Third-Wheeling With Paige & Craig, Bravo’s Reigning Power Couple

Forget gifts, touch, or acts of service — Paige DeSorbo and Craig Conover’s ultimate love language might be gossip. And when you comprise reality TV’s hottest new power couple, uniting two fan-favorite franchises of Bravo, the gossip finds its way to you pretty quickly.

“People want to tell us things,” says DeSorbo, breakout star of Summer House, which follows the rosé-fueled parties and hookups of a group of friends in the Hamptons.

“Dude. This is how it’s been my whole life,” interjects Conover, an OG cast member of Southern Charm, a docu-soap about Southern gentility with drama that is anything but gentlemanly. “People just confide in me. It’s a powerful position to be in, but you can’t abuse it. Because then people will stop telling you stuff.”

We’re at EJ’s Luncheonette in Manhattan, where DeSorbo lives and Conover spends much of his time when they’re not in his home base of Charleston, debriefing on BravoCon (“You could pick up on who was [a favorite],” Conover says — like his Southern Charm co-star Madison LeCroy) and spicy intra-network mingling (“I’ve definitely heard a lot of crossover hookups,” DeSorbo teases). You’d think Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift just walked into the diner based on the number of turned heads and brunching Upper East Siders whose tables go silent as they start furiously texting their friends.

“I’ll hear things and be like, ‘I can’t wait to see Craig’s facial expression when I tell him,’” DeSorbo, 31, says.

“My parents’ rule is that they tell each other everything,” Conover, 34, says, “and I think it’s a good practice to have.”

You don’t need to be a Bravo scholar to want a piece of what Conover and DeSorbo have going on. They’re undeniably couple #goals to Gen Z girlies who otherwise think such hashtags are cringe. For starters, the pair’s prom-court good looks are even more apparent in person, where you can see just how wide Conover’s dimples stretch and the utterly blinding nature of DeSorbo’s smile. (Gazing at the couple, one diner admirer asks, “Are they real?”) On Instagram and TikTok, their goofy lip-syncs to clips from Rugrats and the Beckham doc demonstrate a real sweetness — proof that it’s possible to make couples content that isn’t embarrassing. “The longer the caption, the shorter the relationship,” DeSorbo advises.

They’re like if the popular kids from your high school grew up into people you actually wanted to hang out with. She’s the budding fashionista (her pantless looks at BravoCon were firmly on trend) and co-host of the hit podcast Giggly Squad with Summer House alumna Hannah Berner. “My career is for the girls and solely for the girls,” she says. Luckily, Conover is the kind of boyfriend who’s down to tag along to your mani-pedi appointment or (respectfully) crash girls’ night, when he’s not running his pillow-based lifestyle company, Sewing Down South, and on his way to becoming the bro Martha Stewart. “I want to build my empire parallel to Paige building hers,” Conover says.

Empire-building isn’t easy. But picking the partner to do it with, Conover and DeSorbo suggest, should be. At the end of the day, who’s the person you want to hang out and talk a little sh*t with?

“I love how personable he is,” DeSorbo says. “He truly can talk to anyone. He just walks into a room, captivates it, and he genuinely is so nice. Sometimes it’s too much. He’s too nice.”

Conover’s take: “She really likes me for me, and I am pretty weird and quirky. I struggle with tics and OCD and my routines and don’t feel like I have to hide anything from her. It makes my soul so calm. There’s not a better feeling than having someone you can be yourself with.”

“So what you like about me is about you?” DeSorbo asks. “That’s so Craig. That’s a Craig answer. He had to get me two birthday cards this year, because one of them was basically all about him.’”

“It was a joke!”

“‘Happy birthday,’” she says with a loving eye roll, “‘Here’s why I like what you do for me.’”

The timing never seemed to work out for DeSorbo and Conover at first. They met in 2019, when Conover made a guest appearance on Summer House, but DeSorbo was in a relationship. Two years later, they reunited on the first season of spinoff series Winter House, but it was Conover who was off the market. They’d each sensed sparks but buried their crushes. So when DeSorbo got word Conover had split from his girlfriend after Winter House wrapped filming, she got to scheming.

“Because I’m a Scorpio, and I’m sneaky and manipulative when I need to be, and I knew that he was a little bit more shy and nervous,” she says. She planned a trip to Charleston with her brother, his girlfriend, and Summer House co-star Ciara Miller. “I texted him and said, ‘Oh my God, so crazy, I’m going to be in Charleston. What a small world! We should hang out.’ So we hung out that first weekend and then kind of just continued to hang.”

We’re not going to dim our light to make someone else comfortable.

It took a little time to figure out what they were, long-distance-style. “I love that we have done our relationship in this slow, sustainable way that continues to put one foot in front of the other,” Conover says. But both knew it was something special. “I had that moment where I was like, ‘This is either going to be the person I marry or the hardest breakup I’ll ever have,’” DeSorbo says. “But I’d rather date him and know.”

“It’s like owning a dog,” Conover reasons. “You’re like, ‘Do I want to buy it…’”

“Am I the dog in this scenario?” says DeSorbo, channeling When Harry Met Sally.

“Because the dog’s going to die, but then you miss out on all the good years with the dog!”

