Warning: The following story contains spoilers for Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle.
In the spring of 2019, Netflix took a bunch of extremely attractive people, shipped them to a tropical retreat, and told them they’d win money by not having sex with each other—the goal being to form deep, lasting connections based on more than just physical chemistry. The experiment resulted in the new reality show, Too Hot to Handle, and for some of the contestants, it really worked: case in point, Sharron and Rhonda, who seemed to be the show’s strongest couple by the time the finale rolled around. (Sorry, Harry and Francesca. Y’all were dramatic as heck.)
If you—like us—finished Too Hot to Handle with a strong desire to protect Sharron and Rhonda (a.k.a. “Sharhonda”) at all costs, you’re probably wondering where the couple is now. Are they still together and going strong, or did they break up in the year since filming wrapped? Men’s Health interviewed both cast members separately to get the lowdown on their relationship—including what their status is today.
Rhonda says Sharron’s personality made her attracted to him from the start. “He was really outgoing,” she remembered. “He was super goofy, and as they would say, he had a lot of ‘banter.’ I am a crap-talker. I talk a lot of junk—I like to goof around. Right in the beginning, I’d shoot jokes at him, and he was able to give it right back. It was kind of refreshing to know there was somebody similar to my type of vibe and personality.”
For Sharron, the attraction began with a kiss early on in the show. “Rhonda kissed me in the first game we played—when we were blindfolded,” he recalled. “You know how they say sometimes you just feel a spark? After that kiss, I was blown away.”
Unfortunately, getting it on was off the table, thanks to Lana. Sharron initially resented the show’s omniscient robot overlord, who deducted prize money whenever cast members hooked up with each other: “That’s the longest I’ve gone without having sex since I lost my virginity!” he said. But over time, as he attended the self-improvement workshops and learned to express his emotions, he found himself growing closer to Rhonda than he ever could have imagined—closer than they ever would have gotten if they’d met outside the show.
“I don’t think I would have opened up and begun to put the effort in … if it wasn’t for the workshops,” he said, adding that if it hadn’t been for the retreat, “I wouldn’t have allowed myself to get vulnerable enough to even see she was a good enough person for me.”
Rhonda tried to imagine how their relationship would have played out if they’d met in the real world. “We probably wouldn’t have lasted long,” she joked. “He would have come at me like a player, and I would have been like, ‘Boy, no.'”
Instead, she found herself opening up to him about her son, and even introducing them over FaceTime.
“It really was very suspenseful,” she said. “My son, he’s not the nicest all the time when it comes to his mommy, and especially males. His dad is very active in his life, so that’s kind of all he knows. When another person comes in, he’s like, ‘Mommy, who’s that?'” (Thankfully, her son eventually responded to Sharron’s question. “When he finally said ‘two,’ that was a big step,” she said.)
By the end of the retreat, Sharron and Rhonda were talking about how to keep their relationship alive post-Too Hot to Handle. One potential obstacle was that he lived in New Jersey and she lived in Georgia, but they agreed they wanted to keep building their connection, and that they’d take things day by day.
“You look too far ahead, you’re going to miss a lot,” Sharron said. “We were going to take things one day at a time when we got outside the retreat.”
As for how it went…
Sharron and Rhonda confirmed they broke up in July 2019, and they haven’t seen each other in person since Too Hot to Handle.
Sharhonda is no more, which is a travesty, honestly. Both said the long distance and their busy schedules made it hard for the relationship to thrive outside the show.
“I was working three jobs,” Sharron said. “I’m the breadwinner of my family; I take care of my mom and my younger brother, who’s in college—it was just a lot. I was just going through a lot at the time, and it caused me to take a step back.”
Rhonda also feels like breaking up was the right call. “Coming from the show and jumping right back into real world, it was overwhelming for him, I would say,” she explained. As they struggled to move their relationship forward, they realized, “We didn’t want to drag it along and have it become something worse … It was just like, it was hard to build that trust from that long distance.”
But now for a bit of good news: Sharron and Rhonda are still on great terms. After their breakup, they still talked on a weekly basis, and now that they’re in quarantine with a lot more time on their hands than usual, they’re FaceTiming nearly every day.
“He’s very supportive of me and I’m very supportive of him,” Rhonda said.
“I’m still a work in progress,” Sharron admitted, “so it’s been great to have somebody who’s so understanding.”
As for what the future holds, Rhonda says she’s taking what she learned on Too Hot to Handle and “re-analyzing” an existing relationship in her life. “There is someone special that I talk to right now that’s been a part of my life for a few years … but it never progressed to that level,” she said. “… I’m re-analyzing that relationship and taking [Lana’s] approach to it this time.”
That’s not to say Sharhonda can’t rise again to greatness. According to Sharron, the pair had plans to visit each other this year—and then the pandemic hit. We asked if there was still hope for the two of them in the future.
“Definitely,” he said.