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Siesta Key: Who is Max Strong? Kelsey's real boyfriend appears on the show

The love lives of the Siesta Key stars is inevitably a major plot point of the MTV reality show. 

Over the past three years, we have followed the relationships and fallouts between the likes of Juliette Porter, Alex Kompo, Brandon Gomes and Maddison Hausberg. But one Siesta Key star’s love life has always been a topic of intrigue.

Kelsey Owens has starred on the show as one of the principle characters since season 1, however Siesta Key fans have held doubts that her relationship was real. Now, with the appearance of Kelsey’s new boyfriend Max Strong on the show, fans’ doubts are seemingly verified.

But who is Max Strong? Find out about the latest Siesta Key recruit here.

Who is Max Strong?

Max Strong is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. Max attended the University of Kentucky from 2012 to 2016 and played for the Kentucky Wildcats as their backup kicker. His birthday is on July 2nd, however it is unconfirmed how old he is.

After graduating with a management and finance degree, Max began work at Indiana’s Wildlife In Need. He had volunteered there while at university. Despite not having the precise qualifications needed to work with big cats, Max returned to the job in August 2016.

If you’re wondering why Wildlife In Need sounds familiar, it’s because it was featured as one of the controversial roadside zoos which was featured on Netflix’s Tiger King. Wildlife In Need’s license has been permanently revoked by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In August 2020, PETA won a lawsuit against Wildlife In Need, barring the zoo from “allowing big-cat cubs to interact with the public, separating mother cats and their infants, declawing big cats, and possessing the tigers, lions, and tiger/lion hybrids.” Taking a glance over Max’s Instagram and we can see he has moved to another zoos and continued to work with big cats.

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Max Strong on Siesta Key

In season 3 episode 21 (Tuesday, August 11th), Max Strong appeared in Siesta Key. This was not lost on his girlfriend Kelsey, who even tweeted about Max’s appearance.

During the episode, Kelsey tweeted: “Damn who’s that hot guy next to me!?” accompanied by the heart-eyed emoji.

The episode featured a belated New Years Eve celebration which was reportedly filmed in Miami, Florida in mid January. Max was spotted next to Kelsey during the countdown, signalling they would kiss each other at midnight. This suggests that Kelsey was not actually back together with Garrett Miller at this point – who she was dating in season 1. It also suggests that the drama between Kelsey, Garrett and Jake Peterson was put on for show. Kelsey and Juliette spent the real New Years Eve in Canada, skiing with Max Strong and his friends.

In the season 3 finale (Tuesday, August 25th), Kelsey confirmed her relationship with Max and viewers were introduced to him onscreen once again. Fingers crossed that Max might want to take a more prominent role on the show going forward – bring on season 4!

  • READ MORE: Siesta Key star Brandon Gomes’s nationality and ethnicity explored

Follow Max Strong on Instagram

To find out more about what Max gets up to in his spare time, then you can follow him on Instagram.

Already, Max has over 272,000 followers.

You can find him under the handle @maxstrong.


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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.