Chris Thieneman and Nikki Cooper might not be 90 Day Fiancé household names, but when Annie Suwan Toborowsky and David Toborowsky first appeared on TLC, they were well-known among fans.
David met Annie when he was on a post-divorce trip to Thailand with his longtime close friend, Chris, who’s married to Nikki. On 90 Day Fiancé, Chris and Nikki quickly took on major secondary roles: They sponsored Annie’s K-1 visa, argued with David about his drinking habits and “mooching” ways, and even gave the couple their infamous apartment above a storage unit.
Most notoriously, when Chris offered David and Annie a temporary place to stay, he appeared to ask Annie to offer him free Thai massages in lieu of rent. After their appearance on 90 Day Fiancé, Nikki and Chris took to YouTube in 2018 to explain the infamous scene—and what it was like to film with TLC.
Chris and Nikki claimed the show was somewhat scripted
In a video about their experience on reality TV, Chris and Nikki looked back at their time on 90 Day Fiancé with Annie and David.
They didn’t specifically name the show, but they did give two clues—“the number between 89 and 91” and “seven ____ in a week”—to let fans know they were, of course, talking about 90 Day Fiancé. Nikki warned diehard reality TV show fans that they might not hear what they wanted to during their tell-all video.
In a candid Q&A, Chris and Nikki first tackled the question of whether 90 Day Fiancé was scripted by producers. The answer to that question, they said, was complicated.
“Absolutely, part of it is,” Chris explained. “Some of it is real, and then teased with, added to, subtracted from.”
Nikki explained further, “I wouldn’t say that there’s a written script where it’s like, ‘hey, read this line, read this line.’”
Still, she claimed, TLC producers would come up to them and prompt them to improv around certain topics or to bring up certain subjects. And after hours of filming at a time, she argued, they sometimes felt pressured to talk about particular topics in a repetitive or rote way.
The couple opened up about being friends with David and Annie
As for whether they were still friends with David and Annie after appearing on the show, Nikki and Chris said that answer was a bit complex, too. While they still spent time together, the relationship between Chris and David appeared to have cooled.
“Being friends with David is kind of like herpes,” Chris joked. “He always knows how to get right back into being friends. And he’s fine…But now I’m onto his bulls*it.”
Just two weeks earlier (at the time of the video), in fact, Chris claimed that David had asked him to co-sign for a car.
In addition to scaling back on their friendship with Annie and David—who have since become 90 Day Fiancé fan favorites—Nikki and Chris seemed to have lukewarm sentiments towards their time on reality television. Nikki revealed that she’d been turned off of her experience on reality TV when 90 Day Fiancé producers allegedly misrepresented parts of their story.
A key part of the couple’s storyline, for example, was the fact that Nikki supposedly didn’t know that her husband had agree to sponsor Annie under the terms of the K-1 visa. But the 90 Day Fiancé guest star claimed that that actually wasn’t true at all, and that she and her husband always talked similarly major issues over beforehand.
“They felt that it would be more drama, or better, to say that I did not know about the sponsorship,” Nikki claimed in the video. “I absolutely knew that they would be sponsored. But we both did not know that it would be for 10 years. But I did know about the sponsorship; I was OK with that.”
Chris called the ‘massage’ scene ‘the most uncomfortable thing’ he’d ‘ever done’
As for the infamous “massage request” scene, Chris admitted that he felt embarrassed about “playing along” with it.
“That was probably the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done,” he said of his request that Annie give him massages.
For her part, Nikki claimed that she’d warned her husband against following 90 Day Fiancé producers’ lead when it came to their suggestion that he bring up a massage. She thought it would be misconstrued.
“I said, ‘sweetie, don’t do it. They’re gonna blow it up,’” Nikki said, adding that she wished she’d put her foot down at the time. But Chris thought that because they “weren’t the main characters,” it would be easy enough to “play along” with the producers’ suggestions and avoid any major embarrassment.
According to Chris, he didn’t mention massage until it was brought up by a 90 Day Fiancé producer.
“When we first sat down, I didn’t say anything like that,” he claimed. “And the female producer said, ‘Chris, didn’t you want Annie to give you a massage?’”
After allegedly redoing the scene more than once and feeling increasingly uncomfortable as time went on, Chris explained that he finally started to feel like he might be misrepresented on the show.
“When I walked away, I said, ‘Man, I just feel dirty,’” Chris said of the awkward moment.
As for Nikki, she spoke out at the time against TLC producers, as she felt her husband’s character was “being attacked” due to a manufactured scene. Many 90 Day Fiancé fans, she explained, had since asked her why she allowed Chris to seemingly “disrespect another woman” and “disrespect their marriage.”
But Nikki insisted that she never would have agreed to or tolerated Chris’ statements if they had been real. The experience, she said, had made her more wary of accepting what she saw on reality TV at face value.