An unexpected boatmance! Malia White and Jake Baker‘s romance took Below Deck Mediterranean viewers by surprise — but the couple originally formed a bond behind the scenes after meeting during season 6.
In June 2021, Malia, 31, returned to the hit Bravo series and confirmed that she was no longer dating chef Tom Checketts. At the time, the Florida native revealed that it was her decision to call it quits after fans watched their growing romance one season prior.
“Yeah, we were, you know, working on different boats,” she exclusively told Us Weekly in July 2021. “It was in the pandemic [that] had just happened. So, it was impossible for us to see each other. It was right when the show is coming out, it’s obviously a lot going on in our lives. And, yeah, he found someone else on his boats and I didn’t know for a couple of months.”
Malia admitted that she wasn’t looking to date when she joined Below Deck Med for the third time. “I think I even told David [Pascoe about the split, explaining] that everything with Tom and I was falling apart right before we filmed this season,” she continued. “I was a mess coming into it and I was just like, ‘You know, I don’t really want to even see men right now.’”
Although the bosun was single onboard, she didn’t rule out a relationship with someone in her industry, adding, “The people you work around are the ones you build these close relationships with. And for us, these may be the only people we meet for months at a time. So, you naturally develop feelings toward people.”
One month later, the pair made their relationship Instagram official when Jake, 36, shared an Instagram photo of them kissing. Chief stew Katie Flood replied to the snap with a fire emoji, while stew Courtney Veale wrote that Malia and Jake “just broke the internet” with the sweet post.
At the time, eagle-eyed followers noticed that Malia and Jake previously enjoyed a double date with their former boss Captain Sandy. “What a wonderful evening! Played top golf with my love @captainsandrayawn and Malia White and friends ! So great to finally meet Malia in person, what an amazing soul! #maliawhite #belowdeckmediterranean #bravo #friendship #love #cuboulder,” Sandy’s girlfriend, Leah Rae, wrote alongside a photo of the foursome spending time together.
Scroll down to relive Malia and Jake’s offscreen romance: