The Tragic Details About Guy Fieri

Behind his flamboyant persona and iconic hair lie tales of tragedy in Guy Fieri's life. His story has taken a few dark turns at times. However, you'd never expect it from the upbeat personality he displays to the public. His resilience has helped him maintain a positive outlook on life.

Behind the food celebrity's infectious enthusiasm is a life marred with adversity. Tragedy struck early for Fieri, nearly resulting in childhood death and wrongful incarceration as a young adult. His family has struggled with illnesses. Plus, he's had his fair share of false accusations and lawsuits following around behind him. Each twist and turn of his life's journey has revealed a man whose life has been as complex as the flavors he adds to his dishes. Some years seemed to be more harsh than others, but he's sprung back with dignity. We hope he experiences more triumph than tragedy in the years ahead.

He was thrown off a horse as a kid

Guy Fieri's tragedies started when he was 10. That year, he had a horseriding incident resulting in serious injuries that could have killed him. He was out riding his horse near his home one day when it suddenly bucked him off and trampled him underfoot. As the animal stomped, it ended up injuring his heart and tearing a ligament off of his liver, requiring emergency surgery.

Unfortunately, his parents were away from home backpacking in Europe at the time. So, without parents or legal guardians to sign, it took a court order and a lawyer's proxy signature before he could have the surgery. He still has a scar from the incident that starts at his navel.

The accident didn't put him off horseback riding or make him scared of animals. In fact, he's owned horses as an adult. Even his Hunt and Ryde wine label features his sons on horseback.

He was falsely accused of drunk driving in a fatal crash

Guy Fieri's second big tragic event occurred when he was 19 and a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. On that tragic day, he was hanging out with a group from a neighboring campground in Las Vegas. They were all together at a drag boat race and had been drinking. One guy panicked when he saw a cop and ended up in a car chase. At the conclusion of the chase, the car flipped, resulting in mass injuries and the death of the guy in the seat next to him. Fieri was airlifted out by helicopter and awoke to find himself handcuffed to a hospital bed.

It turned out that the friends all knew each other from the military. So, they collectively decided to save their buddy from prosecution for drunk driving and manslaughter or worse by saying that Fieri had been the driver. Luckily, he escaped incarceration. Now, as a father, Fieri uses this life experience to teach his kids not to be so trusting of getting into a car with or taking drinks from people that they don't know.

His sister died from cancer

In February of 2011, Guy Fieri's sister, Morgan Fieri, died from metastatic melanoma (a fast-spreading skin cancer). She first had cancer when she was four years old, and her brother was eight. So, her first cancer scare happened within a couple of years of her brother's near-fatal horse accident. That's a lot of childhood near-misses for one family in such a short period of time.

Fieri's sister got better, and everyone thought she was in the clear for years. Unfortunately, the cancer came back when she was an adult, and she died at the young age of 38. After her death, Fieri and his wife helped to raise Morgan's son, Jules. His nephew has since grown up, graduated from California State University San Marcos, and has started working in the music business.

His sister Morgan is his only sibling; she would have turned 51 in 2023. Fieri honored her on his Instagram, saying, " Happy 51st birthday to my little sister Morgan. Miss ya sis. Namaste."

His Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives show was involved in a lawsuit

Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" show was embroiled in a nasty lawsuit just a few years after it started. Fieri first appeared as the host of the TV show in 2006. Five years later, in 2011, he found himself in the middle of a lawsuit related to the show.

The producer of the show, David Page, sued Food Network after they tried to replace him and refused to let Fieri record any more episodes for him. The network countersued with allegations that Page had created a toxic work environment. He was hateful toward his employees, didn't meet deadlines, and turned in incomplete work. One email Page wrote to staff members said, "I hope you die so I can dance on your f**ing grave. ... "[L]ets assume I'm a genius from now on. ... [L]ets all assume I know what the f*** I'm doing. ... [T]his is no longer a democracy" (per The Hollywood Reporter).

Page tried to point the blame at Fieri, saying that Fieri would cancel shoots and not respond to correspondence to make Page look bad and get him kicked off the show. However, Page's words and actions speak for themselves. Ultimately, Food Network removed Page as the producer and went forward with the show. After Page was gone, Fieri continued as the host of the iconic show, which is still in production today.

