Leaning into love! Derek Xiao and Claire Rehfuss have Big Brother to thank for their relationship — but it wasn’t until they were both evicted that their romance took off.
The pair met in July 2021 while living under the same roof on season 23 of the CBS series. Following their respective eliminations from the house in August and September 2021, they got a second chance at love when they were in the jury house together for two weeks.
“I definitely liked Claire in the house. I knew that Claire was just my type,” Xaio exclusively told Us Weekly in October 2021. “I knew that from week one that Claire was my type, but I don’t know. I guess I just never let myself explore that beyond just a friendship.”
Us broke the news of the TV personalities’ off-screen romance in October 2021, shortly after the show crowned a winner in late September. (Xavier Prather was the season’s champion.)
Their showmance was able to flourish because there weren’t cameras documenting their late-night conversations while in the jury house as opposed to when they were competing in the main house.
“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,” Rehfuss told Us.
Xiao added, “I feel like I know Claire better than I know a lot of my best friends.”
The twosome told Us in October 2021 what they love about each other most after shaping their relationship behind-the-scenes of the CBS’ show.
“I think what I really like about Derek is just genuinely his humor. We do just really make each other laugh,” the University of Michigan alum said. “But then, also, I think Derek has one of the biggest hearts out of anyone that I’ve ever met. He just always sees the good in any situation. He sees the good in every single person. And he’s just so kindhearted. He just has so much love to give and takes love so well.”
Xiao, on the other hand, pointed to Rehfuss’ “fantastic” sense of humor as one of her best qualities.
“She never fails to put a smile on my face. She is one of the most fun-loving people that I’ve ever met. She has this saying, ‘Remember the rule. Have fun.’ And that is one of my favorite sayings I learned in the house,” the University of Maryland alum told Us. “She gave me a bracelet that has it and I wear it every single day. She also has an incredibly kind heart. The love that she showed for everyone in the house was completely genuine. So creative, just all the great things, I feel like Claire embodies.”
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