Kalani Faagata and Asuelu Pulaa graced the TV screen in the sixth season of “90 Day Fiance” in 2018, thereupon becoming one of the most unique couples ever to have been featured in the series, owing to their peculiar ethnicities and history together. Naturally, the fans took great interest in how their love story was going to play out.
Although they both come from the same culture, Kalani and Asuelu were raised in very different circumstances, which definitely made for some interesting television. It also came with problems, however, as their relationship started running into various bumps along its way throughout the filming.
Five years later, it’s curious to see how things played out for the two, as new adventures and old grudges culminate into a slow crawl that begins to pale in comparison with what they’ve achieved together – two little boys. The question is whether the children are growing up with both their parents at home, or is the custody now shared, and the differences irreconcilable.
Finding love in paradise
In essence, Kalani and Asuelu are both Samoan, except her family assimilated into US culture decades ago, meaning she can’t even speak the native language. This is easily inferred from Kalani’s name, which means ‘the sky’ in Samoan, while her surname (Faagata) is a mixture of Samoan words for identification (with something), ‘fa’a,’ and strong, ‘gata.’ Asuelu’s name has no specific meaning, but his surname (Pulaa) derives from the Samoan word for rain, ‘pula.’
Faagata was quite possibly exploring her roots at the time when she arrived in Samoa for an exotic vacation, also taking the time to learn about the culture and language of the people of her birth country. Unbeknownst back then, she would also end up finding the man to father her children, and with whom to ascend into stardom.
Asuelu was born in Samoa in 1995, having lived his entire life on the island, working various odd jobs to maintain sustenance for himself and his loved ones. The Pulaa family hails from the not-so-wealthy village of Leone, on the southwestern edge of Samoa’s Tutuila Island, consisting of Asuelu, his sister Tammy, their mother Lesina, and their father who chose to stay anonymous.
Although Tammy is also of working age, most of the financial responsibility fell on Asuelu, whose duty, according to Samoan culture, was to provide for those who raised him. That task proved to be quite difficult in the beginning, with Asuelu struggling on a daily basis to put food on the table. His luck took a turn for the better when he was finally offered employment as an activities director at one of the high-profile Samoan resorts.
This meant that Pulaa was in charge of the various goings-on that serve to culturally enrich the resort goers, as well as entertain them and give them something to plan their day around. He was thus also co-ordinating several groups of performers who had regular shows on the premises, creating daily schedules for their acts.
Kalani ran into Asuelu by accident on a busy day at the resort, and due to her ethnicity creating a recognizable Samoan appearance, he didn’t think she was an actual tourist. Raised in Orange County, California USA, Faagata knew only a few words of Samoan and felt lost at the time. Fortunately, Asuelu was there to assist every step of the way, which at first was definitely overbearing.
Mind under matter
While recounting the time they met, Kalani mentioned the Samoan native spending so much time in her vicinity that she almost believed he was stalking her. Asuelu’s clearly shown eagerness made her queasy about the whole thing at first, but that feeling quickly changed throughout the few times she saw him shirtless.
Their chemistry for one another started to show as Asuelu took it upon himself to introduce the attractive foreigner to her origins, taking the time out of his busy day to show her around. It wasn’t long before they both started believing that their meeting was in no way a coincidence, as each of them turned out to be what the other had been looking for.
The two were already an established couple before it was time for Kalani to return to the US, but there were some things left to do before the next serious step. Faagata was yet to show her true willingness to invest in the relationship, as the religion she was born into had certain rules that prevented her from fully enjoying Pulaa’s company.
Namely, Mormonism’s teachings imply that engaging in any sexual acts before marriage is improper and unclean. This restriction often causes its adherents to stagnate in their relationships until their partners eventually give up on them, as the prospect of marrying someone before even one intimate night is no longer attractive to most of the modern western world.
Their relationship was at first impeded by Kalani’s outdated beliefs, and she refused to do anything with Asuelu that would be frowned upon according to her faith. This impedance put a temporary pause on their relationship, and Faagata went back home for the time being. Back then, it was still a question whether their emotions would remain for one another.
However, the next time Kalani went to Samoa, she had made the decision that no holy book will get in the way of her love life, and the two shared in their long-anticipated night of passion soon upon her arrival. In spite of not yet being married, the two did plan on having children, having tried for one as soon as they got around to being properly intimate.
They became engaged not long after Faagata’s second vacation, at which point Asuelu received the K-1 visa, reserved only for fiancés of US residents, under the condition that they marry within 90 days.
Fortunately for the two, that visa is also the requirement for being featured in TLC’s one-of-a-kind reality TV series “90 Day Fiancé,” whose financial incentive and media coverage proved to be quite welcome to both of the future spouses. They readily agreed to participate in the filming, believing that only pure joy and excitement lay ahead. However, time would prove their prediction far from accurate.
Discovering struggle in the real world
The pink veil of heightened emotions began to drop from Asuelu and Kalani’s eyes as time went by, revealing that there were more differences between them than was initially apparent. For example, Kalani had no obligations towards her family, at least in terms of monetary support. Asuelu, meanwhile, had to follow the unwritten rule of providing for his aging parents and sister, who also contributed, albeit in lesser part.
