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Welcome to Ronen Rubinstein Network - the most up to date source for everything actor, singer and activist, Ronen Rubinstein! You may know him as T.K. Strand from "9-1-1: Lone Star" or his other roles in various movies and TV shows. Here you will find the latest news, photos and media, Make sure to check back often for more updates.

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9-1-1: Lone Star’s Ronen Rubinstein and Rafael Silva on TV Wedding and the Beauty of Queer Love

Originally Posted: May 16, 2023   |   By: Rebecca Lewis   |   Hello!


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9-1-1: Lone Star fans will finally see TK Strand (Ronen Rubinstein) and Carlos Reyes (Rafael Silva) get married in the two-part season four finale

After four years, some false starts, and far too many near-death experiences, 9-1-1: Lone Star fans will finally see TK Strand (Ronen Rubinstein) and Carlos Reyes (Rafael Silva) get married in the two-part season four finale on Tuesday May 16, 8/7c. But it’s not going to be smooth-sailing, as fans have already been promised a tragedy that will strike — and change the trajectory of their lives forever.

“It’s a blessing to be given these storylines”, Rafael, 28, says on the set of HELLO!’s digital cover shoot in Los Angeles, “It’s not every day that you get a story like this with juicy scenes where you have to focus and step up”.

Fans already know that Lyndsy Fonseca will return as Carlos’ best friend Iris, but the two episodes will see other surprises on-screen as TK and Carlos — known by their portmanteau Tarlos — lean on each other as they work through the shocking complications.

Ronen and Rafael met in 2019 when they were cast as TK, an NYC firefighter who moves to Austin with his father, Captain Owen Strand (Rob Lowe), and Carlos, an openly gay Latino police officer in the Austin PD.

Their relationship has become the focal point for the Fox drama, and a beloved character all its own, and the decision to have them finally wed means so much to so many, especially at a time in the US when conservative legislation has been attacking the LGBTQ community, making this wedding all the more poignant and important.

Over the past four years, the two actors have built such a bond on and off-screen that even among all the “chaos around us on set”, as Ronen describes it, they are able to stay focused on telling their stories.

That connection also helped Ronen, 29, come out publicly as bisexual in 2021; he credited Rafael at the time as one of a few people, along with wife Jessica Parker Kennedy and stylist Chaise Dennis, for encouraging and supporting him to live his truth.

“I shouldn’t be here”, says Ronen. “Little Ronen’s from the slums of Staten Island, growing up as a degenerate and fighting, doing drugs, and not going to school, we don’t really get to come full circle to this sort of position”.

Truth and love are what Rafael and Ronen both hope is the lingering legacy of this show, and these characters, no matter how many more seasons it stays on air. “I hope this inspires people, in the simplest way, to say, Love yourself”, said Rafael.

When you think back over the last four years, and see the growth of Tarlos as a couple, and TK and Carlos as individuals, has there been anything that has truly surprised you?

Ronen: Not surprised, but I am most proud of their communication skills! We’ve seen the evolution of these two, and what were terrible communication skills!

I mean, Carlos made TK a beautiful dinner and then he stormed out like a little bitch! But it’s all thanks to the writers; the fact that they were able to connect all the moments up to this level of communication which we saw in episode 16, when Carlos says, “Even if you don’t remember who I am, I will stay in this, and love you and stay with you and support you and I’ll introduce myself, ‘Hi, you’re TK and I’m Carlos and we’re soulmates”.

How have TK and Carlos changed you as actors?

Ronen: I don’t even know where I would start. It’s changed me as a person but as an actor it definitely has taught me speed and efficiency. After Lone Star, I’ll be ready for any sort of set in any sort of situation. We’re on this massive production, but sometimes it still feels like you’re in an independent film when you get a script the day before.

This show has also given me the opportunity to provide a life for myself, and my wife, that I didn’t necessarily have growing up.

