Deadliest Catch: Who Was Jake Harris' Late Wife, Shawna Brinkly?

The cast members of the Discovery Channel's hit reality television show "Deadliest Catch" have had their fair share of tragedies, the Harris family especially so. The show focuses on the dangerous work of crab fishermen in Alaska, and while the on-the-job dangers are legion, the off-screen lives of the Harris family have sometimes been equally tragic. The 2010 death of fan-favorite Phil Harris, the patriarch of the family and captain of the Cornelia Marie, was just one of these.

The latest tragedy to hit the Harris family is linked to Phil's youngest son and "Deadliest Catch" alumni Jake Harris — his wife, 38-year-old Shawna Brinkly, reportedly died on August 10, 2023. Her younger brother, Thomas, announced the death on Facebook. He didn't reveal the cause but stated that her closed-casket funeral would be held at Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Bellevue, Washington on August 26. Brinkly gave birth to her and Jake's daughter, Tru, in December 2021, per his Facebook page.

She helped Jake get into rehab

Jake Harris, who left "Deadliest Catch" in 2012, had a history of substance use issues and related run-ins with law enforcement over the years. Notably, he was sentenced to prison time in 2019 after pleading guilty to a felony DUI and possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute heroin, per Oxygen.

When Jake Harris grew closer to Shawna — who was a friend of Jake's older brother Josh since childhood — he was once again using. According to a 2021 Facebook post by Jake, she didn't judge him or ask him to stop but pushed him to do better, which encouraged him to go into rehab. "She invited me into her home, had me do chores, participate in movie nights, I got stuck doing laundry cause she hates to do it ... she treated me with respect and with encouragement, didn't tell me what to do and reminded me that the only true accountability that I had was to myself," the post read. "She told me I deserved better from myself, she let me build relationships with her family, and gave me a feeling of responsibility and being needed. And that made me want to get clean."

Birth of daughter

It appears that Shawna Brinkly was a positive influence on Jake Harris. Their Facebook pages are filled with pictures of them smiling and laughing together. In 2021, his older brother Josh Harris — who was also on "Deadliest Catch" — told TV Shows Ace that Jake had blossomed with Shawna and her children. "[S]eeing that he's loved and that he is accepted and stuff ... I think for a long period of time, he held a lot of shame and a lot of guilt over things," Josh said. While not much is publicly known about Shawna's life outside of her relationship with Jake, she did have an OnlyFans account, which she was last active on in July 2023. She and Jake were also working on a new clothing line, per a January 2023 Facebook post from his account. 

The birth of their daughter, Tru, also seemed to ground the couple and bring them closer together. "It's truly been the most memorable, enjoyable, suspenseful, and remarkable month of my existence and hers too," Jake wrote in a January 2022 Facebook post featuring a picture of their month-old daughter. "I have never been so present or felt so grounded. I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that feeling is priceless."

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).