This lifelong duty that Asuelu seemingly just accepted without so much as a thought began to clash with his responsibilities as a husband and father, as his part-time income had to be split between his US and Samoa families. Kalani herself had to stay at home, making him the only provider for her and the two boys.
As the Pulaas pressed harder and harder for what they believed was their piece of the pie by blood relations, more and more awkward situations began to arise during family meetings, with no love whatsoever for the other side.
— The Ashley (@TheAshleysRR) June 14, 2022
Kalani found it ridiculous that Asuelu’s family only ever talked about money, making request after request to her as the accountant of the family. They said they needed cows and other farm animals, as well as various equipment and resources. Faagata didn’t care to even consider most of these pleas, as their costs were too great to fund with just one part-time salary. She had herself and her own children to think about, and that became all the more apparent as time went by.
That said, the claim that his family only needed him for money was a very difficult point to drive home with Asuelu, as he understandably saw those back home in a much more positive light. He also had a strong altruistic side that sought to believe the best in people, so it would take a lot more convincing than that to shift his perspective.
Nowhere is Asuelu’s unwavering nostalgia and family loyalty more apparent than in one of the strangest dates ever to have occurred in the series, deemed controversial not for what was said or done, but where.
Pulaa was informed by his wife that they simply weren’t spending enough time together, what with two kids running around and him being out of home for work throughout most of the day. She was understandably feeling alone in the marriage, spending all of her time taking care of two little boys.
Aside from being a mother, Kalani was still a young and energetic woman who wanted new experiences, missing the life she used to have at the time when they first met, with exotic vacations and free time for partying, shopping, and simply just hanging out.
Asuelu decided to make it up to Kalani by sending the children to her parents for the night, during which time they would embark on another romantic adventure, s they used to before the many obligations became their day-to-day.
He promised her a romantic date and apologized for not giving her more time, which made Faagata very excited, especially when she received a fresh bouquet and a box of fine chocolates. She asked where they were going, but Asuelu felt it better to keep her in suspense the whole way there.
To put it mildly, the unsuspecting wife found his axe throwing date an unremarkable idea for a husband-and-wife activity. That said, she did still appreciate the fact that he acknowledged her needs and at least made an attempt to alleviate her feeling of loneliness and neglect in the marriage.
Kalani made it known that she valued his effort, but that the place could’ve been far more appropriate for its purpose. To her surprise, right after having heard at least some form of approval for what he did, Asuelu took the opportunity to ask her a big favor – going back to Samoa for a while, and spending a considerable amount of money doing so.
🇼🇸 Asuelu Pulaa is in the Fale!! Check out Kalani and Asuelu for lives straight from Amoa and his tour around the Big…
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Facing the truth
It wasn’t until Asuelu’s mother abruptly left the table during a family dinner that he began to realize his wallet might be the only value he holds in the eyes of those back home. This was preceded by a brief back and forth, during which Lesina and Tammy insisted that he must send funds to Samoa regardless of his other obligations.
Lesina was adamant that Kalani’s wealthy parents could afford all of the children’s expenses and keep the family afloat in the US, but that there was no one taking care of the Samoan side. Tammy reinforced her point by stating that Asuelu had no excuse for avoiding his responsibilities as a son.
Faagata then asked Tammy whether she sent any money herself, and the sister avoided the question altogether, replying that it wasn’t any of her business. Asuelu was torn between his flesh and blood on one side, and the same on the other. He was understandably crippled in making a choice, and stuck to primarily providing for his sons.
It became apparent at the end of the ordeal that Asuelu was beginning to see the way his Samoan family truly thought of him, and from that moment on, he was going to dedicate himself to Kalani and the sons fully. However, the dissatisfaction of not having his family’s support wasn’t going to stay buried, and it began to seep into the marriage.
He became increasingly more disappointed and grouchier over the following months, finding flaws in almost anything related to Kalani. Her mother didn’t appreciate this attitude at all, bringing them to odds soon thereafter. Having the relationship soured with both sides, Asuelu ultimately began living on his own more and more, leaving the fans uncertain of the family’s fate after their presence in the series ended.
Old grudges, new beginnings
The question of whether Asuelu and Kalani are still married can’t be answered straightforwardly as of mid-2023, since neither of the two made an effort to clarify their current marital status, while at the same time also keeping any family drama out of the public eye. The many fans’ pleas for clarification have also gone unanswered by both parties, which is predicted to remain the norm.
That said, there are ways of forming at least a plausible assumption about what might’ve occurred in the famous marriage, as the clues are strewn all over the young parents’ social media. For example, Asuelu’s Instagram page lends great credence to the idea that he hasn’t been spending any time with Kalani, but lots of it with his sons.
Seeing as little Oliver and Kennedy also live with their mother, as evidenced by her vlog from 18 April 2023, it’s reasonable to assume that the two must often make contact with each other for the sake of accessing the children. This means that, in spite of consistently staying in touch, Kalani and Asuelu don’t post each other on their social media whatsoever, which implies that they might’ve amicably parted ways.