Big Brother Hookups Fans Won't Ever Forget

When George Orwell introduced the world to his frightening, dystopian take on the future in 1948, he probably didn't realize that reality TV would market that vision as fear for fun and profit. Quicker than you could say "thoughtcrime," the phenomenon known as "Big Brother" would dominate the airwaves, as viewers eagerly eavesdropped on contestants who abandoned their privacy rights, and took on their roomies for a huge cash prize. Well, over two decades later, "Big Brother" still draws audiences peering into the lives of candidates hoping to reap the rewards of taking a shortcut to achieve the American Dream, as long as they can survive the obligatory thinning of the herd.

And what does it take to win "Big Brother?" It's simple. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Lie, backstab, or create conflict, if it's to your advantage to do so. Or, as some of the randier competitors have done, sleep with a contestant to solidify a relationship, whether it be strategically or romantically. Unfortunately, it's a strategy that seldom works, but to the show's network, CBS, that doesn't matter. Turns beneath the sheets often generate great ratings numbers and make for interesting water cooler conversations the day after, not only for the titillation factor, but also in how such couplings elevate the drama among the rest of the residents sequestered in the guest house. Here's a look at some of the most scandalous hookups in the show's history.

Alyssa and Kyle (Season 24)

Season 24 of "Big Brother," had its share of OMG moments, but nothing could get viewers gaping wider than the time when contestants Kyle Capener and Alyssa Snider decided against getting it on in more surreptitious confines than, say, one of the guest house beds. Nope, these enterprising amours opted for the bottom of a drained swimming pool, on top of a butterfly-shaped float with a few blankets and pillows to obscure the "Big Brother" lenses from transmitting more graphic details. As far as quickies go, it was like a blink-and-miss event. "I want to say we just had sexual intercourse for 10 seconds," Capener said to Snider on a "Big Brother" feed. "Sorry I didn't last very long like regular sex, but I like you and I like having sex with you and if you want to stop, we can." 

Despite that brief, physical connection, Capener and Snider carried on. And while the pool tryst didn't seem to generate much animosity among the contestants, Capener's idea for a white-players-only alliance were deemed racist enough to get him evicted from the guesthouse later during the series. "I made some generalized thoughts early in the game, and mid-game, that definitely had no grounds and no place in the game, which are unfortunate," said Capener after he was turfed (per ET). After the season ended, Capener and Snider continued as a couple, even vacationing together in Europe, until they split in January 2023.

Holly and Jackson (Season 21)

Jackson Michie and Holly Allen got physical in the "Big Brother" guest house, which morphed into one barn-burner of a romance. Against all odds of a couple making it to the season's dramatic conclusion, the two managed to reach the finals of the reality TV show's 21st season. Michie won the competition that year, edging his other half, and seemed philosophical about walking away with both a title and a girlfriend. "Whatever happens, happens," Michie said to ET during the night of his victory, "and if her life and my life are able to coincide synergistically and do our thing together, then great. But regardless, she will always be in my life." 

On the other hand, Allen was upset that the show focused more on what happened between her and Michie on the mattress instead of her own strategy for trying to win the game. "As a woman, I wasn't shown as the strong one," Allen later lamented on Instagram. "My relationship was shown more than my character. There's so much that defines me that I thought I was showing the world. But hey, that's reality TV. I knew a lot would be out of my control." But what reality TV had joined together, real life had torn asunder a year later, when Michie announced their split in 2020. "Life has continued to work in ways neither of [us] expected," he posted on Instagram, "and sadly life will be taking us in different directions."

Raven and Matt (Season 19)

During Season 19, you didn't need to be a forensics expert checking out headboard indentations to discover that "Big Brother" contestants Matt Clines and Raven Walton were doing the nasty throughout the series. No sooner did the cameras start rolling to launch the first episode than the two felt fireworks about to detonate between the two and it didn't take long for the two to christen their corner of the guest house. "We were together in the house for 72 days," said Walton to Us Weekly about the relationship. "We couldn't get enough of each other!" she adds. "We looked at each other like we were cake."

If anyone needed more convincing evidence about that hookup, competitor Kevin Schlehuber unwittingly discovered it while taking part in Hide-and-go-Veto, a name-card treasure hunt granting immunity to the lucky seeker. "I lifted up a mattress and there were condoms," recalled Schlehuber on an episode of the "Dirty Reality" podcast (per Soap Dirt). "And I was like, they can hide the veto thing but they can't hide the condoms?" Adding to the ick factor was that he found some of those prophylactics had already been used; apparently, the randy twosome felt that trying to dispose of the items might have aroused suspicion. While that controversial cache is now immortalized in reality TV history, the same couldn't be said for Clines and Raven after the season ended. The two split up a year later, with Clines marrying someone else in 2022.

Jessica and Cody (Season 19)

In 2017, Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf didn't waste any time giving the bed springs in the "Big Brother" guest house a real workout. Amidst all the friction taking place throughout the household, Nickson and Graf were rubbing each other in far more amorous ways. "I am just extremely happy to be with her," said Nickson to ET about his cozy relationship with Graf while still in the competition. "I haven't been around somebody I trusted for who knows how long. So, I'm just happy to be around somebody I can trust." Graf stuck by her man, even when Nickson was at odds with pretty much every competitor during the season. "Everyone in there is such a damn clown," said Nickson to Us Weekly after he was evicted from the guest house. "So, I don't know if that's what people want. It's not me, I'm just not like them."

Graf also failed to grab the "Big Brother" title, but stayed with Nickson after the season ended. Together, they were far more fortunate when they won a far more physical reality TV competition, "The Amazing Race," in 2018, splitting a $1-million purse between them. And with that sense of adventure still top of mind, Nickson shortly after created a video of himself running up a mountainside outside Los Angeles, where he proposed to Graf on a hiking trail. Obviously, she accepted, as the couple married and have since brought three children into the fold.

Zakiyah and Paul (Season 18)

Season 18 of "Big Brother" raised an interesting debate about whether a "showmance" is legit if caught on camera or if innuendo is enough to pass the smell test. Such was the case with Paul Calafiore and Zakiyah Everette, who paired up and entertained audiences with plenty of hugs, kisses, massages and cuddles, but apparently nothing explicit. Interestingly, after Everette was evicted, Calafiore bragged to others that the two had at one point reached the hookup stage. He probably wouldn't have been as fortunate with other female contestants like Da'Vonne Rogers. "When we all weren't charmed by him and all his words, I think that scared him a little," she said to BuzzFeed about calling him out for sexist behavior. "I'm glad I scared him, to be honest."

Everette claimed that she used Calafiore to stay in the game as long as possible. "I don't know how it looked, but I feel like I used him to my advantage, and it has gotten me this far," she said to Entertainment Weekly. "It just so happens that I am linked to him, so I am guilty by association, and I am out of the house." Calafiore was long gone shortly thereafter. The two had a short-lived relationship before Calafiore gravitated towards a romance with former "Bachelor" and "Bachelor in Paradise" player Danielle Maltby. That relationship crumbled in the wake of Calafiore allegedly having an affair with "Challenge" contestant Cara Maria Sorbello. The two are reportedly still together, as of this writing.

Liz and Austin (Season 17)

What happens when you staple a few pages from a Disney script to the production notes of a decidedly unscripted reality TV show? As it turns out, you get a rather screwy (pun intended) turn of events for "Big Brother" competitors Austin Matelson and Liz Nolan. Matelson in particular was bewildered when he initially coupled with Nolan, who in a twist echoing premises of the more family-friendly flick "The Parent Trap," used her twin sister as a stand-in. Producers were in on the gag, while the rest of the competition remained oblivious until they were told about the two Nolans.

