You may have expected a showmance to come out of “Big Brother 23,” but you probably didn’t see this one coming.
In a joint interview with Us Weekly, 25-year-old Claire Rehfuss and 24-year-old Derek Xiao revealed that they are in a relationship. They explained that sparks really began to fly between them once they were in the jury house.
“I think that we both really felt the chemistry once we got to jury house and could really connect with each other,” Claire said. “We would stay up late talking every single night and we just really developed a bond.”
“I remember the first or second night that she (Claire) was there (in the jury house), we stayed up all night just talking until 5:00 a.m,” Derek added. “That happened every single night for the first, like, five days. That’s when I started really thinking like, ‘Wait a second, why didn’t this happen in the house? There’s such a strong connection and chemistry between us.’ I think that was the beginning of us thinking about what this could be.”
Derek Says Claire is ‘His Type’
Although Derek and Claire were close friends throughout “Big Brother 23,” it seemed like their relationship was merely platonic. But Derek told Us Weekly that he knew he was attracted to Claire right away.
“I knew from week one that Claire was my type,” he said. “I guess I just never let myself explore that beyond just a friendship. I mean, you saw what happened to Alyssa (Lopez) and Christian (Birkenberger) week one. For me, despite getting taken out very early on, I did want to win that game…I knew that if I let myself, I would just fall for Claire in the house.”
“Once you’re off camera, that’s when you really, really get to know who a person is and you can really be vulnerable and you can really be open and really talk about a lot of things from your life,” Claire added.
Many Fans Thought Derek & Hannah Would Get Together
Early on in “Big Brother 23,” 21-year-old Hannah Chaddha admitted to having a crush on Derek. She and Derek were close friends throughout the game and were often seen cuddling. They’ve also been spending a lot of time together post-season. Some fans were hopeful their friendship would turn into something more.
Hannah is also close friends with Claire, so how does she feel about this new showmance? Derek announced the new relationship in an Instagram post and Hannah left a supportive comment. “Congratulations to my best friends, the veto king & queen claire❤️🔥,” Hannah wrote.
“Coming out of the Big Brother house has been overwhelming, but I’m so lucky to have had Queen Claire by my side making me smile and laugh everyday ❤️ I’m so excited to see what’s next for us,” Derek wrote in the caption.
Claire also announced the news on Instagram, calling the relationship “the absolute best thing to come out of the most stressful 3 months of my life.”
Was Their Relationship Ever a Secret From the Other Houseguests?
Claire told Us Weekly that once she and Derek knew they liked each other, they didn’t try to hide it from the other jury members.
“Me and Alyssa were roommates in jury. She was like my confidante. Everyone else was also helping us try to get around the jury house managers. So everyone in the jury house basically knew what was happening. It wasn’t like a dirty little secret in the boat house or anything. It was very fun,” she said.
Derek explained why they had to sneak around to get privacy from the jury house managers. “They don’t like when you hang out in private by yourself, because you might be having game talks,” he said. “So, me and Claire would have to find different hiding spots. We weren’t even trying to talk game. We literally wanted to talk to each other and we’d have to sneak around.”
Claire’s Parents Are Excited to Meet Derek
Claire revealed to Us Weekly that she and Derek were already dating by the time she left L.A. to go see her family back in New York. She says that her parents were excited when she told them about the relationship.
“I mean, who doesn’t love Derek X? Like they were like, ‘We know him. We can’t wait. We’re so excited to meet him,'” she said.
Claire Confessed a Secret to Derek on the Live Feeds
As is common practice for “Big Brother” houseguests, Claire told a few white lies about herself during the game. She said she lived in Astoria, Queens when she really lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. She didn’t want people to assume she was wealthy because of the reputation of the Upper East Side.
She told Derek the truth about her living situation on the hammock. “But it’s not a nice apartment,” Claire insisted, laughing. Derek burst into laughter and joked “I’m gonna kill you!” The pair had exchanged many jokes about Queens so he couldn’t believe the fib.
Claire, an Artificial Intelligence engineer, also lied about her job on the show. She confessed her secret to Derek right after telling him where she really lived.