Though they star on different shows, the duo were brought together after losing loved ones due to addiction. After Lee’s son Joshua died at age 42 in 2019, he reached out to Carl as he dealt with brother Curtis’ death from an accidental drug overdose in 2020.
“We share kind of a similar story. My brother and his son passed from addiction. [Lee] reached out to me last year during a really hard time,” Carl recalled during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen in February 2021. “But having someone else from the Bravo family reach out meant a lot. Especially Captain Lee, who, I mean, he’s a legend. And then also he’s a male figure. I think coming from him, it was super important.”
Lee and Carl have remained in each other’s lives since then. The captain was even asked to be the officiant at Carl’s wedding to Lindsay Hubbard, which was set to take place in November 2023 but was called off three months prior.
In response to speculation about why Carl ended the engagement, Lee publicly defended his friend and Lindsay.
“It kind of upset me that people in a situation like this actually take sides, because there’s obviously no winners here. There’s just both parties losing,” Lee exclusively told Us Weekly at BravoCon in November 2023. “So, to sit there and go, ‘I’m Team Carl,’ or ‘I’m Team Lindsay.’ Like, why are you going to be that way? They have things obviously to work out. Leave them alone and let them work on what they need to work on.”
Keep scrolling to relive Lee and Carl’s friendship through the years:
As Lee opened up about his son’s battle with addiction on Below Deck, Carl found out while filming season 5 of Summer House that his older brother died. Lee subsequently offered his support to Carl, who has been candid about his own history with addiction before getting sober.
During the Summer House season 5 reunion, which aired in May 2021, Carl publicly thanked Lee for reaching out to him. His then-girlfriend, Lindsay, called their friendship “the most beautiful, sweet thing,” while reflecting on how Carl dealt with his grief.
Lee replied to a Bravo fan who applauded how he helped Carl, writing via X (formerly Twitter) in May 2021, “Something we all could do more of, is it easy, no but it’s the right thing to do. Give all you have, and you will never be poor.”
Carl recalled in his response to the advice Lee offered him, adding, “I’ll never forget you telling me ‘You can’t go wrong doing the right thing, it may not be comfortable or easy, but it’s still the right thing to do, and doing the right thing is what will make you the most comfortable with the man in the mirror.’ You’re the best Captain Lee.”
After keeping in touch over FaceTime and phone calls, Carl and Lee finally crossed paths in person at BravoCon 2022.
Carl credited Lee during an episode of WWHL for laying the “groundwork” to make him “feel confident” about starting a relationship with Lindsay. Carl also referred to Lee as “a father figure” while discussing their friendship in March 2022.
Carl praised Lee for the influence he’s had on his life, writing via Instagram in November 2022, “I am forever grateful for the time you reached out to me at such a pivotal moment in my sobriety and grief process. As you know, losing a loved one is really hard but having you as a support system these last two years has been a huge blessing. … Thank you for your kindness, warmth, strength and guidance. I’m so fortunate to have you as a friend.”
Lee, for his part, replied: “Carl, you, my friend, have done all the heavy lifting. It has been an honor to call you my friend and a privilege to be able to help where and whenever I can. Believe me when I tell you I get back much more than I give. Thank you sir.”
In honor of Lee’s 10-year anniversary on Below Deck, Carl made an appearance to celebrate his pal’s Bravo career.
“I’m so grateful to have him in my life and [it’s] so fun to shower our favorite Capt with some love! You’ve done so much for so many and it’s really inspiring to see,” Carl wrote via Instagram in March 2023. “Thanks for being a great example and for telling it like it is! Excited for your next charters in life⚓️ #MoreCaptLee.”
While filming the WWHL special, Carl told Andy Cohen about Lee’s role in his upcoming wedding to Lindsay, saying, “It’s going to be [in] Mexico. We’re still working out some of the logistics, but we’re going to have a conversation with Captain Lee.”
Despite being just as shocked as the public was by Carl and Lindsay’s split, Lee stood by his friend’s side. “Carl and I have had a conversation about this. I am not at liberty to discuss any of that conversation but he is as devastated as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Lee said on his “Salty With Captain Lee” podcast in September.
Us confirmed in November that Carl recorded a tell-all on Lee’s podcast where he addressed the breakup. The episode, however, never saw the light of day.
“We did record an interview with Carl Radke. I’m sorry to inform you that it will not be aired, and that was not my call,” Lee said at the time. “If you would like to find out why, I guess you could ask Carl Radke. We did do it. We did record it, but it will not be played. So, I apologize to all of you who thought you were going to be hearing it. That was my intention, but things just didn’t work out.”
Carl, for his part, didn’t publicly respond to Lee’s comments.