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Why ‘Below Deck’ Star Left The Show – Hollywood Life

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Image Credit: Laurent Bassett/Bravo

  • Captain Lee Rosbach starred on Bravo’s Below Deck for ten seasons between 2013 and 2023.
  • He will not be returning for the 11th season, which is expected to premiere in the fall of 2023.
  • Captain Lee had back surgery at the end of 2021 and has suffered from nerve issues.

Below Deck will not be the same when it returns for its 11th season later this year. That’s because Captain Lee Rosbach will no longer be part of the cast, despite leading the helm for the show’s ten previous seasons. “I did not quit. I did not retire,” Captain Lee told The Sun Sentinel in April 2023. “I was just not invited back.”

Ever since taking a bad fall in 2020, Captain Lee has suffered from mobility issues, but said that his doctor has only been able to diagnose him with a “nerve issue.” The 73-year-old even had to take a brief hiatus from season 10 of Below Deck as he struggled with his condition. Unfortunately, the uncertainty meant a tough decision had to be made, and Captain Lee will be replaced by Below Deck Adventure star Captain Kerry Titheradge for season 11, according to Entertainment Tonight.

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Captain Lee for ‘Below Deck.’ (Laurent Bassett/Bravo)

Learn more about Captain Lee’s injury, condition and future with Below Deck here.

How Did Captain Lee Injure Himself?

Season 8 of Below Deck premiered in the fall of 2020 and kicked off with Captain Lee in the hospital. The very morning that Captain Lee and his crew were supposed to embark on the charter season, he fell in the shower and hurt his ribs. “I don’t know why they gave me this little postage stamp of a bathmat to step onto when I get out of the shower,” he told The Daily Dish. “And the door doesn’t open out, it opens in. So you have to kind of stand off to the side in order to get out of the shower, and then the sink’s right there on your right. I should’ve put a towel down or something because it’s marble floors and marble on water gets really slippery. I just slipped and fell into the sink.”

Although the Captain was able to make it to his bunk, he realized that he needed to be checked out by a doctor. “When I tried to get back up again, I thought, ‘Okay, this is worse than I figured,’” he admitted. The medical examination showed that Captain Lee didn’t break any bones or damage any organs. However, he was left with a bruise “about the size of a football,” he said.

Captain Lee was able to return to work for the first charter, but admitted that moving, breathing, yawning and laughter all caused pain. He was able to “grind it out” to get the job done, though. “I didn’t hesitate,” he said. “We were gonna get this season in and I was gonna be there, whatever it took. You don’t expect your crew to stand and deliver if you’re not willing to do the same thing. So if I’m telling them to suck it up, I damn sure better be ready to do the same thing myself.”

Why Was Captain Lee Missing From ‘Below Deck’ Season 9?

After sticking it out to film all of the show’s 8th season, Captain Lee was missing for episodes one and two of season 9 in the fall of 2021. Although he eventually returned, fans were concerned about his absence at the time. Lee did not specify why he was M.I.A., but said that a “condition” that was “not related to COVID-19” led to his late arrival.

“I am much better,” he told E! News afterward. “The timing was mainly screwed up. Because we have such a tight shooting schedule, it was imperative that the guests’ charters start and end on time, so it didn’t have a domino effect and impact every charter after that. It’s a totally unique year.”

captain lee kate chastain
Captain Lee with Kate Chastain at the season 10 premiere party. (Larry Marano/Shutterstock)

With COVID-19 still a major factor when season 9 filmed in 2021, a lot of different things had to be taken into account before filming. “A lot of things that we’re used to doing, we couldn’t do because we had to stay within the confines of our bubble,” Lee explained. “So we had to improvise in some situations, which is not a bad thing.”

Once he was back with his crew, Lee was thrilled and ready to work. “It really felt good to get back on that water,” he gushed. “When I finally got onboard, I was the happiest guy in the world.”

Why Did Captain Lee Have A Cane?

Season 10 of Below Deck aired in the fall of 2022 and filmed earlier that year. Before filming began, Captain Lee underwent back surgery in Dec. 2021. He broke the news on Twitter while clapping back at a critic. “Just an FYI, I have been in a hospital bed all week recovering from a serious spinal injury,” he wrote on Dec. 15, 2021. “Do I owe you an explanation?” He also confirmed to a fan that he suffered from “severe spinal stenosis.”

After the surgery, Captain Lee had to walk with a cane, and he was using it in the season 10 premiere of Below Deck. “I have a nerve issue on my left side, so I’m going to depend on you guys in some areas,” he told his crew at the time. Things got worse as filming continued, though. “My injury is getting worse,” he admitted. “The left side of my body, I don’t feel anything.”

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

“Spinal Stenosis happens when the space inside the backbone is too small,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It “occurs most often in the lower back and neck.” The condition is usually caused by “wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to arthritis.” Some patients, like Captain Lee, qualify for surgery, which can create more space inside the spine.

Why Did Captain Lee Leave ‘Below Deck’?

By the end of episode 4 of Below Deck’s 10th season, Captain Lee knew he had to pack his bags. “There comes a point, where a captain is really being objective, he should be putting the best interests of his crew first because that’s your primary responsibility,” Lee explained. “As soon as you step onboard, check your f****** ego at the dock.”

He called the crew together to let them know of his decision. “As you guys know, I’ve been struggling with my mobility, and it’s been hard,” he shared. “I’ve let you guys down and for that I apologize. I’ve made a decision to leave the boat.”

However, Lee returned for the final three episodes of the season. “I made a promise to the crew before I left that I would be back before they were done, before the season was over, and I would walk on board by myself, unassisted,” he told PEOPLE. “I’m happy to say that I was able to fulfill the promise. That was a very proud moment for me. I wanted to be able to finish what I started.”

He also explained how he was able to get his health back to where it needed to be for a return. “The progress with nerves is really slow,” Lee admitted. “Nerves regenerate about four millimeters a month. And if I wanted to get back, I had to bust my hump and not pay attention to the nerve issue, but pay attention to getting the muscles stronger so I could perform my duties. I had atrophy, where my muscles had weakened because of underuse. So that’s what I concentrated on — the muscles.”

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Captain Lee and ‘Below Deck’ cast at BravoCon. (Gregory Pace/Shutterstock)

When the episode aired in Dec. 2022, he gave fans an update on his condition via Twitter. “I’m doing just fine and getting better every day,” he wrote. Still, doctors were unable to provide an explanation for the nerve issue, and said that his previous back and neck operations were not the cause.

Why Is Captain Lee Not Coming Back For Season 11 Of ‘Below Deck’?

Unfortunately, his future on the show was still in jeopardy. In Feb. 2023, Entertainment Tonight and Us Weekly both confirmed that Lee would not be returning to Below Deck for its 11th season. The sites also revealed Captain Kerry Titheradge as his replacement.

At the time, though, Captain Lee was not ready to confirm the news himself. “Who said that, not me,” he tweeted in response to a fan asking about the speculation. He also told his supporters not to “read too much into” anything about the situation.

Lee has insisted that his departure from the show was not a decision that was made by him, but said he understood why Bravo had to let him go. “I guess I can see their point of view,” he said in his Sun Sentinel interview. “They really couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone on how my health was.”

However, he previously expressed his desire to never retire, so who knows if it will be the last we see of him! “I think retirement is highly overrated,” he told E! News in Nov. 2022. “You can only go fishing so much, you can only play golf so much. People have to stay productive, otherwise they should just start getting out the shovel.”

This story originally appeared on Hollywoodlife

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