Deadliest Catch will be short one regular cast member this season. Captain Elliott Neese has been a big part of the series whether fans like or hate him. Nonetheless, he's a polarizing figure on the show who interests viewers.
Season 11 for Elliott was fraught with his addiction issues before millions of viewers as they watched him unravel and clash with a member of his crew.
In an exclusive interview with Elliott Neese of Deadliest Catch, the captain of F/V Saga gives an update on the progress he's made since rehab and why he won't be on Season 12 of the hit Discovery program.
While Season 11 of Deadliest Catch was airing, Elliott entered rehab at Passages, a treatment center in Malibu. He completed 60 days there in May 2015. Since then, he's been sober and doing well.
Elliott says he's doing great since his treatment at Passages, but admits he still deals with some rough moments.
"I'm doing great. I have my good days and my bad days, you know. But, it's going great," Neese said.
While he was in Malibu, Elliott met a beautiful young woman named Erika Fridenbergs. If you follow him on social media, chances are you've seen photos of the couple cozy together. When asked about his love life, Elliott is clearly proud to show off the new woman in his life.
"You mean the hot blonde? Oh, yeah... things are great. I'm really happy," Elliott raved. "We live in Chicago and have plans to travel to Panama to fish and surf... then go to Fiji."
The two have spent a lot of time together, traveling to places like Mexico, and now the Deadliest Catch star is living in Chicago with Erika. Elliott shared that they have plans to move to Hawaii once he's finished with the reality show.
"I live in Chicago with my girlfriend and we have some plans to move to Hawaii when all of this is done," Elliott shared.
What about appearing on Season 12 of Deadliest Catch? Elliott Neese reveals that he won't be on the show except for a few times. After recovering from his substance abuse issues, he's taking some much-needed time to focus on himself.
"I won't be on this season because of what I had to do to get better," Elliott explained. "I will be on a time or two, but not all season. I'm going to talk to Discovery about getting on season 13, but I want them to tell my side of the story."
Elliott says Saga will have a different captain commanding it in Season 12.
"I have my boat out and a crew will be on it. I won't be on it and neither will my dad," Elliott said. "He basically was on there to hang out with me. A TV captain will be on the show -- Jake Anderson. The real captain won't be seen on the show."
Elliott's father, Mike Neese, has been on the Saga during the last few seasons of Deadliest Catch. The father-son duo have shared a special bond, but right now, their relationship is a bit on the strained side after last season.
"We aren't seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of things," the captain said, adding, "It's kind of a sad deal. He was disappointed in me after last year and how I handled things. We're working on it, though."
On a good note, Elliott explains that he talks to his kids practically every day.
"I keep in touch with my kids every day," he said. "I talk to them a lot. Things are good there."
Neese is a self-described "villain" on the series of Deadliest Catch. He told Boating Magazine in January 2014 that he doesn't mince words, and, on-camera, this may not always rub viewers the right way.
"I tell it straight. I don't appease the camera, and maybe that doesn't always come off right," Neese said. "But remember, reality TV isn't real. It's entertainment, that's it."
Will you miss seeing Elliott Neese as a regular on the show this season?
Deadliest Catch Season 12 premieres on Tuesday, March 29 at 9 p.m., ET/PT on the Discovery Channel. For more details on what's ahead for the show, read the preview here on the Inquisitr.
[Image via Capt. Elliott Neese/Facebook]