No hard feelings. Christian Birkenberger and Alyssa Lopez formed a connection this summer in the Big Brother 23 house – but soon realized, once they got back into the real world, they’re better off friends.
The budding actor, 23, and Molliebird swimwear designer, 24, came to the mutual decision to split only 48 hours after they made things official following the season finale, Us Weekly can exclusively reveal.
“Christian and I are just friends,” Alyssa tells Us of their current relationship status. “We realized leaving the show that I have a career and he has to focus on his career, and we have barely any time to hang out with friends. So, having a relationship just isn’t something that we’re able to do.”
Christian echoed that during the joint interview, saying, “We just decided friends was probably a safer alternative for both of us, for now at least.”
They hinted at the breakup when the Connecticut native tweeted on October 2, “What does Chrisalyss & Wet cement have in common…? It only lasts 48hrs,” along with two laughing emojis.
It was actually a tweet they crafted together. “We wanted to make it funny,” Alyssa says. “We were on the plane giggling about it.” (They later realized it may have been confusing to fans.)
Once they decided to remain friends, the pair say “the pressure was gone” and they had fun just hanging out together. Still, neither is ready to rule out potential for something happening down the road.
“We’re not closing that door because you never know what could happen and you should never close the door with anyone, I don’t think, because who knows what could happen,” the Florida native tells Us. “But, as of right now, we are just strictly friends.”
Christian adds, “We talk every day. We are best friends, but no one can predict the future.”
Scroll down to read our exclusive interview with Christian and Alyssa, including what they say about their friendships with Xavier…
Us Weekly: So what is the status of your relationship today?
Alyssa Lopez: So, right now, Christian and I are just friends. We realized leaving the show that I have a career and he has to focus on his career, and we have barely any time to hang out with friends. So, having a relationship just isn’t something that we’re able to do.
Christian Birkenberger: With the long distance and everything, we thought it may be easier to not have to try and work through that. Because it may be more complicated and end up hurting us in the long run. So we just decided friends was probably a safer alternative for both of us, for now at least.
Us: So, you came to the decision together. It wasn’t one person.
AL: It was a mutual decision. We talked about it in Florida when he visited.
Us: You had an obvious connection in the house. Did you feel pressure to make it work once you got out of the house?
AL: It wasn’t like “it has to work.” It was more so me being in there locked away for so long and coming out and not just me and Christian being in the relationship. The fact that there’s hundreds of thousands of people being in the relationship too and wanting to know our every move, that was very new to me and kind of overwhelming. So, if there’s anything that’s going to happen in the future, him and I just want it to be him and I. So, right now, that’s why with everything going on, friends is best best. And it’s been really working well. We’ve been really enjoying hanging out for Halloween and everything. We just want that to be something that’s private.
Us: Christian was very supportive on social media while you were in jury. That must have been nice to see?
AL: It was really nice because I wasn’t sure what he was thinking while I was locked away. I kept saying on the live feeds, “Oh, is he at ladies night?” or anything (laughs). I saw it all and it was really nice to know that, for sure. You’re my biggest fan, right?
CB: I was! Still am.
Us: When did you guys decide to break up? What’s the timeline there with the tweet and everything…
AL: It’s actually a really funny story.
CB: The timeline of it all. … Before I left, we talked about how are we gonna handle things outside the house. And we both kind of came to the conclusion that we maybe should date immediately after the show because it would be too hard to continue talking being so far away. So, we decided to date immediately after the show. I showed up on finale night.
AL: Which was a mutual agreement, both of us.
CB: So I showed up with my checklist of things to do: the cheeseburger without cheese and roses. I showed up like we talked about, and we made it official that night. And at that point, I’d been out of the house for, like, two months.
AL: And I was out for 15 minutes.
CB: I was still adjusting. I wasn’t back to normal. And she was out for 15 minutes. It was just a lot going on, and we really tried to – within those two days of us being an official couple – make things work and to see how things went, but it wasn’t the same as it was on the show because it’s not the same environment as it was on the show. So we quickly realized that and we decided in the airport.
AL: We were at the airport actually, heading to Florida. He was just like, “Oh, should we just not date right now?” And we both agreed. And as soon as he said that, we were back to normal, joking around, laughing nonstop. He came to Florida with me.
CB: We had a great time.
