A few years ago, Ryan Lochte was everywhere. In 2013, he even had his own short-lived reality show titled What Would Ryan Lochte Do? Back then, the show filmed him getting ready for the 2016 Olympics, which would later end somewhat awkwardly.
On August 9, 2016, Ryan went ahead and won the men’s gold in the 4×200 freestyle relay. Days later, Ileana Lochte — his mom — spoke to the media and revealed that Ryan and a few others were held up at gunpoint in Rio. The story made several headlines. “I think they’re all shaken up,” Ileana told USA Today. “There were a few of them. They just took their wallets and basically that was it.”
Ryan’s telling of the incident was even more dramatic. “The guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever,'” he told the same publication.
“He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
But it turns out that Ryan wasn’t entirely truthful in is account of the event. On the night of the supposed robbery, he was allegedly committing a crime. Ryan reportedly broke down a bathroom door at a gas station rest stop on the night he said he had a gun pulled on him. His career took a hit.
In the four years that followed, Ryan would go on to have other personal issues. For one, it seems as if he’s no longer talking to Ileana after some mean words were said.
A lot has changed for Ryan since the incident in 2016. For one, he started a family. He and his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, got married around that time and had two children, 3-year-old Caiden and 13-month-old Liv. He somewhat credits his career falling apart for allowing all of this to happen. After the scandal in 2016, he was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for 10 months.
“It definitely stinks. I mean, there’s not much that I can really say, I mean it just sucks,” he told Opelka-Auburn News, in response to his lost sponsorships. To try to create a better image of himself, he’s been working on a new documentary, In Deep With Ryan Lochte. With it, he’s hoping to improve his image again.
“I did it because a lot of people when they hear my name they get a misconception, and I just wanted people to know the real me, and how its been a roller-coaster ride. Especially in the past four years. But I’m in a good place right now, I mean I couldn’t be happier,” he said. However, that happiness is likely in part to his wife and kids. His mom hasn’t been involved in his life for quite some time.
According to People, Ryan spoke about their shaky relationship while being interviewed for In Depth with Graham Bensinger. He mentioned that things were rough even back in 2011, when his mom officially separated from his dad, Steven Lochte. During everything that happened, Ryan admitted he was on his mom’s side and in her court.
But the relationship reportedly soured right as Ryan told Ileana that she was going to be a grandmother. “When it happened, it was — we were all on my mom’s side,” he said. “But then later on in life, when I told her that she was going to be a grandma, and I’m having a kid she said some very, very hurtful things that kind of ended our relationship, me and her.”
Ryan didn’t go into details about what she said. All he revealed was that it really hurt his family. “She just said some things to me and my wife, but I mean, I can get over it, but I just want an apology from her,” he stated. “And she said that she’ll never apologize.” It’s possible that Ileana wasn’t a fan of Ryan’s wife. Or, maybe she just had some trouble letting go. But, it’s tough to speculate such a huge betrayal in Ryan’s eyes.
“She has nothing to say sorry for,” he continued. “And from there on, it’s — I haven’t spoken to her in years.” While Ryan may be upset over what happened, he said that he’s not dwelling too much over Ileana’s cruel words. “I’m happy right now with my family,” he said. “My job is to protect my family. And I will do anything, no matter what, to protect my family.”
The rift with his mom also reportedly brought him closer to his father. From what it seems, Ryan was quick to shut him out while the divorce was happening. His father has since remarried — and according to Ryan, he chose well. “How she treats me, my family, my dad. She’s the best,” Ryan said of his stepmom.
He’s also still considering having another child or two. “We talked about another child. We always go back and forth about it,” he said. “This is where [wife Kayla’s] like, ‘If we have a third one, we can’t have an odd number. So you have to have four,'” explained Lochte. “I’m like, ‘All right, I guess so. You’re the mom.'”
So, who is Kayla Rae Reid? She’s a former Playboy model who was reportedly by his side every step of the way in 2016. They were engaged within 10 months of meeting. Ryan admits that at the time, his parents and loved ones felt like it may have been too soon to make the commitment, which is interesting given his current relationship with his mom.
“My family says, ‘Don’t you think it’s a little too soon?’ I’m like, ‘Can you put a time on love? Can you?’ When I realized this was ‘the one’ was when she stuck behind me through this,” he told USA Today. Even though he was suspended and ridiculed, Ryan felt like her support was legitimate.
“She still loves me and she’s still right there with me,” he continued. The two reportedly met at a nightclub in Hollywood called Bootsy Bellows. The two were both in the VIP section. They reportedly clasped hands as they first saw each other, but friends pulled them away. Still, he felt like they had a connection from that moment on, and went to find her on Instagram.
“I was just like in awe when I saw you,” Ryan said he wrote to her through private message. “I didn’t want to let go.” Three days later, they met up again and started their romance. “From the very first time I met her, everything has like clicked,” he noted. “That’s why I know I can propose to her because everything that’s happened and she’s been keeping me so positive. She doesn’t care about my fame. She doesn’t care about anything.”
It’s good to know that Ryan is happy and has settled down. In the future, perhaps his mom will reach out once again when she realizes her son’s happiness. No matter what, it seems as if the Olympian is content with his life — and is fully ready to put the scandal of 2016 behind him for good.