I shouldn’t be here. Little Ronen’s from the slums of Staten Island, growing up as a degenerate and fighting, doing drugs, not going to school, we don’t really get to come full circle to this sort of position. It’s a blessing.

Rafael: I wanted to go to grad school before I booked Lone Star, but God has a way of showing you that life is your school. When I booked Lone Star, I felt so inadequate but now I realize it’s healthy to have some doubt — and I love the fact that I talk about this now without any sense of feeling like an impostor, because if we don’t talk about these things, we dehumanize these very human experiences.

Carlos has allowed me to learn a lot just simply by watching, listening and playing.

I’m extremely grateful that it has changed me as a professional, and also the way I see myself, and the kinds of stories I want to tell.

Now I say, ‘Know why you’re doing something and don’t be shy to be yourself, go for the truth’, and I think that’s something that this show has truly required of Rafael.

What would you say to 2018 Rafael who cried in the bathroom after his audition?

Rafael: Do exactly what you did and be exactly who you were. It’s OK to feel all of those feelings — like you don’t belong here because that is what you were being told, but you had to be that person in that moment in order to be this person here today. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a coincidence.

Jim Parrack (who plays Judd Ryder) says, “Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous”, and for me it’s a sense of trusting life and the work — and when I speak of this, it comes from a place of humility and not necessarily any attachment to religious indoctrination that is going on today to put others down.

I want to make that very clear, that it comes from my relationship with God, [and] a world where everyone belongs, everyone has a place, everyone has a voice and no one needs to close themselves off or hide.

Ronen, what has it been like building your relationship with Rob Lowe?

Ronen: I walked into the audition room for our chemistry read, Rob went to shake my hand and he looked me right into the eyes and he said, “Yep, that’s it”. We had a spark from the moment we met, but when Rob’s on set, there is no time to mess around, everybody brings their highest game, and that’s also why I love our father-son scenes so much.

We’re very lucky we get given really special storylines; from the moment we meet those two, the bond is so strong and it’s just been a beautiful place to build from – and now he’s my best man at the wedding.

Does the pressure of the meaning of ‘Tarlos’ to so many, and what it has become outside of the show, get to you?

Ronen: No, I don’t let it get to me. I feel like a lot of pressure is self-made; I don’t know if this is just the way I was raised but I am able to compartmentalize really well. I stick to the root of things: the character, the story.

I do appreciate seeing what the fans think and and feel, and this actor-fan relationship is becoming really beautifully interwoven, especially when you get to meet the fans, but I’m able to separate the two. The core of everything is always the work, because if these characters aren’t fully lived in and we’re not giving our everything, we’re not giving our heart and soul to these characters? Then I don’t know if fans would necessarily connect with them as intensely.

I won’t share what me and Rafa talk about, but the beauty of this whole situation is that I’ve been able to lean on Rafa, and Rafa has been able to lean on me through all this, because nobody knows what we’re going through except for us. Fans can feel that we really care about these two guys — and we care about them maybe more than anyone because it literally is on our shoulders.

But I’m just very lucky to be on this journey with Rafa, because this could be really stressful if you’re working with someone that you don’t get along with, or vibe with, on a professional level.

Rafael: As soon as you start making it about you because you were listening to people’s opinions, or the critics… As an actor I need to stay focused because at the end of the day, the reason why Carlos and TK get so much attention is because the focus has always been on the character.

In theater, it’s always about making it about the other person. When you’re doing a scene, always make it about the other person, and that’s the work that as actors we need to do with our characters, make it about the character. Forget the noise.

What do you hope the legacy of Tarlos is?

Rafael: I hope it inspires people, in the simplest way, to say, Love yourself.

We had these two broken characters that reacted very differently to their brokenness. One of them abused substances, the other one isolated himself, and both were responses to trauma. When you neglect who you are it’s because that’s what you were shown from your closest people, so we had two broken characters who came together because I think they were both yearning for a deep connection, not only with each other but with themselves.

I can only hope these two characters and their love can inspire you to, if not completely love and believe in yourself, but to start that conversation with yourself.