Big Brother Season 23 stars Derek Xiao and Claire Rehfuss are dating after meeting during the season. The two said they recognized a connection when they met, but they did not really begin dating until after they were evicted. Xiao, 24, is a start-up founder, while Rehfuss, 25, is an AI engineer. They both call New York City home.
"I think that we both really felt the chemistry once we got to jury house and could really connect with each other," Rehfuss told Us Weekly on Thursday. "We would stay up late talking every single night and we just really developed a bond." Xiao said he began wondering why they didn't click when they were in the Big Brother house. They talked every single night for hours. "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," he told the magazine.
The couple said developing their relationship away from the constant Big Brother feed really helped. Xiao knew from the start that Rehfuss was his type, but he "never let myself explore that beyond just a friendship" while cameras rolled. "For me, despite getting taken out very early on (laughs), I did want to win that game. ... I knew that if I let myself, I would just fall for Claire in the house," he said.
Rehfuss agreed that without cameras, you can really get to know a person. "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," she said, adding that their former Big Brother co-stars have been supportive. Some even realized there was chemistry between the two before they started dating.
"The other houseguests were very aware of what was happening," Rehfuss said. "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 boathouse or anything. It was very fun."
'Best Big Brother Post-Season Ever'
Wait, I get that we're having the best Big Brother post-season ever.... but what is this!?!October 14, 2021
The news of the relationship also surprised Big Brother fans. Scroll on to see how many reacted to the news.prevnext
'So unexpected but I love it!'
"This was so unexpected but I love it," one fan wrote on Instagram. "UMMM IM VERY CONFUSED BUT HAPPY," another added.prevnext
'More unexpected than anything this entire season'
"This makes me so happy!! You both bonded so much and are so compatible I'm so happy your connection in the house was [fire]," one fan wrote. "This is more unexpected than anything this entire season," another chimed in.prevnext
'Happy for them'
Very surprised by the news of 2 houseguests from this past season of Big Brother, Claire and Derek X, are in a relationship! And not all fans are too excited about this new couple 😬 #apr325 https://t.co/ovaU9uxXas— Zoie Casey (@casey_zoie) October 14, 2021
"Claire and Derek X really are dating? That's awesome, happy for them," one fan tweeted. "Hey, him and Hannah are still gonna [be] friends. Honestly, that shouldn't surprise me, a lot of women in that house had a crush on DX."prevnext
'I did not have Claire and Derek X dating on my Big Brother bingo card'