AL: With all my friends and family, we had so much fun because the pressure was gone. We were able to hang out like we were in the house because we weren’t technically dating in the house either. And I was able to still adjust, and get back to reality, and see my friends and family and not have that pressure of it. We wanted to announce it because everyone thought we were dating still. But obviously, with us, we wanted to make it kind of funny.
CB: Yeah, so the tweet… just like cement… (laughs)
AL: Our relationship only lasted 48 hours because we only dated for 48 hours before we broke up. (laughs). So we wanted to make it funny. What sucked though is he made that tweet and then we went on the plane. So we had no service!
CB: Not intentionally, but we understood after how that could be confusing for everyone considering I just tweeted, “Hey, Chrisalyss is over.” So let me go back to her hometown with her, hang out and have a good time.
AL: People don’t realize how close we are anyway. Like, him coming back to Florida even though he just broke up, it was the best thing we could have done.
CB: It was because we said – even when I was evicted – I remember Alyssa in her message, she said, “You’re my best friend inside the house and I hope you’re my best friend outside the house.” And that stuck with us because that hasn’t changed at all.
Us: That makes sense now. Yeah, it was hard to tell that Alyssa was in on the tweet too.
CB: We were literally sitting on the plane figuring out this tweet together.
AL: We were on the plane giggling about it. It was so funny.
CB: Like, “Should we do it? Should we post it?”
AL: We’re, like, cracking up about us breaking up as the best thing we could’ve done. And we’re laughing and people around us at the airport are probably like, “What the f—k is going on? Enjoying a breakup right now?” We probably looked crazy, but whatever.
CB: It’s what we needed and we definitely don’t regret it.
Us: So it’s good Christian flew out for the finale so you guys could sort through that.
CB: Yes. I think both of us are understanding. I think both of us think that everything happens for a reason. And so I flew out and everything that was supposed to happen happened, and it’s for the better.
Us: Is there potential down the road or is that off the table right now?
AL: Right now, we’re just friends. We’re not closing that door because you never know what could happen and you should never close the door with anyone, I don’t think, because who knows what could happen. But, as of right now, we are just strictly friends. But we’re like best friends, best buddies.
CB: We talk every day. We are best friends. But, no one can predict the future. I think that’s pretty much what we’re trying to say.
AL: We don’t want to say, “No, it can’t happen.”
CB: And the last thing we want to do is say, “Yeah, the potential is there.” Then we put ourselves in a situation where the pressure’s back on.
AL: Yeah, we’re just hanging as friends right now.
Us: How did the rest of the cast react?
AL: I don’t think they were shocked.
CB: Yeah, they really weren’t.
AL: They know we’re on opposite sides of the U.S. He has a career with modeling and acting, and I have a business to run. There’s just no time for it, even if we really wanted to try.
CB: I think we can both laugh about it, but it was too perfect in the house. I think every single person in the house was like, “All right, this is some type of honeymoon phase s—t.” And it was. In the house, it was perfect. And that’s not necessarily how life is. Life isn’t perfect.
AL: In the house, the biggest responsibility is voting someone out every week. You don’t have family and friends and businesses, and things like that, that are all included. And me coming out of the house much later, and right off the bat with this Chrisalyss, and all this stuff, it was a lot.
CB: I think it’s safe to say people were much more shocked to see DX [Derek Xiao] and Claire [Rehfuss] together than they were to see ….
AL: …Us break up (laughs).
CB: Yeah, than to see us break up. It sucks to say. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Us: Speaking of, what did you guys think of Derek and Claire’s news? Alyssa, I know you were roommates with her in jury so you knew.
CB: Alyssa wing-womaned it.
AL: Honestly, they had such a good friendship in the house. They bonded really, really well, just like Christian and I did. But they never went to that level, ever, but you could just tell they were best friends and that’s where the best relationships come from. So, I wasn’t shocked. And then, in jury, I was the wingman. I’m their third wheel, their designated third wheel. I was probably the least shocked because I knew about it. But, when they’re together, they’re just best friends and that’s the best relationship you can have.
CB: I was just as shocked as you guys because I didn’t see it in the house at all, besides the fact that they clearly had just a genuine friend connection. I didn’t see the romance side of it at all. And so, on finale night, when I met up with Alyssa, that’s one of the first things she let me know. She was like, “You’ll never guess.” And then I found out and I was just as shocked as everybody.
AL: They weren’t romantic in our house. But when she told me they were having feelings in the jury, I wasn’t shocked because of how strong their friendship was. They’re the cutest.
CB: They are.
AL: They are so cute.
