“[Tori] happens to be my neighbor in Miami. She’s 15 minutes away, of all the places in the world you could live,” Sebastian, 29, exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, September 15, one day after his elimination from the reality series.
Sebastian shared that he and Tori, 30, “spent some time” together in Croatia, where season 2 of The Challenge: USA filmed, after the season wrapped. “[We] got an Airbnb and rented a catamaran,” he said, noting that “a couple other contestants” joined them.
Although Sebastian revealed that it “felt like [he and Tori] were falling in love” during the trip, the pair haven’t put a label on their relationship.
“We don’t wanna date,” he explained. “We don’t need this title. Tori has so much going on in her life. She’s writing a book and she’s so focused. But we get together a couple times a week and we have a blast. So, to keep that relationship going and just have her in my life is really special.”
Sebastian, who had a showmance with Jenna Bowman during season 36 of Survivor in 2018, went into his Challenge: USA experience with no intention of finding love. However, that changed “as soon as I saw” Tori.
“I didn’t want anything to do with a girl,” Sebastian explained. “But just immediately my eyes were like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s beautiful.’ … We would flirt every day and then it [got] to this point where we couldn’t separate [from] each other. Like, were magnets. “
One of Sebastian and Tori’s competitors this season Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio exclusively told Us last month that he thought the duo’s romance was “a great play for Sebastian.”
Johnny, 41, continued: “This guy’s coming in as a rookie, what better way to find protection and kind of also get a great storyline right outta the gate than falling into a showmance with pretty much the female face of The Challenge at this point.”
Despite Johnny’s characterization of their dynamic, Sebastian says his feelings for Tori had nothing to do with strategy.
“Obviously I realized working with her was definitely beneficial. … But that wasn’t my goal,” the Survivor alum said. “It wasn’t my intention to fall in love with a vet like that just for gameplay. [I] definitely liked her and she liked me back.”
Sebastian wasn’t much of a Challenge viewer until recently, but he did admire Tori, who won The Challenge: Ride or Dies earlier this year, from afar before they met.
“My sister is a major [Challenge] fan,” he told Us, explaining that his sister previously showed him the 2019 Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 episode where Tori got engaged to her ex-fiancé Jordan Wisely. (The former couple called it quits and called off their engagement in November 2020.)
“I watched that episode and I was like, ‘She’s hot, she’s definitely a badass.’ And I kind of forgot about it for three years,” Sebastian recalled. “But then I see her on the f—king jet ski [that she arrived on with the other veteran players]. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God. Of course she’s here and she’s beautiful.”
While Tori is still in the running for the Challenge: USA season 2 Final, Sebastian’s time on the show came to an end when he lost to Chris Underwood during this week’s elimination round. Despite not making it farther, Sebastian told Us that he has no regrets about the way he played the game.
“I really did enjoy my game. I’m proud of myself and I can’t wait to do it again,” he said.
The Challenge: USA airs on CBS Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET.