Summer should be fun, but it can’t always be fun. It’s a lesson Kyle Cooke has learned over the last few years on Summer House, and season 5 is no exception. The Loverboy founder found himself at odds with housemate Hannah Berner over (on the surface) taking out the trash, but in reality, they were arguing about deeper issues.
"I think part of the challenge was just when you film with someone that's constantly podcasting and constantly on other people's podcasts, for better, for worse, the pot gets stirred," Kyle shares with ET over video chat, alongside his fiancée/co-star Amanda Batula. "A lot of s**t was talked prior to leading up to the summer, and it wasn't just about me. It was about almost everybody in the house."
"I think the beauty of Bravo is, there's Kyle's side, there's Hannah's side and then there's Bravo's side," Amanda adds. "They try to … show the closest version of the truth that they can fit into a 42 minute episode. So, I'm sure both parties feel like there's things missing or like that's not how it went down, but at the end … it was pretty much how it all transpired. We were all just kind of like, ‘What is going on?’"
Hannah let a little more of her truth slip out on the Everything Iconic With Danny Pellegrino podcast, revealing that her disagreement with Kyle had a lot to do with the fourth wall, the fact that they’re on a show together.
"My problem with Kyle is, the real issue is, he just like, really was trying to make me feel like his career’s the most important in the house," Hannah said on the podcast. "[And] that everything in my career I got because of him, and that’s what really set me off."
"That was after she told me she gets paid to be my friend," Kyle counters to ET. "Boom. There you have it."
Those nuances explain why, when things came to a head and Hannah stormed off because of a mention of her dad (who she brought up first), the blow-up didn’t make total sense to the viewers. Hannah apologized soon after -- but not before calling Kyle, who is 5’10”, a “leprechaun” -- much to the surprise of her castmates.
"I don't have falling out with friends," Kyle says, save for his friendship breakup with former co-stars Lauren and Ashley Wirkus. "When I do, there's usually another element. Sometimes the show goes to their head. Aside from the twins, I haven't had a falling out with a single person in my entire life. So, when Hannah offered up an apology, whether it was sincere or not, I was ready to take it."
"The last thing I wanted to do is bring the mood down in the house with Hannah and I fighting," he continues. "I'm there to have fun. Most people are there for the right reasons. I was fine taking that apology. Just literally never talking about our beef ever again."
"It was insincere," Amanda says of Hannah’s apology, in which she professed that Kyle is "the man," a statement she walked back on Everything Iconic.
"For a girl who rehearses her lines, that could’ve used a little more rehearsing," Kyle quips, as Amanda notes, "I don't think the rest of us really bought it."
"I thought it was sincere because I was expecting her to stomp up the stairs and continue making a scene because that's literally what she does, she makes scenes," Kyle recalls. "And she offered an apology, and it was a 180 from where I thought that was headed because she just got done telling me don't talk s**t about her family. I love her mom. I love her dad. I have no idea what planet she was on, but I was ready for there to be continued disconnect when she offered her apology."
Genuine or not, the apology is at least a bandaid to get the group to move forward. Kyle promises his beef with Hannah ended as soon as she grabbed his face mid-apology, at least on the show. It seems reliving the dramas and traumas of last summer isn’t helping in the here and now.
"At a certain point with Amanda's 'best friends' you'd think that would stop," Kyle says of dealing with criticism after criticism about his and Amanda’s relationship. "I mean, you referenced one podcast, she's been on a dozen. I mean, I don't know if she's trying to take the heat off herself..."
"I feel like Hannah has made it kind of clear how she feels about Kyle," Amanda interjects. "Have we spoken to her? No, but based off of what we're hearing and reading, I think Hannah's maybe made it clear where she stands."
Kyle and Amanda say they’re not holding a breath over receiving an invite to Hannah’s wedding to her new fiancé, Des Bishop. They found out the pair was engaged with the rest of the world.
"I was genuinely excited," Amanda says. "And I wanted to hear all about how it happened, and what went down, and how he asked, and how is she feeling? ‘Cause I know how amazing that moment is, and how you don't want to let it go and you're on cloud nine. And she didn't answer my call and said that she was at the DMV and then never called me back."
Hannah started dating Des just two weeks before filming season 5 of Summer House, creating a bit of a confusing timeline for the viewers, seeing as she came into the house with what seemed to be leftover feelings for her season 4 fling, Luke Gulbranson.
"We were scratching our head just like everybody else," Kyle admits. "She made a pretty big effort to fool all of us that her and Luke were in some type of relationship as season four continued to air, right? And, you know, literally came into the house saying, ‘We never put a label on it, but nothing ever really ended,’ but I'm like, wait -- but now we're, like, supposed to think that you were also talking to Des? And I understand where Luke's coming from in his comments and his interviews, ‘cause he's scratching his head just like us. But, hey, love is unpredictable. People find love in, in weird ways, you know?"
Differences aside, Kyle and Amanda say they’re very happy for Hannah, as they know what it means to find "your person." And -- as Amanda points out -- it’s not that uncommon to date multiple people at one time and then ultimately choose one. Still, it remains a Summer House mystery whether Luke and Hannah actually ever dated.
This week, Luke goes from girl drama to a boy brawl. As teased in pretty much every teaser for the season, things get physical between the guys after Kyle accuses Luke of loving "controlling females" after Kyle and Carl Radke attempt to get a straight answer from Luke over whether he’s still interested in housemate Ciara Miller.
"I'll give you the shortest answer: an entire night full of a lot of drinking," Kyle offers up as an explanation for the explosive confrontation. Even so, Kyle does admit that the drunk mind might speak the sober truth, as he stands by his accusation about Luke’s love of controlling women.
"It's oftentimes not only just the sober truth, but the truth that you don't have the courage to say until you're drunk," he says. "With that said, I think I'm also going off of limited information, right? So, going off of what Hannah is telling me, and we're going off of what Ciara is telling me, I'm also just making observations in the moment and I'm stoking the fire. I'm poking the bear."
"Carl and I, we really struggled sometimes to get Luke to give us a straightforward answer," he continues. "He has a habit of talking in circles … and so, in that moment, I was way too animated. That was way too emotional. But I was almost trying to get him to react. I was saying things to get him to try to come clean or explain himself. But of course, you know, it didn't go the way it should."
Luke reacted alright, storming back into the house after walking outside to cool off (it didn’t work), egging Kyle on to fight and yelling, "I don’t f**king like you" at his co-star, which just might be the meanest phrase in Luke’s home state of Minnesota.
"Look, we've never had a situation in all the years of filming where the producers have to actually physically get involved and get in between us," Kyle teases of what comes next. "Things really escalated really quickly and I'm actually a little ashamed of that. I think Carl and Luke both feel the same way and we were all good friends and kind of got our emotions, they got the best of us. But we'll have to see. It was actually more heated than I remembered when I watched the preview. … I was like, damn, we were this close."
Kyle says the night was "a blur," and while it might look summer-altering, it really wasn’t. Thursday’s episode also brings a tense confrontation for the girls, as Lindsay Hubbard gets activated over a psychic’s DM to Hannah, in which she claimed that Lindsay had sex with Luke prior to moving into the house for summer. In the mid-season trailer, a clearly heated Lindsay asks the girls, "Do you know who I am?" to which Amanda quickly replies, "Yes, you’re Lindsay Hubbard, not sit down."
"She's like a sister to me," Amanda says of how she deals with Lindsay in tense moments like that. "I'm not afraid to tell her to cool down. You need to listen to what someone's trying to tell you. You can't walk away from this argument, our conversation. It was kind of like, hear these girls out. Listen to what we're trying to say before you explode. We know who you are, now let's drop this and let's have a conversation. I don't think it was a conversation… but we tried."
The group still doesn’t have a clear answer as to whether Luke and Lindsay had sex. Though Amanda has her doubts, seeing as there weren't a ton of opportunities for Luke and Lindsay to be physically together between the end of filming season 4 and starting season 5 due to the coronavirus pandemic and Lindsay’s then-relationship with Stephen Traversie.
Kyle confesses he wasn’t paying all that much attention to the psychic’s claim because it hit the house the same day Loverboy launched a new flavor of the brand’s alcoholic spritz line (an espresso martini flavor is soon to be available, too). With business booming, Kyle and Amanda are putting a pause on their conversation to welcome "Cooke-y crumbs," aka kids, into the world anytime soon (they say probably a dog first), but they are still planning on getting married before the end of the year, with eyes currently on September. The pair was forced to postpone their nuptials more than once amid the pandemic.
To make up for the delayed big day, Kyle and Amanda’s Summer House gang threw them a ceremony of sorts that will play out on TV before season's end. If it’s legally binding remains a question. "You'll have to wait and see," Amanda teases. "We must have been on our best behavior this summer -- and didn't piss anyone off too much -- because they wanted to throw a party for us, as our end of the summer celebration."
As for what married life means for their Summer House future, Kyle and Amanda say a ring shouldn't change a thing. Only when those Cooke-y crumbs arrive will they reevaluate share house living. "Maybe we've been subconsciously postponing our wedding in hopes that some of the rest of our friends will catch up, get engaged, get married," Amanda half-jokes, "and then we can do a pregnancy pact situation where we just all go through it together."
Before Summer House season 6 (fingers crossed), though, will come Winter House. While Bravo has yet to officially confirm the spinoff series’ cast, Kyle and Amanda were just in Stowe, Vermont -- where the show taped -- alongside their castmates Lindsay, Ciara and Paige DeSorbo, as well as Southern Charm's Austen Kroll and Craig Conover. Amanda calls the trip "beautiful," while Kyle says it was "insanity." And, it turns out, the locale holds special meaning for Kyle.
"We're always going up to Vermont just because my mom grew up there, my grandmother lives in Stowe," he explains. "But every year I bring new friends up. It's called Stowe-aplousa. Been doing it for nine years now."
Winter House will premiere later this year, while Summer House currently airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.