Lasting Love: Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez Open Up About Their Relationship

HGTV sits down with Jon and Harley on the set of Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp. For the first time, the couple opens up about the timeline of their relationship, their meet-cute and more.

Jonathan Knight (left) and Harley Rodriguez (right) on their farm in Massachusetts.

Jonathan Knight (left) and Harley Rodriguez (right) on their farm in Massachusetts.

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Jonathan Knight has a big heart.

“The biggest heart of anyone I know,” Jon’s partner of 16 years, Harley Rodriguez, declares while on set of Jon’s newest HGTV spinoff Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp. In fact, Jon’s big heart is the reason HGTV’s Farmhouse Fixer even exists. In an interview with Architectural Digest in 2022, his brother and fellow New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) star, Jordan Knight, expressed how proud he is of Jon for stepping into the spotlight despite his anxiety around public attention. “His passion for creating things for others has overtaken that,” Jordan said.

This sensitive side of Jon is one we don’t often see. The NKOTB popstar was around 16 when the famous band began, and since then, we’ve watched him perform on stage in front of huge crowds, compete on CBS's The Amazing Race (with Harley), battle it out on Rock the Block (with designer Kristina Crestin) and host his very own HGTV show, Farmhouse Fixer. Jon currently splits his time between tending to his farm in New England, touring with NKOTB, renovating homes and filming for HGTV. Through all the chaos, “I’m kinda all over the place,” Jon tells HGTV. “But Harley is always there to support me through everything.”

For the first time, Jon and Harley sit down with HGTV to discuss their relationship: the night they met, the timeline of their romance, their favorite traits about each other and more. They do this amid the stunning natural setting of the 12-acre campground Jonathan, Harley and the Knight family have been renovating (as seen on Camp Revamp).

The interview starts off much like the beginning of their relationship: Straight to the point. “We just randomly met and fell madly in love,” Jon begins.

Jonathan Knight and Harley Rodriguez: A Timeline

An Unexpected Encounter

"As a 20-year-old, I thought love was an illusion," Jon wrote on an Instagram post from 2019. "My 30s brought me many dysfunctional relationships and further soured me on love. My late 30s came along. I was so jaded and against love ... Then along came you."

It was a Tuesday night in 2008. After a long day of rehearsals, Jon was exhausted and reluctant to meet with a friend who invited him to grab a drink at a bar. In the end, he showed up — as did Harley, who also arrived to meet the same friend.

Jon knew immediately after their first encounter Harley was the one for him. "But I fought it and kept my heart protected," he wrote on Instagram. Months passed, and Jon couldn't stop thinking about Harley: "So I call him and say, 'I miss you. Come be with me while I start this crazy life with NKOTB again, and let's try love from a very long distance.'" Weeks later, Harley showed up on tour — and their bond has only grown stronger since.

“When I first met Jon, [I noticed] he was kind to strangers,” says Harley. “You can tell a lot about someone in the way they treat people they don’t know.” And that wasn’t the only trait Harley found enticing: “When I first met him, I’m like, ‘That Boston accent? That’s sexy,’” says Harley.

Going the Distance

“I’m an LA boy,” Harley says of his upbringing in Los Angeles. When asked if he ever thought he’d live on a farm in New England, Harley is definitive: “Never!”

It was a slow transition for the SoCal native. After their meeting in 2008, Jon moved to Los Angeles to be closer to Harley, traveling back and forth between the West Coast and New York. Then Jon convinced Harley to relocate to New York City. The two moved into a 500-square-foot apartment. “Typical New York, tiny, no outdoor space,” remembers Jon. “It taught me you don’t need a lot in life to be happy."

"Jon and Harley, the early years," Jon captioned an old photo he posted on Instagram in 2017.

"Jon and Harley, the early years," Jon captioned an old photo he posted on Instagram in 2017.

Jon and Harley lived in the apartment for seven years — and learned a lot about each other. “Being with Harley in that small space … if either of us were in a bad mood we’d have to address what was on our minds,” says Jon. “Living in New York was really good for that. We were forced to deal with relationship challenges.” Eventually, they found it difficult to justify the cost of New York, so they headed up to Jon’s old stomping grounds: Boston.

Today, they call a farm in Massachusetts home. They’ve gone from 500 square feet to 7 acres. “Now, I won't see Jon for hours at a time,” Harley says. “I’ll be inside the house doing stuff, and he's on the tractor and in the barn.”

Though Harley never expected to live on a farm, he admittedly loves the lifestyle. The best part? “The goats love him!” says Jon.

Adventuring Together

Sitting lakeside, Jon and Harley reminisce about one of their most memorable trips together: a vacation to India. It’s clear, based on their conversation, Harley is a consistent source of comfort for Jon. “Harley was [in India] before I was, and he was a little worried it would be overstimulating for my attention deficit,” says Jon. “He was like, ‘Be prepared. There’s going to be smells; there’s going to be sights.' And it was all of that,” Harley says, “but you were open to it, and we had an amazing time.”

The duo also competed on The Amazing Race — a reality television show where teams of two race around the world — because Jon wanted to prove he could do it. “And we kinda did it,” Jon says. “We got kicked off on the third episode.”

One would assume The Amazing Race would be one of the more difficult endeavors the two have embarked on together, but designing their personal home on a campground was equally challenging, they reveal. This particular renovation (as seen in the finale of Camp Revamp Season 1) is the most in-depth design project they’ve delved into. “On The Amazing Race, when you’re running with a 40-pound backpack, you can’t plan anything. That was stressful for me,” says Harley. “With design, at least you can plan.”

They have starkly different styles when it comes to home decorating — Jon likes worn-in accessories and moody colors, while Harley prefers lighter hues and modern furnishings — but “like any relationship, you figure out what you both like,” says Harley.

Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp

The bedroom of Jon and Harley's main house from Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp.

and Kristina Crestin Farmhouse Fixer

Photo by: Sean Litchfield

Sean Litchfield

The bedroom of Jon and Harley's main house from Farmhouse Fixer: Camp Revamp.

Jon and Harley Today

It’s a balancing act for these two. For example, one trait Harley loves about Jon is how down to earth he is — but Jon says Harley is the one who keeps him firmly planted on the ground.

“Patience is one of Harley's biggest strengths,” says Jon. “I leave on a tour bus for three months out of the year. That can be hard for a partner, but Harley is very understanding.”

As for Jon’s sentimental side, we’re hoping to see a lot more of it à la Farmhouse Fixer. “He gives his whole self,” says Harley. “He's a very giving person. He wears his heart on his sleeve.”

Catch Jonathan on Farmhouse Fixer on HGTV or stream it on Max. Keep up with Jonathan and Harley on Instagram at @jonathanrknight and @harley.rodriguez.

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