Storage Wars star Brandi Passante is opening up about the special meaning behind one of her tattoos. The A&E alum, who starred on the beloved series until 2018, showed off her hand tattoo — the word "free" inked onto her finger alongside a small black bird — on social media earlier in October, revealing in an emotional message to fans that the tattoo is not a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," but rather a testimony to her strength and her escape from a domestic violence situation.
Sharing an image of the tattoo on Instagram, Passante admitted that "everyone assumes, this means that I am a huge, 'Lynyard Skynyard' (sic) fan." However, while the Storage Wars alum said she does live Skynyrd's "Free Bird," she revealed her tattoo holds much more significance, as "it means that somehow, by the grace of god, I managed to escape a very difficult situation, that so many people fall victim to." Passante went on to share that she is "eternally grateful, for the life and freedom, without fear that I get to live now" and "also grateful for the empathy and grace, that I am able to give others as a result of the things, that I have endured!" She ended the post by including the hashtags for "domestic violence awareness month" and "free as a bird."
Although Passante did not reveal any further details regarding the domestic violence situation she alluded to, the post came amid her highly publicized split from Jarrod Schulz, whom she starred alongside on both Storage Wars and the 2014 spinoff, Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job. The former couple confirmed in April that they quietly split more than two years ago, and things took a dark turn in May when Schulz was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence battery for an alleged incident involving Passante.
According to reports, the charges stemmed from an April 30 incident at a bar in Lake Forest, Orange County, where Passante was said to have been hanging out with friends when Schulz showed up. The two got into a "heated exchange," and after Passante demanded her ex leave, Schulz reportedly refused and pushed her twice and yelled at her and her friends.
Following the incident, sources claimed A&E "immediately launched a probe." The investigation was called active and ongoing, and it was expected that Schulz would not be involved with filming for Storage Wars until the results from the investigation returned. In June, Schulz denied the incident, with his attorney, Benjamin Arsenian, telling TMZ that he wanted the case dismissed. The outlet added that Schulz had no plans to take any plea deal unless it resulted in a complete dismissal of the case.