Ross and Rachel. Jim and Pam. Bert and Ernie. There’s no more tantalizing TV character dynamic than that of the “will-they/won’t-they” couple, the seemingly star-crossed pair that are clearly perfect for each other, if only they could get their acts together and see the romantic potential that’s right in front of them.
Now in its fourth season, Bravo’s hit franchise spinoff Below Deck Sailing Yacht is proof that even a reality TV series benefits from that relationship tension. Chief stew Daisy Kelliher and first mate Gary King have been a part of the series since its premiere in 2020—and they might be the subjects of the most entertaining will-they/won’t-they relationship on TV right now.
The show follows the yacht’s crew members, as they cater to the whims of demanding charter guests as the yacht, the Parsifal III, sails through the waters of various paradises (Greece, Croatia, Spain, and now Italy have played host to the series’ exploits). Running parallel to the trials and tribulations of appeasing the guests is the equally compelling narrative of the crew’s interpersonal relationships. Close quarters and plenty of alcohol acts as a powder keg for such drama. There are arguments, hookups, bruised egos, and surprising friendships. In the case of Daisy and Gary, there’s been all of the above.
When they started on the show together, the pair immediately butted heads and couldn’t stand each other. But their tiffs evolved into a mutual respect for each other’s work, which led to a charming friendship and at least one drunken makeout session (that we know of). Daisy and Gary’s flirtations and incessant teasing of each other has become the fascination of Below Deck fans, all curious as to just how far their relationship has gone behind closed doors—and why they won’t just become a couple, already.
“It’s like a little story that you’re watching on a film—what are they and will they get together—and then you want the happy ending in the end,” Kelliher tells The Daily Beast’s Obsessed. “Unfortunately, this is not a scripted film. We can’t give everyone what they want.”
I’ve seen the hot and cold of their relationship firsthand. I moderated the Below Deck panel at last year’s BravoCon, where, after shameless flirting with each other—to the audience’s delight—King stripped off his shirt and strutted around in front of Kelliher on stage, as she blushed. “I’m not actually too sure what happened there to be honest,” King tells Obsessed, laughing. “But yeah, I love to give people what they want.”
The duo’s relationship is only getting more complicated. On Monday night’s new episode of Sailing Yacht, Kelliher grills a frustrated King after he hooked up with another member of the crew. “Daisy doesn’t need to know anything about my kissing life, because every time I’ve hooked up with a girl Daisy tries her hardest to cock-block me,” he says in his confessional. “She doesn’t want me and she doesn’t want anyone else to have me. It’s fucking weird.”
So where do these love birds stand? We talked to them separately—King calling in from Mallorca, where he was joining another charter; Kelliher from St. Maarten, where she was on holiday—to get their respective takes on why everyone that watches the show is so obsessed with their relationship.
Will They, or Won’t They?
There are two things that fans scrutinize about King the most: his hair, and what’s really going on between him and Kelliher. As for the hair, “I think I need a haircut, to be honest,” he says. “There’s definitely mixed reviews on my hair. Maybe I should start a poll and see whether I should cut it.”
As for Kelliher, that’s a more complicated story.
“I think people are fascinated by our relationship because of how far we’ve come from Season 1,” he says. “We were almost like a brother and sister with how we were at each other’s throats fighting and arguing over everything, to then hooking up and kissing in Season 2. And also our work relationship [has changed], how we’ve gone from where we were to where we are now and having such a good, professional work ethic with each other.”
When it comes to the fans’ preoccupation with their relationship status, Kelliher thinks it’s because “nobody saw it coming.” That includes her: “I don’t think I saw it coming, especially the makeout in the hot tub.”
That their dynamic has been hot and cold over the years also makes their connection seem more real on TV. “It’s a bit more relatable than those kinds of gushy couples,” she says. “They’re like, ‘I love you. I love you.’ Most people don’t experience that kind of gushy love, but they do understand an unexplained attraction.”
Still, there’s a standard curiosity about a relationship that simmers across a few seasons of reality TV, and then there’s the intensity with which fans talk about and are invested in Kelliher and King. The show’s viewers are constantly messaging the pair, asking them if they’ve ever had sex—particularly when it was revealed that they were at the same hotel in London for a virtual reunion taping last season. It’s an entitlement to ask crassly about strangers’ personal lives that most of us never encounter. Even Andy Cohen has directly asked them if they’ve had sex.
“To be honest, it’s not only the fans” that ask them the intimate questions, King says. “Some of my best friends talk about it, too. One of my best friends, Danielle, actually said to me, ‘Gary, I’ve known you since you were born. I can see there’s a connection between you and Daisy. Is anything going to happen?’”
He said no and brushed her off. But she wouldn’t relent.
“She was like, ‘I know you well enough that I can see when you speak to her and when you guys hang out that there is actually a connection,’” King continues. “I think the viewers can see that. I’m not sure what Daisy says about that, but I still honestly believe there is chemistry there and we do have a connection. Viewers can see that and I think people love a good love story.”
Is that, like, a proposal of a relationship? “I’m not saying it’s not going to happen,” King says. “I think people will love that, seeing how a relationship could start with us being at each other’s throats, to actually being in a relationship. I think it would be quite a cute love story.”
Complicating that cute love story, of course, are all of the other women.
While it was shocking when King and Kelliher made out for the first time, it was not surprising that King was making out with one of his Parsifal III coworkers. In fact, King seems to be constantly hooking up with his coworkers, which has caused all kinds of issues with the crew dynamic throughout the run of the show—and, as Monday’s episode suggests, has certainly complicated his dynamic with Kelliher as well.
His hookups have been a mess that King has had to answer for across multiple seasons now, especially during the cast reunions. One would imagine that a person would watch all that drama back and think, “I’m not going to even flirt with one of my coworkers,” when they return for a new season. Then there’s King’s approach, which seems to be to make the same mistakes all over again.
“You should talk to my mom,” he says. “My mom’s like, ‘Gary, if you do another season, don’t sleep with every girl.’ I’m like, ‘Mama don’t say that!’ I don’t know what it is. It must be something in the water on Parsifal. I mean, in my everyday life, this doesn’t happen.”
But maybe some leniency is in order. While fans are often baffled—frankly, even concerned—by how much drinking and, as such, booze-driven hooking up there is on any given season of Below Deck, Kelliher swears that’s just yachtie culture.
“We really work hard and play hard,” she says. “You pull these insane hours. Then, with the hooking up, it’s inevitable. And I’m sure it happens in all kinds of office spaces, where you’re working closely together. Here, you’ve got a bunch of good-looking people and you’re all drinking. It’s gonna happen.”
That said, she does agree—at least on this one point—with King: There must be something in the water where these Below Deck casts are filming.
“It happens a little more often on the show, because you think, ‘I’m only there for six weeks,’ so it’s not that awkward to hook up with guys,” she says. “Whereas there are jobs that I’ve been at for a few years. I pick those situations a bit more carefully because the consequence is bigger. But, yeah, on Below Deck, I’ll make out with you. We’ll be gone in six weeks. I don’t really care.”
She laughs. Yes, the horniness might seem more escalated on Below Deck. “But if you come and hang out in Florida, you’re gonna see a yachtie crowd real quick, and you’re gonna see them party pretty hard.”