The first episode of the Queer Eye revival is also one of the series’ most tear-inducing thanks to the person getting the makeover by the Fab 5: Tom Jackson.
The man who kept telling Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness that “you can’t fix ugly” and made margaritas with Mountain Dew took everyone by surprise — the guys, the audience, even himself. By the end of the episode (***SPOILER ALERT***), Tom — who was unkempt, lacking self-confidence and self-love, and stuck in a major rut when we meet him — was a new man, thanks to his new outlook and approach, due in part to his ex-wife Abby, whom he was still in love with, joining him at a car show.
But it almost didn’t happen. Had Porowski not picked up on one little comment by Tom — and subsequently not letting him change the subject — the episode, and Tom’s life, could’ve taken a very different path.
“Antoni shifted that episode,” says Brown, revealing they’ve “never talked about” this publicly. Brown, for his part as the show’s culture expert, had already helped Tom revamp his online dating profile, new photo included, and taken him “to meet different women to learn how to talk to him, to build his confidence,” in a speed dating-like scenario. “Antoni catching that one [comment where Tom mentions Abby] literally cut my scene out, which I’m happy about…. All of a sudden we are on a bench and I’m like, ‘Call your ex-wife!’ [to invite her to the car show].”
“We all have those discoveries in one episode or another,” Porowski humbly interjects.
This discovery was, without question, a life-changing one. Tom and Abby continued to work on their relationship following filming in Spring 2017. After Queer Eye debuted in February, fans were hungry for more on Tom, who was sharing more of his life on social media. In late February he tweeted that they were “no longer together.” Less than two weeks later, though, he was telling a different story.
“So happy to say that Abby and I are reunited,” he shared in early March. “We’ve loved each other for many years and want to spend the rest of our lives together!!!!!!!!”
Less than a week after that, Tom delivered more good news: They were engaged.
“That story had such waves, a roller coaster of they’re together, they’re not, and are they back together, they’re engaged,” Porowski says at Queer Eye‘s EW cover shoot, just days before Tom shared a new peak in that story: He and Abby tied the knot — again — eloping in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.