The Sad Reason You Don't See Rick Ness On Gold Rush Anymore

The following article includes struggles with depression and substance abuse.

When Rick Ness first appeared on the Discovery series "Gold Rush" in Season 3, his new career as a miner looked promising. Despite a lack of experience, he quickly became a pro at his job and would go on to become one of the mainstays on the reality show. However, Ness was noticeably absent from the Season 13 premiere, which prompted his friend Brian "Zee" Zaremba to check up on him in Episode 2. After admitting that he was in a slump, Ness revealed to Zaremba that he had seasonal affective disorder and depression. Zaremba asked if Ness' mother's death had anything to do with his mental state, and Ness confided that he still owned her house but hadn't been able to step inside of it for two years. "Maybe that'll help, maybe it won't. Once again, that's the frustrating thing about it, I don't know what's causing it," Ness told the cameras (via Starcasm).

Ahead of "Gold Rush" Season 14, Ness gave an update to fans. "As many of you guys know, I've had a rough couple of years dealing with stuff, you know, personal issues — things probably a lot of people can relate to," he stated on Facebook. "I made some bad decisions ... and ultimately it cost me a year in mining," he admitted. Although Ness didn't get into specifics, he revealed in the new season that recreational drugs played a factor in his downfall.

Rick Ness admitted to using illegal drugs

"Gold Rush" fans got to see Rick Ness return for Season 14 and root for his comeback. Unfortunately, there was a lot more to his disappearance. In a clip shared by Gold Rush News, Ness admitted to Brian Zaremeba, "I was f***ing doing a little, you know, cocaine." Ness also revealed that he had to sell his mother's house to fund the current mining season.

After taking Season 13 off to take care of his mental health, Ness admitted to People, "There was a lot of things going on. I'm a gold miner with the stigma there. I don't really ask for help, you know what I mean? I've always been that way." He continued, "And it's just some things were going on in my head, and I didn't know what it was, because I didn't know anything about depression and things of that nature. And so I just thought I'd deal with it myself and try and figure it out, which is tough when you don't know what you're dealing with." Ness shared his gratefulness at having another go as a gold miner and appeared ready to turn his life around in Season 14. According to the "Gold Rush" star's ex-fiancée, he went back to his old ways.

Rick Ness was accused of being 'addicted' to sex workers

After "Gold Rush" Season 14 began, Rick Ness's ex-girlfriend Leese Arie wrote a lengthy statement shared by a fan on Reddit. Addressing claims that she was the reason for his dark turn, Aerie stated, "I have absolutely nothing to do with the bad choices Rick made while we were together. He lied and cheated our whole relationship as his 'problem' got worse. I can see why the fans think it was me, but this 'problem' started months before I even knew him."

In late January 2024, it seemed like the on/off couple were back together when Rick Ness posted on Facebook that he was excited to see Arie after Season 14 wrapped. "I can't wait to get back to AZ and the broad in this picture who goes by the future Mrs. Ness," he wrote. However, a month later, Arie wrote in an Instagram post shared by Starcasm that their relationship had gone south. "I will never understand how someone can propose to you and not even 48 hours later cheat yet again with another prostitute. Since getting back with Rick after his return from this season he has cheated at least 6 times that I know of." She added, "I will never be able to win over his addiction of cocaine and prostitutes. Today is the day that I stand up for myself and finally stop hiding this man." As of May 8, 2024, Ness has not addressed Arie's accusations and has been radio silent on social media.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).