Long before Ed Brown was a star of "90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days," he was just a young man striking a GQ-esque pose at a zoo ... he tells us so himself.
Brown -- AKA "Big Ed" -- confirms with TMZ ... a viral photo that began circulating on social media this weekend is indeed him, way back in 1988.
Big Ed tells us he was on his second date with his now ex-wife at the San Diego Zoo when the pic of him -- looking tan and serious in all-white duds -- was snapped.
He says he thinks the photo was swiped from his private Facebook page, and someone posted it.
Here he is circa 1995 -- striking a very similar pose -- while working at an El Torito in Southern California. He says he got a job there while he was earning his Master's in architecture.
If you aren't familiar, Big Ed's relationship with his Filipina GF, Rose, has been a hot-button topic on this season of '90 Day Fiance' ... for a number of reasons.
He tells us it's done wonders for his photography business though. Ed says he's received requests from people all over the world asking him to shoot with them ... everything from family photos to model shots.
He says he's converting his garage into a studio now, and once the coronavirus crisis cools down ... he hopes to get in some work.