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Ever since Helen Adams first made eyes at Paul Clarke during the second series of Big Brother in 2001, contestants quickly cottoned on to the fact that a romance – or, perhaps more fittingly, a showmance – is a good way of sailing through to the end of the series.
Admittedly, finding love under the full glare of a reality TV camera crew might not seem like everybody’s idea of the perfect start to a relationship, but you’d be surprised at just how many past housemates have been hit by Cupid’s arrow under the watchful eye of the Big Brother cameras.
While many BB pairings went on to eventually fizzle out in the outside world, often after just a few weeks, it might surprise you to hear which ones have managed to stay together – a couple even tying the knot once leaving the Borehamwood bungalow (to varying degrees of success, we should probably add).
As the show celebrates its 20th anniversary, we’re feeling a little nostalgic, so here are some of the most memorable (and shocking!) Big Brother romances ever...
Lee Ryan and Jasmine Waltz (CBB13, 2014)
Blue singer Lee Ryan became notorious during his stay in the CBB house for his love triangle with actress Jasmine Waltz and glamour model Casey Batchelor, which made him pretty unpopular with the British public.
He and Jasmine went on holiday to Thailand once their time in the house was through, but it ultimately wasn’t to be, and she later branded him a “damaged soul with no money or career”. So... no second holiday, then?
Michelle and Stuart (BB5, 2004)
The pair have the honour of being the first couple ever to have full sex in the Big Brother house, after Michelle famously made them a cosy den underneath the dining room table. Romantic, eh?
Michelle and Stuart became close fairly early on in the series, briefly hitting the rocks when she was moved into the BB bedsit, leading to the iconic quote: “No naked jaccuzi-ness!!”
Steven And Kimberly (BB15, 2014)
Long before Love Island returned to our screens, Kimberly and Stuart caught viewers’ attention with their under-the-covers action, which we’re sure we’ll never forget (no matter how hard we’ve tried).
Kimberly and Steven even kept their romance going in the outside world, tying the knot in 2015. Sadly, it wasn’t to last though, with reports suggesting that they had called it a day just months after their big day.
Helen and Paul (BB2, 2001)
As mentioned, this pair gave us the original BB love story, which is still our favourite.
Helen and Paul flirted throughout their time in the house but never acted on it because of her boyfriend in the outside world, Big G.
However, once they were both evicted – with Big G famously snubbing Helen’s return to the outside world – Helen and Paul stayed together for a number of years, calling it a day in 2006.
Mikey and Grace (BB7, 2006)
Although they kept it low-key inside the house, Mikey and Grace have actually gone on to become one of the few BB couples to last in the outside world, and are now married with children.
Stephanie Davis and Jeremy McConnell (CBB17, 2016)
Arguably the most tumultuous reality TV relationship since Katrina Amy Alexandra Alexis Infield clapped eyes on Peter James Andrea in the I’m A Celeb jungle all those years ago.
Stephanie Davis and Jeremy McConnell had a forbidden romance in the CBB house, due to the fact she was in a relationship at the time, but made a go of it in the outside world. It wasn’t to last, although they do now have a son, Caben.
Pete and Nikki (BB7, 2006)
It seemed at some point or another every woman in the Big Brother house fell under the charms of Pete Bennett, but it was ultimately Nikki Grahame who snagged the energetic raver... for about five minutes, that is, until the magazine deals dried up, and she found herself single again.
The two seem to be on good terms, though, and have since had two on-screen reunions when she returned to the house for Ultimate Big Brother and Big Brother: Timebomb.
Chantelle and Preston (CBB4, 2006)
Chantelle and Preston got swept up in a whirlwind romance while shacked up with Michael Barrymore, George Galloway and the late Pete Burns, but sadly their story ended in divorce – but not before one infamous walk-off from the set of Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
Cruelly, fate thrust them together again as they both wound up in the Ultimate Big Brother house in 2010, and while many (including Chantelle, apparently) were hoping it might lead to a reunion, it sadly wasn’t to be. However, they remain good friends, and appeared in a New magazine photoshoot together in 2020.
Hughie and Ryan (BB17, 2016)
They were an unlikely match, but Hughie and Ryan proved all their detractors wrong, staying together and even getting engaged in the outside world.
As of 2020, it seems the two are still together, with Ryan tweeting in February that they were off to see the Pussycat Dolls together.
Luisa Zissman and Dappy (CBB13, 2014)
After leaving the house, Luisa and Dappy claimed to be “in love” with one another, despite their frequent blazing rows in the CBB house.
She later revealed it was a purely staged showmance they’d gone through with for money from the inevitable magazine deals that followed.
Saskia and Maxwell (BB6, 2005)
Maxwell spent weeks pursuing Saskia in the house, but the on-screen romance didn’t make them especially popular with the British public.
He claimed in 2017 that if he’d never started up with Saskia he’d probably have won the series, rather than disco dancing Geordie hairdresser Anthony Hutton. We’re less than convinced.
Daley and Hazel (BB14, 2013)
It seemed like these two were really on the verge of something wonderful... that is until Daley was removed from the house for his “threatening and aggressive behaviour” towards Hazel while they were isolated in a secret room as part of a task.
Marco and Laura (BB17, 2016)
Theirs wasn’t exactly a romance, but we’ve included them because their week-long shenanigans got 2016′s series of Big Brother to a hair-raising start.
Very public boob-biting, choking, and sex in the bedroom all took place in a matter of days, followed by one very quick eviction for Marco.
Marnie Simpson and Lewis Bloor (CBB18, 2016)
The two reality stars seemed like love’s young dream during their time in what was undeniably the raunchiest series of Celebrity Big Brother ever (they even shared a manager – what an unlikely coincidence!).
However, things took a downward turn after they were evicted, and they are no longer together.
Chloe Khan and Stephen Bear (CBB18, 2016)
That same series, Chloe and Bear hit the headlines with their saucy antics, culminating in a visit from his girlfriend, to break up with him face to face for humiliating her on TV.
It clearly didn’t affect his popularity, though, with the former Ex On The Beach star beating the odds to be crowned that year’s winner.
Jay and Louise (BB12, 2011)
This BB pair married not long after they were both evicted, but less than a year later they’d called time on their relationship as they felt like they “didn’t get on”.
Chanelle and Ziggy (BB8, 2007)
Embarrassingly, Ziggy broke it off with Chanelle on national television using the line “it’s not you... it’s me”. We’re cringing still to this very day.
Chanelle’s private life has kept her in the spotlight in the years since, though, going on to date fellow Big Brother alum Jack Tweed and former Take Me Out star Ryan Oates.
Edele Lynch and George Gilbey (CBB14, 2014)
No, we can’t quite believe it happened either, but it did.
The Gogglebox star and B*Witched singer briefly hooked up during their time in the CBB house, though it was not the stuff of lasting romance.
Josie and John-James (BB11, 2010)
Self-professed “randy mare” Josie and Australian Beckham-lookalike John James spent most of their final weeks in the BB house laying around with their microphones off.
Josie even ended up breaking out of the Ultimate Big Brother house to be with him, though it didn’t last, with Josie later claiming he made too many comments about her weight.
She is now an occasional presenter on This Morning, while John-James was last seen on the Aussie version of Love Island.
Jamie O’Hara and Bianca Gascoigne (CBB19, 2017)
Jamie and Bianca’s growing closeness hit a snag when it emerged that she actually had a boyfriend in the outside world.
Although they vowed to make a go of it, there was another turn of events at the end of the series, when Jamie revealed he wanted to go back to his ex.
Kinga and a bottle of Shiraz (BB6, 2005)
Sorry, we just had to.