He's faced accusations of being lewd, homophobic, and anti-Semitic

After Food Network forced the toxic producer of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" out of his position in May of 2011, he moved on to feuding with Guy Fieri. In October, former producer David Page spoke with Minneapolis-based City Pages, accusing Fieri of being lewd, homophobic, and anti-semitic while working on the show.

Page accused Fieri of making sexual comments when women mentioned cream and constantly looking at women's breasts instead of their faces. He alleged that Fieri called Jews cheap. He also told Minneapolis City Pages that Fieri was uncomfortable being around gay people and needed warning before having to interact with them.

The claims were all just a ruse to taint Fieri's reputation. Not only was Fieri's sister Morgan openly gay, but he officiated at a group wedding for 101 gay couples in 2015. A publicist for Fieri told Eater, "He would never make the kind of comments attributed to him in this story ... That Mr. Page made these sadly desperate statements says more about him than it does about Guy or anyone on the Food Network team."

Fieri had his Lamborghini stolen

2011 wasn't a good year for Fieri at all. In addition to his sister dying, having his Food Network show embroiled in a lawsuit, and having the former producer of his show making all sorts of false accusations against him, he had his $200,000 yellow Lamborghini Gallardo stolen. At the time of the incident, Fieri had left his beloved car at the dealership for routine service work. So the thief didn't steal it from his home. Instead, the thief rappelled into the dealership movie-style from a window above the car.

There were occasional reports from Fieri's friends who would see the thief taking the car out for a joyride. However, it was missing for a year before police finally found it in a storage facility registered to 19-year-old Max Wade. Police also found a motorcycle, weapons, and ammunition in storage with the Lamborghini.

The police accused Wade of using the motorcycle and weapons in an attempted drive-by shooting of a romantic interest and her boyfriend. Fieri ended up having to testify at the trial in 2013 concerning the stolen vehicle, and the thief ended up serving life in prison for attempted murder.

He was in an ongoing feud with Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain habitually made fun of various food celebrities, including Guy Fieri. Fieri seemed perplexed by the whole feud and told GQ, "[H]e's never talked s*** to my face ... You have nothing else to f****** worry about than if I have bleached hair or not? I mean, f***."

The rivalry started in 2008 when Bourdain likened Fieri to a character a committee got together to design for a TV show. After Fieri's Lamborghini was stolen in 2011, Bourdain made fun of the whole situation on Twitter. Fieri was part of the group (including Rachael Ray) that got together in 2012 to roast Bourdain for all the negative things he'd said about them. Bourdain countered by calling Fieri's new restaurant a "500-seat deuce" that he'd unloaded on Times Square (per Grub Street).

Bourdain just couldn't stop using Fieri as a punching bag. In 2015, Bourdain did a standup tour called "Close to the Bone," in which he roasted everyone from Guy Fieri to Ina Garten. Bourdain said he himself had made some adjustments since becoming a father, but he said he had to wonder why Fieri was "52 years old and still rolling around in the flame outfit." He asked, "How does Guy Fieri de-douche?" (per Atlanta Magazine).

He got into a violent fight with his hairdresser

Guy Fieri once got into a fist and word fight with his hairdresser, Ariel Ramirez. Luckily, there were no scissors involved. In fact, the incident didn't even happen at the salon. The fight occurred in 2013 on the ride home from the San Francisco International Airport. The two had been on the flight together and had been drinking, so they used a ride service to get home. The video showed Ramirez outside of the SUV punching Fieri, who was still inside. Fieri countered with some kicks of his own. There were a lot of "F*** yous" thrown around as well. Fieri's manager ended up getting out and helping Ramirez home via taxi.

TMZ had exclusive footage of the fight, and Fieri's representative told them that the fight was just "[a] bunch of guys were messing around. Things got a little out of hand, but they're all good now." So, it was nothing more than a drunken fight between friends that got out of hand and was unfortunately caught on video. And it's a good thing since Fieri has an iconic hairstyle to maintain. 

Over 100 of his neighbors once banded together against him

Guy Fieri's neighbors didn't come at him with pitchforks, but they weren't too happy when he tried to open up a wine-tasting room near his home and vineyard in Santa Rosa, California. Over 100 of them showed up to a 2014 hearing concerning opening the tasting room. They were worried about everything from noise from people and vehicles to drunk driving and trash. One neighbor worried that the area would turn into some sort of Disneyland-type destination for Fieri fans. Considering the chaos we've seen as people descend on the tiny town of Pashuska, Oklahoma, where the Pioneer Woman lives and has a restaurant, the neighbors were probably not incorrect in their projections.