Us: Alyssa, where do you stand with Xavier? He had a crush on you in the house and I’m sure fans are curious. Is that awkward at all?
AL: What people don’t understand is – I mean, especially with our cast. Our cast is so close. Christian and X were my No. 1 allies in the house, and my best friends in the house, and who I talked to the most. I don’t know if people just need me to be in some type of relationship or something, but everyone in that house, I am strictly friends with, just like Christian. X and I are just really, really good friends as well. I mean, when Christian left, I followed X around, I was like his shadow (laughs). I just followed him around everywhere because I had no one else to hang out with – not really though. But no, we’re just friends.
CB: The issue with social media is that everyone can take it however way they want. Especially with all eyes on you, it’s something as simple as Alyssa is cold, for example, and I gave her my sweatshirt. When someone sees that, it’s like, “Oh s—t, they must be together.” No, she’s my friend and she’s cold. Am I supposed to let her suffer?
AL: Which we would do with anyone. I mean, I told Christian, I was like, “We can’t be upset that people are wanting to dig into it because we’re the ones that got in a showmance on a TV show.” So, of course people are gonna ask. And that’s why I was honestly glad that you messaged us about doing this. So we could kind of clear the air because there are questions nonstop. But everyone is just so, so close. X and Christian are just my best friends from the house.
Us: Christian, you and X always had a good relationship too.
CB: Oh, my gosh. I mean, X and I had the best relationship. We still do. I’m so happy I was able to spend so much time with him this weekend because I felt like in L.A., he was still so wrapped up in the show. Although it ended, as the winner, I didn’t even get to really hang out with him. And so this is the first time I really got to enjoy the time, just like it was in the house. That was my boy. He still is my boy. I missed him.
AL: That’s the showmance. Everyone’s asking if I’m dating Christian or X, they are dating each other.
CB: Yeah, how about me and X?
Us: Alyssa, tell me about your swimwear line, Molliebird. What are you working on these days?
AL: Ever since I got back home, I’ve been just grinding at my office for MollieBird and working on the next collection that we’re hopefully launching soon. Just getting back in the swing of things and being back at the office, and just taking it day by day. We just did a new photo shoot. There’s going to be a bunch of new photos coming out with that. I’m just getting excited about launching the next collection.
CB: I saw, it’s good! Be prepared.
Us: And how about you Christian? I saw some modeling shots!
AL: Some booty pics (laughs)!
CB: Yeah (laughs). I was modeling before the show and I’m going to continue to model, but my primary focus has always been acting. I’m hoping that with a little bit more recognition that I have from this show, I’m hoping with my team that we’re able to utilize it and work toward a bigger career in acting. That’s always been my focus, specifically film. We got the right team behind us to make it happen. Just like anything, it comes down to time.
Us: Are you guys done with reality TV or would you do Big Brother again?
AL: I would do Big Brother again. I’m a superfan of Big Brother and I went as far as I possibly could. I love the show, so I wouldn’t ever want to turn down any type of opportunity, especially when it comes to my favorite TV show. So, I would do it again. Would you do it again?
CB: I’d like to not be pre-jury again. So if I come back, that’s my goal. Survive one more week. I could be a week six nominee and I’ll be happy. I would 100 percent come back. I’m pretty sure I made it clear on the show, or I’ve said it multiple times in the show, that my application was taken from Survivor. So I would love the opportunity to be on Survivor. Like how Alyssa feels about Big Brother – of course, Big Brother will always be special to me – but that’s how I am with Survivor. I have that superfan connection with Survivor. So I’m hoping to have that opportunity one day, but we’ll see.
Us: I feel like The Challenge will be calling you guys.
AL: I love The Challenge. I think I would suck at it though (laughs), honestly. I think I’d be too scared to do certain things. Big Brother, those comps are way, way easier than The Challenge. But again, I wouldn’t want to turn down any type of opportunity. I’ve never seen Survivor. I’ve seen The Challenge, so I feel like I would do The Challenge if asked because I’m kind of familiar with it. That would be cool if I did it with Christian, or me, Christian and X. I think that’d be awesome.
CB: Me and X discussed it. Me and X definitely would…
AL: What about me?!
CB: That’s the first time you ever said it to me!
AL: Yes, I did! The Challenge?!
CB: That’d be really awesome. I think I need to do something a little more physical. My social game was not really the best on Big Brother (laughs), so if I can get on a more physical show, I think I would have a better chance.
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