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Red Flags In Frank And Mike's Relationship On American Pickers

In July of 2021, Entertainment Weekly reported that Frank Fritz, one of the two main stars of the hit History Channel reality show "American Pickers" would not be returning to the series. This sadly only confirmed what many fans of the long-running series had feared. First airing in January of 2010, "American Pickers" follows Mike Wolfe and (until his departure) Fritz as they search for items in people's collections to buy. They would then take it back to their Iowa store Antique Archaeology to resell.

In addition, the show provided interesting context behind the items that Wolfe and Fritz would find. So, as far as reality shows go, "Pickers" did aim to educate its audience on rare pieces of Americana and how it connected to history. The formula proved to be a successful one, and the show has been going strong for over 20 years. One of the main draws was, of course, the evident chemistry between Wolfe and Fritz. In January of 2022, the 23rd season kicked off with Wolfe's brother Robbie taking Fritz's spot. Though this was a shock, there seem to have been many red flags leading up to Fritz's replacement.

Fritz suffered a back injury and Wolfe allegedly didn't ask about him

Fans of Frank Fritz were shocked to learn that the former "American Pickers" star has been battling Crohn's disease, which he revealed in an interview with The Sun.  This is not the first health setback for Fritz, as a previous back surgery also kept him from appearing on the show.

This sudden injury would, unfortunately, lead to a major red flag in the relationship between Wolfe and Fritz. Fritz revealed that during this recovery period, Wolfe, who had known Fritz for decades, seemed aloof. 

Speaking to U.K. publication The Sun, Fritz opened up about his hurt feelings. "I haven't talked to Mike in two years," he alleged. "He knew my back was messed up, but he didn't call me up and ask how I was doing. That's just how it is." 

For fans of "American Pickers," this was both alarming and almost unbelievable as the pair seemed to be the best of friends throughout the series.

Fritz's and Wolfe's egos supposedly clashed

Even outside of Frank Fritz's claim that Mike Wolfe had been coldly aloof with him during his back surgery, the beloved reality star has also been vocal about a key reason for the pair's rift. A simple clashing of egos seems to be the final nail in the coffin in terms of their friendship, which spanned 40 years.

The exact reasons are sketchy, but in an interview with The Sun, Fritz seems to imply that Wolfe had sidelined him, saying, "The show is tilted towards him 1,000 percent. I can't even bend that far down to show you how much." He went on to clarify that he was fine with his role in the show. "That's fine. It's like you've got Aerosmith and there's Steven Tyler and he's the front man," Fritz added.

The former "American Pickers" star also implied that between him and Wolfe, he was the more down-to-earth individual. "I'm more of the common man guy, I haven't found a $100,000 vase or any Michelangelo stuff. I've never really had a big, big score like that," he elaborated.

A growing divide between Wolfe and Fritz

On July 21, 2021, Mike Wolfe took to his Instagram to comment on the rumors regarding his recent fallout with Frank Fritz. In the closing line, Wolfe wrote, "I will miss Frank, just like all of you, and I pray for the very best and all good things for him on the next part of his journey." The Sun reached out to Fritz to comment on Wolfe's message in an interview about a month later.

Not mincing words, Fritz said that Wolfe's statement "was bulls***" and may have been ghostwritten for him. Fans were not ready for the major red flag the former "American Pickers" star revealed. Fritz stated that, during his tenure on the show, Wolfe was cold towards his supposed friend, saying, "I don't believe in ten years he's said five nice things to me, you know. Unless he was cutting somebody else down and we were both laughing." 

More shocking is how the latter implied that Wolfe could be a bully behind the scenes. Either way, it's a major red flag when you're allegedly not getting love and support from someone you work that closely with.