As a result of the neighbors' concerns, the zoning board wrote up a sizable document with 76 conditions Fieri had to follow to be able to open up the tasting room. However, at the end of the day, the board rejected Fieri's proposal for opening the tasting room.

The people had spoken, so Fieri didn't appeal the decision. While his Hunt & Ryde wine label started producing wine in 2015, there's no public tasting room to go with it. However, you can order a bottle from the winery's website starting at $19.99.

He got into a legal dispute with his Johnny Garlic's business partner

Guy Fieri decided to shut down his Johnny Garlic's restaurant chain in 2015, resulting in his business partner suing him. Fieri opened up the very first Johnny Garlic's in 1996. However, after opening seven locations and being in business for 19 years, Fieri decided it was time to abandon ship.

Fieri tried to dissolve the whole company in 2015. However, his business partner, Steven Gruber, didn't feel like Johnny Garlic's days had come to an end yet, so he sued Fieri to try to keep the restaurant open. Fieri had plenty of restaurants keeping him busy, and he didn't really need Johnny Garlic's anymore. However, his business partner still wanted to keep the chain alive. In the lawsuit, Gruber sought to buy up Fieri's half of the business so that he could continue business as usual.

The year before Fieri decided to wash his hands of the chain, one of the locations had already closed without any warning. So, trouble was already brewing. Unfortunately, without Fieri, the restaurants started to become ever more run down, and they're now all permanently closed.

One of his restaurants had a habit of getting bad inspections for insect infestations

Tragically, Guy Fieri's American Kitchen and Bar in Times Square, New York City, developed a reputation after a few bad inspections that revealed insect infestations. Yes, this is the same gigantic restaurant Anthony Bourdain despised and poked fun at in 2015.

In January 2016, a restaurant inspection uncovered a variety of flies throughout the restaurant, including in food areas. The report said, "Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies, and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies, and Phorid flies" (per Radar Online). In case you weren't counting, that's a total of eight types of flies thriving in the restaurant. Somehow, the restaurant still squeaked by with a score of B for the inspection. The year before, inspectors had found roaches darting about on the restaurant floor. So, insects were an ongoing problem.

Its reputation for insects didn't bode well for the restaurant. By the last day of 2017, the Times Square location was closed. However, there are still 12 Guy Fieri's American Kitchens & Bars open in the U.S. and five open internationally. Luckily, they don't carry a reputation for insect infestations.

His dad had pancreatic cancer

Cancer has been a plague for the Fieri family, with first his sister and then his dad battling it. Fieri's dad, Jim Ferry, fought against pancreatic cancer in 2018 when he was 76 years old. Luckily, he won the fight and is now cancer-free. His bout with the disease came just seven years after Fieri's sister had lost her fight with a different type. As a result of his experience and his daughter's death from cancer, Ferry has become an advocate for others struggling with the disease.

Fieri praises his parents' strength when it comes to dealing with tragedy and death. "When you watch your mom and dad bury their kid and still get up and go live their life ... every day, and I don't know how they can do it. I don't know that I have that kind of strength as a person. So they're great examples to follow" (via People).

His Downtown Flavortown restaurant in Pigeon Forge was sued for violating labor laws

In addition to restaurants getting bad ratings for insect infestations, he has one that tragically got in trouble for violating labor laws. Guy Fieri has personal-branded restaurants with 17 distinct names around the U.S. In total, he has 175 delivery-only and 80 full restaurant locations worldwide. His most recent Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, restaurant is called Downtown Flavortown. It features food and drinks but is also a place to play games and go bowling. In 2022, the restaurant was hit with a lawsuit just a few months after opening.

It wasn't long after opening before the employees collectively filed a lawsuit against the Downtown Flavortown owners for breaking the Fair Labor Standards Act. The owners asked employees who worked for tips to also do non-tipped work. Some of these tasks included cleaning and upkeep tasks, as well as preparing food for customers. Since they weren't getting tips for these time-consuming duties, the employees claimed that they should be getting at least minimum wage for the time spent on these tasks. The lawsuit sought to get back pay for all the non-tipped work the employees had already done. Plus, it put pressure on the owners to change their pay and responsibilities policies.