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Big Brother 23 Contestants Confirm Relationship, And I'm Totally Shocked

big brother season 23 derek xiao claire rehfuss
(Image credit: CBS)

After much drama and loyalties questioned this summer, Big Brother 23 was able to crown the American version of the show's first ever Black winner. It was in large part thanks to a groundbreaking six-person alliance of players flying under the radar since Day 1. But apparently, there was a lot more flying under the radar than just that. Two contestants actually confirmed a full-fledged relationship recently, and to say I'm shocked about it would be an understatement.

I shouldn't be the only one, either. Fans who watched Big Brother 23 never saw anything romantic between these players. However, it seems Derek Xiao and Claire Rehfuss had feelings for each other all summer. In a joint interview with Us Weekly, the two contestants confirmed they were officially dating even before the final votes were cast between Xavier Prather and Derek Frazier. Rehfuss shared some of the details, saying,

I feel like we just really connected in the jury house more so than … In the game, nothing ever happened. There wasn’t any secret backroom kisses or anything like that. It just naturally occurred in the jury house. I would say I asked what would happen with this relationship. Would we stay friends? Would we potentially try to be something more? I think that we both just really felt the chemistry once we got to the jury house and could really connect with each other.

According to Derek Xiao, he “knew from week one” that Claire Rehfuss was his “type.” As soon as she joined him at the jury house, after a particularly emotional elimination, the two stayed up many nights “talking until 5:00 a.m.” On why fans didn't see their connection play out on Big Brother 23, the AI engineer and start up founder both explained that they were too much invested in winning the game. Xiao also noted that he didn't want to be targeted early on like Alyssa Lopez and Christian Birkinberger’s showmance.

Their secret love story is sweet and all – but what about Hannah Chaddha? Derek Xiao and Chaddha had a serious flirtation going on in the house that was most assuredly not a secret. In his exit interview after being voted out, Julie Chen asked about a future with his showmance, and Xiao teased that there could be something there. Even after Chaddha’s own eviction weeks later, she told us that she still had a “crush” on Xiao just prior to going into the jury house.

We were all rooting for the Derek Xiao/Hannah Chaddha relationship to really happen. But the heart wants what it wants. And anyways, Xiao and Chaddha evidently hashed things out while on the Big Brother 23 jury. Xiao said,

Me and Claire actually didn't get together until Hannah came and we were able to talk to her about this. When Hannah came, I think me and Hannah actually talked first. We were just on the same page that our relationship was better off as just friends. She is someone that I want to keep in my life and I'm someone that she wants to keep in her life, just purely at a friendship level. It was just very platonic between us. But, in terms of awkwardness, I'd say zero to none, for all three of us. I don't want to speak for everyone, but we've had open conversations with all three of us at the same time. She had a one-on-one with me in jury and then a one-on-one with Claire. She was running her own little HOH…

Claire Rehfuss reiterated that her relationship with Derek Xiao hasn't affected her friendship with Hannah Chaddha. The Big Brother 23 star in fact said that Chadda was still her “little sister” and that there's apparently “no ill will there at all.”

Well, as they say, all’s fair in love and war and Big Brother. Besides, though this relationship has come as a shocker, it still doesn't really top that one between Tiffany Mitchell and Kyland Young.

Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.