Are they on? Are they off? We've all been wondering the same thing about Made In Chelsea former flames Olivia Bentley and Tristan Phipps since their friendship blossomed into a somewhat rocky relationship in 2020, with the pair having announced their split on countless occasions.
But as OK! sit down for a chat with the SW3 favourites – who can barely keep their hands off one another on the sofa of Liv's plush Chelsea apartment – we are delighted to exclusively reveal that not only are Liv and Tristan back together (yay!), but they're also now roomies! Sign up – for free – to find out what really happened that long-anticipated night out in Chelsea where they crossed paths once again.
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Reminiscing on their decision to rekindle what was once considered a relatively rocky romance, 27-year-old Olivia jokes, “All it took was a drunken night in Raffles and a lap dance and we were back together!”.
"That’s not what happened!" Tristen, also 27, then laughs. "I was actually on a date – or a liaison, let’s call it – at that club one night, and then Liv walked in with her friends. I hadn’t seen her in person for around five months and I just thought to myself, 'Oh f**k, I’m still in love with her'."
Olivia made her debut appearance in SW3 back in 2016 when she was introduced as love interest for fan-favourite Sam Thompson. The years that followed saw the fine art photographer and businesswoman strike up romantic on-screen affairs with the likes of Alex Mytton, Francis Boulle, Fredrik Ferrier, Digby Edgley and Will Higginson.
Tristan joined the widely-adored E4 series just two years later, as the third of the James Taylor and Miles Nazaire musketeer trio. He soon began dating co-star Verity Bowditch before she called things off via text when the Coronavirus lockdown hit.
It was only when good friends Olivia and Tristan quarantined with pals in a Surrey country home in 2020 that unexpected sparks between them began to fly. "I often forget that we were friends before," Olivia admits. "I feel like we’ve been in love the whole time."
Tristan adds, "I’d never dated anybody that I’d previously been friends with – that’s what I found so terrifying at the time – so I thought I knew everything about Liv already, but I suddenly started learning something new about her that I loved everyday. She had this big tough exterior which she portrays on-screen, but this wall suddenly started to come down and I realised how unbelievably caring she really is."
Despite things seemingly heading in the right direction for Olivia and Tristan, living together on-and-off during the course of the pandemic led the duo to feel that the timing wasn’t right. And last year we all thought they’d called it quits for good. "Being almost 'forced' to live together during the pandemic – when we were also filming the show together as well – meant we couldn’t learn to love each other naturally," Tristan discloses. "Any normal lovers’ tiff was heightened in that environment."
"We both struggled massively with not being able to escape one another," Olivia agrees. “"here was no breathing room. And with the public chipping in at all of our decisions, despite only seeing two minutes of arguments on camera, we couldn’t cope.
"We’d just go for a walk in the park and someone would photograph us, send the pictures to the press and they’d claim we were having a huge argument. Things like that took their toll on us."
The pair then revealed it’s only now that they feel ready to settle down officially, by deciding to move into Liv’s flat together. "When we decided to get back together this time, we knew we’d be in it for the long run," Olivia reveals. "So, we thought, why delay? It just felt like the right time for us. We’re living together on our own terms now, so it’s been a lot more exciting.
"It would take a serious amount of arguing to break us up now – even if there’s always an abundance of laundry around our flat, or I leave my hair clips everywhere! I can’t imagine now waking up with him every morning – plus he’s a great chef and cooks all my meals."
Tristan then laughs, "We just work now. She’s the breadwinner and I’m a pro chef! We’ve now had this time apart to grow up, so now we’ve hit the reset, I can’t see anything getting in our way."
But does this include their fellow Made in Chelsea stars? The road to relationship bliss has never been easy for the couple, especially as they were consistently confronted with the opinions of the fellow castmates, including Olivia’s close friends and confidants Ollie and Gareth Locke, as well as Tristan’s former flame Verity.
"I think they’ve learnt not to say anything now," Olivia smiles. "As much as they said about us, it was never going to change the way we feel. We were never going to be swayed."
"They seem to have realised that there’s a real reason that we want to be together," Tristen adds. "What we do is only for us to decide, and I believe they’ve now come to respect that.
"I would have loved to get Ollie and Gareth’s blessing – I’d have loved for them to support our relationship – but actually, we don’t need it." Olivia agrees, "Ollie and Gareth were a hard one, because obviously I’m so close to them and they mean so much to me. It was difficult at one point to choose between the two."
Though they might not have received the go-head from their TV pals, the pair say that knowing their families accept their relationship means more to them than words. "They absolutely adore her," Tristan beams. "And I know this might sound strange, but I think my mum sees herself in Liv. They’re both strong, independent women, they don’t need anyone looking after them. Even when we broke up, she was Team Liv!".
Liv then laughs, "My parents love you as well. It’s tricky because I’ve got four siblings and they’re all very protective, so Tristan was very nervous about coming back to our house." "Sunday dinners at yours were intense!" Tristen exclaims. "I had a few problems with your sisters when we started going rocky, but I handled it eventually."
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What’s next on the cards for Olivia and Tristan? "Definitely not a baby!" Olivia jumps in. "People keep asking me when I’m having children, but we’ve only been back together for three months."
Tristan chuckles, "We’re at a really interesting time in our lives where we’ve both just launched great businesses, and the future is looking exciting for us now, but we’re not succumbing to any pressure to do anything fast."
But with their co-stars James and Maeva D’Ascanio set to welcome a baby later this year, pal Tiff Watson having just married and power couple Jaime Laing and Sophie Habboo preparing to tie the knot, Olivia admits that she previously "struggled not to compare" her life to theirs.
"When I first heard that all my friends were getting engaged, it made me feel really sad. I couldn’t help thinking, 'Oh my god, we’re at that age, but I’m not ready'," she explains. "But now that Tristan and I are back together, we know what our future holds. I’m still young and I’m so happy. Being a young mum doesn’t appeal to me."
"We don’t feel the need to rush into anything," Tristan adds. "The nature of the show means they’re always looking for the next big storyline, so that adds some pressure, but we’ve got our own timeline and we’re going to follow that."
So, what do the lovebirds make of their close pals settling down? "Some have definitely taken steps earlier than they should have because of pressure from other people," Tristan hints with a smile.
"We weren’t surprised by James and Maeva’s announcements, because we’ve learnt that you never really can be surprised by Maeva as she’s such an interesting character. But was I surprised by James’ proposal? Yes I was.
"I’ve known James for six years now and when I first met him, he was an absolute animal. He was the last man standing on every night out and was quite the ladies man, and I think everything suddenly moved quite quickly for him after he got together with Maeva. From moving out of London, getting engaged and now having a baby, I don’t think it was expected. But saying this, I’m very happy for him."
With 10 years of Made in Chelsea between them, fans of the show have been wondering whether they should expect Olivia and Tristan to soon be saying their goodbyes, but the pair agree they’ve still got a few more seasons left in them.
"I’m really happy with where we are right now," Olivia reveals. "My work is going great, I’ve got Tristan and my friends by my side, what more could I want?"
Well, we hope you both stick around for a lot longer yet!
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