A Guide To The Most Scandalous Relationship Drama On Below Deck

Yachting is supposed to be a relaxing (albeit expensive) activity. But when it's your job, it can be pretty hectic. Add a bunch of single people your own age and a TV crew? Setting out on a yacht becomes as dramatic as an episode of "Real Housewives."

And yachting appears to attract especially, shall we say, dynamic personalities. There's Rocky Dakota, who stripped down and spectacularly swan-dived off the boat because she was annoyed by a staffing change. Or Chef Rachel Hargrove, who delivered a rather colorful rant and stormed off the yacht after reading a client preference sheet that rubbed her the wrong way. Or Chef Mila Kolomeitseva, who didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with serving microwaved steaks or nachos made of basic chips, jarred salsa, and packaged cheese to yacht guests.

So is it any wonder that the cast members on various permutations of "Below Deck" have chaotic love lives? They sail, they serve drinks, they cheat on their off-screen partners and each other. When you're stuffed into bunk rooms with a bunch of hot, single fellow dramatic reality TV stars, there are bound to be some broken hearts.

Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux and Dani Soares' legal drama

When you're welcoming a new bundle of joy into the world, lawyers ideally should be the last thing on your mind. But for former "Below Deck Sailing Yacht" couple Jean-Luc Cerza-Lanaux and Dani Soares and their new baby, things aren't so simple.

In May 2021, Soares announced on Instagram that she'd given birth, and at a"Below Deck" reunion that aired one month later, she confirmed Cerza-Lanaux was the father. Cerza-Lanaux said he wanted to be in the little girl's life — pending a DNA test. "​​We've gone as far as me trying to reach out to her doctor's office," he told host Andy Cohen. "I don't think lawyers need to get involved. That is not the avenue I want to go." Again, not the type of thing most new parents want to be talking about.

But Soares and Cerza-Lanaux's relationship never was smooth sailing. As "Below Deck Sailing Yacht" viewers saw, they went through a lot on the show, including an STD scare. Soares appears to be focusing on parenting, per her Instagram posts. In January 2022, Cerza-Lanaux shared on Instagram that he is ready to be a dad to Lilly Rose. "As I look forward to this new year with new opportunities, I will be striving to be the best man and father that I can be," he wrote. "God bless."

Rocky Dakota and Eddie Lucas's laundry room dalliance

On the third season of "Below Deck," barely a drama-free minute went by thanks to staff firecracker Raquel "Rocky" Dakota — with an assist from queen bee Kate Chastain and grumpy Chef Leon Walker, of course. And before Dakota infamously jumped ship and swam to another boat to protest Walker's firing, she and bosun Eddie Lucas were enjoying a secret affair, frequently in the ship's laundry room.

Lucas actually had a girlfriend at the time, and his cheating with Dakota wasn't enough to end things. They attempted to work through his infidelity, but ultimately broke up. According to Distractify, Dakota moved to Hawaii and became a massage therapist.

Their ill-advised dalliance left a lasting impression on the "Below Deck" crews. "We now have cameras in the laundry room," Captain Lee Rosbach told Bravo, with Chastain adding, "They ruined it for everyone. This is why we can't have nice things, Eddie and Rocky."

Gary King's messy love triangle

The men of "Below Deck" seem to have a tough time staying faithful to their onshore girlfriends, and Gary King is no exception. The first mate hooked up with coworkers Alli Dore and Sydney Zoruba a few weeks apart. And if that wasn't awkward enough, he also had a girlfriend back home — and Dore was sick of ignoring it. "I don't know why everyone's just sleeping over the fact that Gary had a girlfriend when he came on board, and Sydney slept with him," Dore said on a "Watch What Happens Live" reunion. "A long-term girlfriend. There, I've said it."

King offered up a... confusing response. "We were in a very complicated relationship," he began. "I hadn't seen her for eight months prior to me coming on the show. Not seeing someone for eight months and growing apart for those eight months, do we put a label on that? No. We only look at the negative things that, yes, I had a girlfriend, and I did what I did."

Zaruba left the drama behind by becoming a travel agent, according to her Instagram, while Dore has welcomed her first child with boyfriend Benny Thompson, per People. Let's hope he doesn't have a secret girlfriend who he hasn't seen in eight months.

Brian de Saint Pern dumped Courtney Skippon over text

Getting dumped via text? Bad. Getting dumped via text when the person who's dumped you happens to be a coworker who you live with? And he's texting you from one room away? That has to be even worse than the infamous "Sex and the City" Post-It note dumping, which was previously the worst TV dumping (albeit fictional) of all time.

While they were just a room apart on the yacht, Brian de Saint Pern of "Below Deck" Season 7 texted Courtney Skippon, "So we havent spoken about whats happening w us after the season ends... What are your thoughts?" He then went on to inform her that they were "just having fun." De Saint Pern later admitted during a reunion that it was "a stupid move on my part, but I didn't mean it like that." Skippon shot back, "You decided to text me in the middle of a workday so I couldn't talk about it."

Skippon later said on fellow former "Below Deck" star Hannah Ferrier's podcast that she'd never return to the show because it was too "embarrassing." It's safe to assume many of her peers on this list would agree.

Hannah Ferrier connected with a guest

Hannah Ferrier and Christina "Bugsy" Drake have a reality TV feud to rival that of Bethenny Frankel and Jill Zarin — but it's a lot harder to avoid your arch nemesis when you both work on the same boat, no matter how big it is. And lucky for us, the Bravo cameras caught sparks flying between the two stewardesses season after season on "Below Deck Mediterranean."

One of their first big dust-ups occurred when Drake caught Ferrier flirting with — and then smooching — a paying guest on one of their trips. Ferrier was never shy about her attraction to the client, quipping in a confessional, "Is there anything better than a 41-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old's body with a 70-year-old's bank account?" She later confirmed to Bravotv.com that she'd kissed the guest, Jason Ziegler, while she was on the clock.

Drake was peeved at Ferrier for flirting with Ziegler, and then discovered they'd been using the yacht iPad to text after the guest dropped his phone in the hot tub. Yes, Drake got mad at Ferrier for information she found while going through a guest's text messages. Guess there's no maritime law against phone-snooping?

Conrad Empson and Hannah Ferrier's cigarette debacle

Hannah Ferrier's relationship with a crew member was no less scandalous than her fling with a charter guest. The perennial chief stew and her one-time bosun boo fell out due to an argument over cigarettes.

Empson bought Ferrier about 50 euros' worth of cigs and was peeved when she failed to pay him back in a timely manner. It exploded into Empson insisting that Ferrier must choose whether she wants a guy who gives her "giggles" and a guy who can buy her a nice car, and then accused her of "digging for money." Ferrier asked him not to give her an ultimatum while they were drinking on a night out, but it seemed the damage was done.

The couple ended up going their separate ways. "In my eyes, if you owe someone money, you owe them money, no matter if you're girlfriend or boyfriend or whatever, everything is equal and should be split. She had a different opinion on that one," Empson said at the time (per Express). But there's one more weird twist: As Showbiz CheatSheet noted in 2021, Ferrier pointed out on a fan account that Empson was linked to someone named Hannah Roberts — which will be Ferrier's married name when she ties the knot with fiancé Josh Roberts. What a world.

James Hough and Elizabeth Frankini's ups and downs

Stewardess Elizabeth Frankini and deckhand James Hough started dating in Season 8 of "Below Deck," but their partnership would prove not to be one for the books as Hough openly complained about Frankini instead of dumping her. In one episode, Frankini lamented the fact that Hough hadn't given her a kiss for her birthday. Hough, meanwhile, complained that Frankini was 30 and therefore looking for more, while he was in the "prime of [his]" at 26. A producer asked Hough, "Why don't you just tell her [how you feel]?" And he responded, "She's smart enough to know what's going on, surely." Great dating strategy.

And their doomed relationship actually ended in Frankini's firing. Hough and Frankini decided to sleep in a guest cabin one night instead of the more utilitarian staff bunks. Whether they did more than sleep or not, they apparently violated a big rule in yachting: the crew must get permission to use guest cabins. Even though he got a slap on the wrist, Hough said on the "Below Deck After Show" that staying in the room "was worth it."

Alas, Frankini was fired shortly after the guest cabin incident because she'd been allowing her relationship to trump her duties. Oops.

Jessica More said Robert Westergaard ghosted her

Some dating experts argue that the term "ghosting" is overused and that people who don't text back after one measly date don't necessarily owe you a reason why. But one thing's for sure: when you drop out of someone's life without a trace after half a year of dating and don't explain why, that is 100% ghosting and it's not cool.

But that's exactly what "Below Deck Mediterranean" deckhand Robert Westergaard did to Jessica More. After a romantic season full of guest-cabin stays and promises to travel to Bali together as soon as they could, it looked like they might be the rare "Below Deck" couple that would go the distance. As she shared on "Watch What Happens Live," they made it to Bali, but Westergaard attempted to "back out" on More at the airport. They somehow surmounted that obstacle, but would break up soon after. She also said "his M.O. apparently is ghosting."

At the reunion, More accused Westergaard of sending steamy texts to fellow crew member Aesha Scott, according to People. Westergaard claimed he had a "brother-sister" relationship with Scott, but the X-rated text didn't scream family values. More might be thankful that Westergaard pulled the disappearing act after all.

Kelley Johnson shut down after hearing 'weird rumors'

News travels fast on the "Below Deck" yachts, especially when that news is of the relationship gossip variety. So when Jennice Ontiveros told some fellow crew members she wouldn't mind moving in with fellow deckhand Kelley Johnson, it was only a matter of time until it got back to him — and caused a big misunderstanding.

"I was told she wanted to move in and all these weird rumors, but instead of talking about it with her, I put up walls," Johnson told Bravo's The Daily Dish. "I have a tendency to hop into relationships and get too serious too quickly, so I wanted to go slow when we got back to Ft. Lauderdale. Instead, it came out all wrong and she got hurt, and that's not what I wanted."