Of the two, only Liz hooked up with Matelson, whom it turned out was a taken man while competing on the series, "I knew this game would most likely be the divide that ended our relationship one way or another," said Matelson to The Hollywood Reporter about his previous girlfriend. "I still never imagined being involved in a showmance,  but over time, getting to know Liz as a person, we connected in a way I never connected with someone and we fell in love." That romantic flame was extinguished months later when Nolan broke the news on social media. "Unfortunately, yes, Austin and I ended the relationship," she tweeted. "I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for him and just as our #liztin romance began in the bb house — we started out as friends and I hope we can remain the same."

Kaitlin and Jeremy (Season 15)

Jeremy McGuire and Kaitlin Barnaby created mattress fireworks almost immediately during the show, but they could also be cited for being one of the most toxic couples that the "Big Brother" guesthouse ever accommodated. In a show where confrontations and backstabbing were pretty much compulsory courses of action to win that lucrative cash prize, that takes some doing. It didn't last long. For openers, competitors cited McGuire as sexist, racist and homophobic. He was among houseguests deemed abhorrent enough for CBS to issue a release, declaring (via TMZ), "We certainly find the statements made by several of the Houseguests on the live Internet feed to be offensive." Barnaby, meanwhile, was certainly no angel, having gotten chummy with a few other female contestants who became provocative enough for "Big Brother" host Julie Chen to call them the "Mean Girls."

Either way, the "showmance" didn't last long. Within a few weeks of "Big Brother's" premiere, McGuire was evicted, despite denying his behavior. "Yeah, I'm not racist, sexist, or homophobic, so I mean, I guess everything can be taken out of context," he later said to Entertainment Weekly. Less than a week later, Barnaby was sent packing. "It comes down to it just being a game," she said to The Hollywood Reporter after being evicted. "I definitely was a hard competitor, so I think it was fair enough. If I was in their position I would do the same thing."

April and Bryan (Season 10)

Probably the most candid couple that ever hooked up were Bryan Ollie and April Dowling who came from rather different schools of life. Ollie was the son of a preacher and was virtuous to a fault. April, on the other hand, certainly had a flirtatious nature to her, even letting an older competitor feel her breasts during her first day in the guest house. Whatever chemistry developed between the two happened rather quickly as they were literally joined at the hip within days, oblivious to what the surveillance cameras were capturing. They didn't limit their trysts on the bed either, sometimes going all out in the living room. But viewers were also titillated by the pillow talk that was safe enough for CBS to show. "No matter what, you're going to be a part of my life forever," Dowling said to Ollie during one of those sessions. "Like, forever, right? Even when I'm 65."

Their time together on "Big Brother" didn't last long, when both were bounced from the household after a few weeks. "Our relationship is wonderful," said a then-freshly-evicted Dowling to TV Guide about her romance with Ollie. "He was definitely my best friend on the show. We were able to share a lot of moments together, and he was able to take my mind off of all the chaos that was going on in the house." Unfortunately, their attempt at a post-show relationship tanked after six months.

Chelsia and James (Season 9)

Chelsia Hart and James Zinkland made the most of a twist introduced by producers of the ninth season of "Big Brother" in that the 16 sequestered competitors would not vie against each other for the summit. Instead, each male and female houseguest were partnered to add a twist to otherwise individual strategies and alliances. Additionally, and presumably to add a bit of spice to boost ratings, teammates also had to sleep in the same bed. Hart and Zinkland definitely connected under the sheets by episode six. "James is an awesome guy," Hart said at the time."Day by day I develop feelings. I mean, he grows on me a lot more, so we'll see."

But a few weeks later, those affections withered in the hurt she experienced when Zinkland won a Power of Veto and immunity from expulsion, leaving Hart to fend for herself when it came to eviction. During episode 20, Hart was evicted unanimously; not even her partner supported her during the voting process. Later, after returning home to Mason City, Iowa, Hart had no animosity over Zinkland's contribution to her demise on the show. "We care about each other a lot," she said to The Courier. "He is an amazing person, and we will be lifelong friends." As far as her immersion into the reality TV experience was concerned, she added, "It was totally different than what I thought. There is really no way you can prepare yourself."

