Skip to main content

Graham Norton and ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Star Tina Burner Had a ‘Disaster’ Romance

Long before Tina Burner was a competitor on "RuPaul's Drag Race," she was in a relationship with British TV host Graham Norton. Years later, Norton went on to become a judge on "RuPaul's Drag Race UK." Their relationship was filled with highs and lows

RuPaul’s Drag Race is no stranger to romances behind the scenes — and sometimes, on camera. On the show’s thirteenth season, New York queen Tina Burner spoke about her relationship with another Drag Race fixture: Drag Race UK judge and longtime TV host Graham Norton.

Tina Burner
Tina Burner attends the world premiere of “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!” at Flamingo Las Vegas on January 30, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic

Graham Norton and Tina Burner had a ‘whirlwind’ romance

In his 2014 memoir The Life and Loves of a He Devil, Norton called their relationship a “whirlwind romance” and described Tina Burner (whose name out of drag is Kristian Seeber) as “tall and broad-shouldered with an easy smile that took up half his face.”

Norton’s friends didn’t necessarily approve of Tina or their relationship, but “what they couldn’t see was the special spark that fires within him,” the Irish TV host said. He went on to say that if the Season 13 queen “were to be judged solely on his behavior, then I concede he was not great boyfriend material.”

Graham Norton
Graham Norton attends the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 at Royal Albert Hall on February 02, 2020 in London, England | Mike Marsland/WireImage

Tina Burner moved in with Graham Norton

Norton and Burner dated for a few months in the early 2000s before taking a break. Soon afterward, they got back together and Burner moved in with Norton across the pond.

According to Norton, it was an “experiment” that went horribly wrong. “The experiment lasted for about six months and it was a disaster,” the TV host said. Finally, Burner was the one who called it quits, breaking up with Norton over lunch. Norton recalled walking home and “finding some comfort in the fact that a man in his mid-forties could still feel such heartache.”

Tina Burner
Tina Burner of “Shade: Queens Of NYC” at Build Studio on December 7, 2017 in New York City | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: Which Singer Has Had the Most Lip Sync Songs in the Emmy-Winning Show’s History?

Tina Burner discussed her relationship with Graham Norton on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Given Norton’s connection to the RuPaul’s Drag Race world in recent years and Tina Burner’s casting on Season 13, it was only a matter of time before the New York City icon mentioned her relationship with Norton.

When Rosé references Burner’s “fling” with Norton, Burner corrects her by clarifying that it was a full-fledged relationship. She went on to discuss their time together and had nothing but great things to say about her ex.

“Graham is so famous, he’s at that level where your life is just like put on a platform. He’s such a great guy and it never ever got to him,” she remembered. “It was the most amazing thing.”

Still, Burner’s relationship with Norton took a toll on her psyche. It was before she was a famous drag queen, and as a result, people who saw their relationship presumed that she was in it for herself. “I remember people passing judgment on me right away when they don’t even know me: ‘Are you after his money? Are you this? Are you that?'” she said. “People want to draw their own opinions.”

Ultimately, Norton was happy with Burner’s career choice of drag. “It seems like the perfect job for him,” Norton wrote. “He gets paid to show off and drink.”