More than a year after the show premiered, the couples in season one of Too Hot Handle are grappling with dating outside of the reality TV bubble.
Some new couples were boosted by the final season of Too hot to handle it, but if season 1’s relationship longevity is any indication, these romances may be short-lived. The Netflix original series challenged young singles to put aside their physical desires without kissing or sex during a month-long retreat in a tropical villa in order to form deeper bonds, and this test resulted in pairings. successful for the original distribution. However, outside of the villa bubble, these relationships were strained.
At the end of the first season, three couples left the villa together: Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey, Lydia Clyma and David Birtwistle, and fan favorite “SharRhonda”, the couple’s name dubbed Rhonda Paul and Sharron Townsend. Nicole O’Brien and Bryce Hirschberg didn’t have many sparks during filming, but the two kindled a romance while staying at a hotel in Mexico with the entire cast shortly after the end of the season.
A few of the other members of the original cast had both on-screen and off-screen adventures, but none developed into full-fledged relationships. The first season of Too hot to handle it has definitely served its purpose of inciting romance between its actors, but in the face of the real world, those romances have rightfully become too much to deal with.
Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey
These two have always left fans guessing. The frequent flirtations between Farago and Jowsey throughout the season were a big will they won’t do for viewers, as well as a cause for hefty deductions from the cast’s cash prize. After filming was finished, the couple dated for several months, got matching tattoos, and Jowsey even proposed to Farago during the show’s virtual reunion, albeit with a Ring Pop. It looked like they could be the new reality TV couple. However, with the COVID-19 travel restrictions separating the two, distance has started to take its toll on their relationship. After breaking off their engagement and then dating for several months, Jowsey and Farago have broken up for good.
Farago posted an emotional YouTube video explaining the circumstances of their split, and the distance, which Jowsey said was the only factor, doesn’t appear to be the only reason for the split. In the video, Farago explained how the reality of their relationship was very different from what was portrayed to the public. “I don’t think anyone should be put in a situation where you are extremely unhappy and not treated the way you should be treated,” she said. In response to the backlash from Farago’s video, Jowsey shared his side of the story, explaining that he had simply fallen in love. The two exchanged social media jokes for a few months, which escalated into Jowsey threatening to sue Farago for causing a heavy loss of subscribers and damaging his brand. Regardless, at least one thing has remained constant in their relationship: it is certainly the most discussed of the season.
Lydia Clyma and David Birtwistle
As a late season lover, Clyma quickly caught Birtwistle’s attention when she arrived in episode six. The two spent less time together during the retreat than the others, but still formed a bond that seemed like it could really go somewhere. And unlike their long-distance counterparts, Clyma and Birtwistle are both from the UK. But alas, just like the actors abiding by the show’s genderless rules, it wasn’t meant to be. Birtwistle said O, Oprah magazine that they had decided to go their separate ways, but that he and Clyma still have a great affection for each other.
Nicole O’Brien and Bryce Hirschberg
While the main focus of the series was to forge emotional bonds, some of the strongest bonds of the first season cast have grown off-screen. Nicole and Bryce got to know each other better outside of the constraints of the series and kept their relationship a secret until the season was released. Sadly, like a few of their other cast mates, the stress from a distance began to tear their relationship apart. Hirschberg is based in California while O’Brien divides his time between London and Ireland, and after 13 months together the distance has grown too great. “After many unsuccessful attempts to get together due to quarantine and border restrictions, we decided that going ahead and staying friends would be our best option at the moment ”, Hirschberg said in an interview with People. Supposedly, the decision to end the relationship was mutual, although O’Brien did not publicly address their breakup and removed photos of the two of them from his Instagram.
Rhonda Paul and Sharron Townsend
After Townsend asked Paul to be his girlfriend for the season, fans were charmed by the new beau who met Paul’s son on FaceTime. It was one of the few moments in the series to bring real sincerity to the budding relationship. Although even this level of connection cannot overcome the obstacles that come with living far from each other. Paul and Townsend announced they weren’t together in an emotional reveal during the cast reunion, explaining that their communication ended after filming was over. Of the Season 1 breakups, this split seemed to be the friendliest. Paul claimed in an Instagram post that they were “cordial and happy” with their decision to separate and that the couple remained friends. Or maybe something more than friends, as teammate Nicole O’Brien said to Heart that Townsend wants to give the relationship another chance. While Paul has started a new relationship and wants to focus on his son for the time being, there may still be hope for SharRhonda.
It’s safe to say that Too hot to handle it gives its sexy singles plenty of connection opportunities (even when it’s against the rules), but for couples who left Season 1 together, that connection quickly died out after the cameras were turned off. The second season is now on Netflix, with the third having already completed filming. Does the same fate await all the couples in the series? Maybe in addition to the cash prize, contestants should get their own version of Virtual Host Lana to help provide rules to stay together.
Next: Too Hot To Handle: All About The Lana Digital Host
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