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Big Brother 23 houseguests Derek Xiao and Claire Rehfuss shocked the BB community when they revealed they began dating after connecting in the jury house. Many fans already saw sparks between the two during a conversation they shared shortly before his eviction.

Claire Rehfuss and Derek Xiao pose for 'Big Brother 23' cast photos
‘Big Brother 23’ houseguests, Claire Rehfuss and Derek Xiao | Cliff Lipson/Getty Images

Derek Xiao and Claire Rehfuss were allies during ‘Big Brother 23’

Brandon “Frenchie” French kicked everything off with what would become the most chaotic Head of Household reign of the season.

Therefore, Derek Xiao formed The Firefighters with close ally Travis Long, Kyland Young, and Claire Rehfuss to extinguish Frenchie’s fires. It only lasted a couple of days, but Claire and Derek X. quickly found themselves in more alliances.

During Week 2, his teammate, Brent Champagne, became the house target. Wanting to protect himself, he formed the Mafia with his other Aces members (Hannah Chaddha, Whitney Williams, and Derek X.) and Claire’s Queens, including Tiffany Mitchell and Kyland.

They agreed to the fake alliance in an attempt to help Brent feel safe. Additionally, the Kings (Christian Birkenberger, Alyssa Lopez, Xavier Prather, and Sarah Beth) aligned with the Queens and a lone Derek X. to form the short-lived Royal Flush. The two then worked with Tiffany and Kyland in The Detectives until Derek X.’s unfortunate backdoor in Week 7.

They announced they began dating after the show wrapped

Throughout their time in the house, the two were close allies and talked a lot of game with each other. However, they didn’t develop a romance until Claire joined him in the jury house a couple of weeks later.

In an Oct. 2021 interview with Us Weekly, she noted she made the first move and felt their relationship materialized organically as they spent a lot of time together off-camera.

While the two acknowledged they felt a spark between them during the game, Derek X. said he didn’t allow himself to “explore” anything with her at first due to Christian and Alyssa’s showmance making them a target. Claire agreed, pointing out it’s easy to get “wrapped up in the game” and not think about a romance.

During his time on the show, many fans thought Derek X. and Hannah had a thing for each other. He claimed he spoke to her about his and Claire’s budding relationship when she entered the jury house. According to Derek X., he and Hannah believed they had a better friendship, so things aren’t “awkward” between the trio.

Fans already thought they saw something between Derek X. and Claire during Week 7

After Derek X.’s backdoor, and it became fairly apparent he would leave that week, he and Claire talked outside on the hammock. While talking about other houseguests hiding their real jobs and identities, Derek X. asked for Claire’s real story.

She admitted she didn’t live in Estoria, New York, instead of residing in the wealthy Upper East Side neighborhood. Although she attempted to downplay it by insisting she lived in a “s—–” apartment, Claire stated she kept it to herself so others wouldn’t assume she’s rich.


‘Big Brother 23’: Where the Alliances Stand Heading Into Week 2 Eviction

Additionally, the Queens’ captain came clean about her profession, revealing she works in machine learning instead of quality assurance. After jokingly wrestling with her in shock, Derek X. admitted he would’ve considered Claire more threatening if she had told everyone about her career.

As he is a New York-based start-up founder who also works in tech, Derek X. commented they would likely remain friends after the show. Many fans clipped the conversation and began shipping the two then in Aug. 2021, noting they saw sparks between them.