Jen and Ryan (Season 9)

Ryan Quicksall and Jen Diturno were already dating each other when they entered the reality TV competition, which fit the couples vs. couples premise of this unique ninth season of "Big Brother." But there was one catch: They both had to keep their romantic backstory secret from the rest of the houseguests while being paired with other contenders. On that pivotal first day in the house, Quicksall wound up with houseguest Allison Nichols, while Diturno teamed up with Parker Somerville. The changing dynamics of the game compromised Quicksall and Diturno's urges to get it on together, although they managed to have an intimate moment in the bathroom at one point. 

But by the second episode, Diturno felt paranoid and let Somerville know about her relationship with Quicksall. Three episodes later, she and Somerville were evicted. "If I could do it all over again, I don't really know what I would do," Diturno said to host Julie Chen after leaving the house. Quicksall made it to the final, settling for runner-up status. His success, however, didn't transfer well to his relationship with Diturno after the season ended. In 2008, Diturno announced that she and Quicksall had broken up after he allegedly cheated on her. "Some may say that reality TV changed us, but in actuality, it changed him," blogged Diturno. "Everyone expected me to come back soaking up my 15 minutes of fame and instead, Ryan is soaking it up!"

Natalie and Matt (Season 9)

It's no secret why three couples managed to do the horizontal tango during the ninth season of "Big Brother,' since a format change required houseguests to compete as couples instead of the previously tried-and-true skirmish involving individuals, which suited Natalie Cunial and Matt McDonald quite nicely. On the first day, Cunial definitely had the male contingent's attention when she said, "I'm a bikini barista, I make coffee while wearing a bikini!" Which prompted McDonald to respond, "I'm not a coffee drinker, but for her, I'd make an exception. Look at her, she's phenomenal!" However, it turned out that McDonald was hip to the physical part of the relationship, while Cunial totally believed she had found a true soulmate in the guesthouse.

Cunial was absolutely devastated when McDonald was evicted from the home near the end of Episode 17, although she managed to stay in competition for a total of 10 weeks, almost making it to the finale. She also had an easier time adjusting to life after "Big Brother," than her so-called soulmate. In 2010, McDonald was arrested for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend and indicted for taking part in a drug ring controlled by "Big Brother" season nine winner Adam Jasinski (via TMZ). "I'm not making excuses for my actions, nor am I saying that my drug addiction was caused from being on a reality show," McDonald blogged while still in prison. "I made bad choices. I chose to go down the wrong path."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Amanda and David (Season 4)

For those keeping statistics, the linkup between Amanda Craig and David Lane allegedly marked the first time a couple had sex in the "Big Brother" guesthouse, a tryst that came about under bizarre circumstances. For Season 4, producers opted for an "X Factor" that would see some houseguests face former boyfriends and girlfriends added to the mix. The alteration in the proceedings caused houseguest Scott Weintraub to violently freak out upon seeing his ex, Craig in the competition — enough to be permanently removed from the premises. 

Craig, on the other hand, found solace with competitor Lane, and within a week, the two engaged in a steamy rendezvous in the Head of Household room after being granted immunity from expulsion. The undulating quilt captured by night-vision lenses left little to the imagination. Alas, the honeymoon turned out to be brief after Craig was voted out of the house a week later. When host Julie Chen asked Craig about any prospects that the two would see each other after the show was slated to end, she responded, "I would love to see David again. I think he's an amazing guy, and you know, we'll see we'll see when we get out." Unfortunately, they never carried on together after that. "Amanda and I have lost touch since we both lead very different lives," said Lane in Big Brother Home. "We hung out a bit after the show, but that's about it."