforehand,” she added laughing.