After her time on "Below Deck," Ontiveros settled in Los Angeles and, according to her Linkedin, has landed some production gigs. Johnson, meanwhile, followed in Captain Lee Rosbach's footsteps and has stayed busy working as a yacht captain, according to Bravo.

Adam Glick and Malia White fizzled after a preshow fling

Adam Glick of "Below Deck Mediterranean" let slip that he and Malia White had "gotten physical" before the charter seasons started, and it seemed like their brief encounter went to his head. White did say on the show that she found Glick attractive, but as "Below Deck Med" fans saw, she ended up starting a relationship with fellow deckhand Wes Walton instead.

Later, White implied that Glick liked her more than she liked him. "I realized, oh wow, this guy is far more invested than I got," White told Bravo's The Daily Dish. "We weren't in a relationship. We never dated. We hung out one time. So I think he was latching onto something that wasn't actually there."

At a "Below Deck Mediterranean" reunion on "Watch What Happens Live," Glick admitted to telling White he loved her early on, but said he'd gotten over it. That didn't stop host Andy Cohen from commenting on Glick's "misty" eyes, though. Old crushes die hard.

Jenna MacGillivray and Adam Glick needed to get a room

Chef Adam Glick became luckier in love when he started seeing chief stew Jenna MacGillvray. Glick moved to "Below Deck Sailing Yacht" after striking out with Malia White on "Below Deck Mediterranean" and it turned out to be a fortuitous switch. Glick joked on the show that if the chef and chief stew were to "go belly-up," it'd lead to "disaster." And yet, they decided to take a whack at it anyway.

They ended up hitting it off — maybe a little too much. Fellow stew Madison Stalker and Captain Glenn Shephard both complained about their touchy-feely vibes. But MacGillivray thinks they were being unfair. "I would go in in the morning and give him a kiss, and no one was there," she told Bravo's "The Final Word." "Or I'd be doing whatever in the galley or the crew mess, he'd come over and give me a hug. Like I said on the reunion, that was when I was finished with my shift. Some people have a problem with that, I get it, but I'm also not working."

It begs the question: could their relationship be the one "Below Deck" pairing that lasted? Turns out, no. Glick revealed on "Watch What Happens Live" that they'd gone their separate ways. Yet another crew couple, reduced to ships passing in the night.

Malia White found out Tom Checketts cheated

Bosun Malia White was adept at handling her chef boyfriend Tom Checketts' temper tantrums, and the two even colluded in a bunk assignment shake-up that annoyed most of the crew. They seemed like they'd be partners in crime to the end. But after COVID-19 disrupted the yachting season, White and Checketts ended up on different boats — and in Checketts' case, in someone else's bed.

"Yeah, we were, you know, working on different boats," she told Us Weekly. "It was in the pandemic [that] had just happened. So, it was impossible for us to see each other ... And, yeah, he found someone else on his boats, and I didn't know for a couple of months." She had confirmed their breakup a few months earlier on Instagram, but didn't spill the details until speaking to the magazine.

ScreenRant pointed out that Checketts stirred the pot, perhaps inadvertently, by leaving photos of them up on his Instagram in happier times. He must have learned this was a surefire way to stoke the gossip sites, because the photos are now gone.

Tanner Sterback spilled too many details

As we've established, relationship gossip moves fast on boats. And yet, when Tanner Sterback and Simone Mashile started hooking up on "Below Deck," he seemed determined to make it move even more quickly. He couldn't stop kissing-and-telling. Well, actually, it was more like third-base-and-tell. 

Sterback and Mashile got together after she confessed her crush on him and he openly told her he'd like to hook up. And then he told his coworkers what may or may not have happened between the two of them. Mashile protested that things didn't go as far as Sterback claimed, while Sterback maintained he "didn't kiss and tell." No one will know who's telling the truth in this scenario besides Mashile and Sterback.

One thing we all can agree on? Sterback probably won't be asked to join a dance troupe anytime soon. Even he admitted on an episode of "Below Deck After Show" that the moves he showcased at a resort pool were enough to turn any potential fling off. 

João Franco claimed Brooke Laughton cheated

João Franco and Brooke Laughton proved during the third season of "Below Deck Mediterranean" that Ross and Rachel from "Friends" aren't the only TV luminaries who have trouble agreeing on what a "break" is.

On the Season 4 premiere, Franco gave viewers update on their relationship status. "Things seemed perfect, and then I found out she cheated on me," he said. "I wanted to make it work even so, but she didn't want to. So, what can I do?" In an episode of "Below Deck After Show," Franco alleged that Laughton had begged him to come see her while they were figuring out whether they should stay together or not. Yacht hit the fan, however, when he learned she'd apparently connected with another guy. "I walked off, and that was the last time I ever spoke to her," he recalled. The Bravo cameras must have been furious they didn't catch that. In a statement to People, Laughton denied Franco's cheating allegations, calling the claims "very true to his character" and said they provided "some relief for his ego." 

Franco went on to become a boat captain, and Laughton's moved on, too. In 2021, she told Showbiz CheatSheet that she launched a company called Acclaimed with her sister. Oh, and she got engaged.