“‘Be yourself. Be that same guy I was playing golf with,’” the Below Deck Adventure star exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month, referring to his first meeting with Lee, 73, at a golf tournament. “And then I asked him about social media and how to do that. I said, ‘I heard I should get someone to do it, so I don’t get caught up in it.’ He goes, ‘No, do your own social media. Don’t let anyone do that.’”
Kerry recalled receiving support from the OG Below Deck star when they crossed paths at BravoCon as well.
“The show hadn’t been out yet, but we got a chat and he’s like, ‘Man, you’re gonna do great. You’re gonna do really good. I can see it,’” the Australia native shared with Us. “He says, ‘You’re gonna do fantastic in this franchise.’ And then he chatted with my daughter. It was cool.”
The Bravo newcomer’s insight into his friendship with Lee came shortly before Us broke the news that the Michigan native would be leaving the franchise after season 10. Lee, who joined the hit series in 2013, will be replaced by Kerry for season 11. Us also confirmed that the new season is set to start filming in Grenada later this week.
The Running Against the Tide author shocked viewers when he announced his temporary departure from the show in season 10. He ultimately called in Below Deck Mediterranean‘s Captain Sandy to take his place — which marked the franchise’s first captain crossover.
“As you guys know I’ve been struggling with my mobility, and it’s been hard and I’ve let you guys down and for that, I apologize. So I’ve made a decision to leave the boat,” Lee told his crew in a December 2022 episode before Sandy arrived to take over.
That same month, Lee broke down how filming took a turn for him in season 10. “Back surgery came out great, it really did,” he exclusively told Us. “You will find this season that I do something that I’ve never, ever done before in my career or in my life. And there’s gonna be a lot of situations where you’re gonna go like, ‘Wow, didn’t see that coming at all.’ And not only will it be true for the viewers, [but] it was also true for myself and the crew.”
Meanwhile, chief stew Fraser Olender admitted he felt a difference when Sandy, 57, temporarily took Lee’s place onboard.
“I think they have, overall, very different management styles,” he exclusively shared with Us in January. “I knew Captain Lee and I knew how he worked. I knew how he liked things to be run. He also trusted me and he gave me the confidence to be creative and enjoy my take on [it].”
According to Fraser, it “took some time” for him to “get used to” Lee’s replacement before he returned later in the season. “But, equally, she taught me a lot about myself, and I think at the end of the season [you’ll] understand what I mean by that,” the England native continued. “She really opened my eyes to things I previously wouldn’t have dealt with so well — without her making sure I did.”
Below Deck airs on Bravo Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.