One of the joys of watching Conover and DeSorbo is the way they fuel each other’s growth. They level each other out: She brings out a softness in him, sanding down his early-season combativeness, and he brings out an endearing sincerity amid her free-flowing sarcasm. They also level each other up. “Craig and I have a lot of conversations about our brand,” says DeSorbo, who previously juggled fashion writing with work as an executive assistant.

She started thinking about her platform the moment she signed onto Summer House: “I wanted people to go to my Instagram and say, ‘Oh, I know what she does: She does fashion, hosting, she’s gossipy, she can put together an outfit for less.’” DeSorbo went into the show, she says, hoping to channel some Simple Life-era Paris Hilton. But while she claims to aspire to a life of glamorous leisure — “Bed is my favorite place,” says the woman fans have nicknamed a “bedsore sister” — her hustle and unflappability give her next-gen Bethenny Frankel vibes.

It’s funny that anyone thinks that we could have an affair.

“Bravo really is like its own cult,” says DeSorbo, who recently made Variety’s list of the 40 most powerful women on reality TV. “You do get these followers, you do get people stopping you on the street, and I just think it’s stupid, for lack of a better word, to not try and build a business and career that’s long-lasting after you’re done being on TV.”

In the early seasons of Southern Charm, Conover’s brand was that of a flop: his drama-filled, meandering journey to taking the bar exam after graduating from law school made him a punching bag among his castmates. This has only made his eventual wins sweeter to viewers: Since launching in 2019, Sewing Down South has sold in places like HSN and Wayfair, and with his relationship with DeSorbo bringing him closer to settling down, you get the sense on the current season of Southern Charm that some castmates are a little shook by the Craigaissance.

“You’re always going to trigger people the more you work on yourself,” Conover says. “We’re not going to dim our light to make someone else comfortable.”

So when they become the subjects of the gossip themselves — a few of Conover’s co-stars, usually in moments of obvious (and alcohol-inflamed) pettiness, have baselessly accused DeSorbo of cheating on him — the couple pay it little mind.

“It’s funny that anyone thinks that we could have an affair,” he says.

“Could you imagine having two boyfriends? The admin!” DeSorbo shrieks.

“We’ll see those accusations pop up, and I’ll be like, ‘Am I having an affair that I forgot about?’” Conover adds.

DeSorbo: “Hope he’s hot and rich.”

On television, sometimes through tears, DeSorbo and Conover have worked through the questions every long-distance couple has to answer: What city will they live in? When will they get engaged? What about kids? More unspoken: How do their shows fit into all of this? Their relationship marks the first time two active stars of separate Bravo programs have been in a long-term relationship.

“Everyone was like, ‘Thanks for forcing our hand on this. This is a new chapter of Bravo.’ Now that we started to date, it’s the Marvel Universe,” Conover says of he and DeSorbo essentially becoming “friends of” (that’s Bravo-speak for a recurring guest) on each other’s shows. Is there a financial perk to their two-show arrangement — and thus an incentive to stay long-distance?

“I mean, look, I’m not stupid, honey,” DeSorbo says mischievously.

“We’re only together for the money,” Conover deadpans. “We’ve been hiding it for two years.”

The longer the caption, the shorter the relationship.

In conversation, at least, the two aren’t sweating those big questions — especially when fans are so appreciative of how they set their own timelines. “I love when I get a DM from a girl who’s 34, not married, doesn’t have children, has been dating the same guy for a couple of years, or maybe is even a single,” DeSorbo says. “It’s like, ‘Thank you so much, because I feel so much pressure from society, my family, and my friends that are married and having kids.’ But you don’t have to do that just because you turned 30.’”

The couple did consider tying the knot earlier this year while in Las Vegas for BravoCon. “I said, ‘Let’s go do it in a chapel,’” DeSorbo says. “Craig chickened out, though.”

“I’m not going to get married in Vegas,” he answers bashfully. “I want something more real than that.”

“What’s more real than me, you, and Elvis, honey?”

DeSorbo doesn’t see herself having kids “until I’m 36 or 37,” she says. “I’ll do what I want to do when I want to do it. If that means I’m having a baby [then], great. I’m going to be so much more well-dressed.”

Because, by Conover’s calculations, she’ll be on her way to running the world by then. “She’s a driven person,” he says of his other favorite DeSorbo quality. If and when they start a family, “she’s going to work until she’s financially free in her own right and build a company. I can’t wait to be a stay-at-home dad.”

“That will never happen,” DeSorbo playfully scolds. “If you have time to be a stay-at-home dad, you have time to get a second job.”

Will they graduate to their own spinoff one day? They’re not so sure. Even the biggest Bravolebrities can struggle with the jump from an ensemble cast to their own project — Jax and Brittany Take Kentucky, anyone? — and there are other TV formats that appeal to them.

“If Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos want to retire, we’re here for it. We’ll take it over,” DeSorbo says. Ripa has long been a career inspiration: “I’ve always wanted to skin her and wear her like last year’s Versace.”

Conover sees the vision, too. “If Bravo wants to do a morning show, I would love to do it with Paige.” After all, what job could be better than gossiping with your best friend?

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