Bachelor Nation’s Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon just revealed that they are ACTUALLY A COUPLE—something Ashley has legit wanted since she first laid eyes on the dark-haired restaurant manager back in 2015—and I. am. baffled.
In a 44-minute YouTube video called The Story of Us, the happy couple shared how their relationship progressed from Ashley relentlessly awning over Jared to real, true, #nofilter love. “Our close friends have watched our relationship evolve and understand how we’ve gotten to this point,” 29-year-old Jared told People, the outlet that ~exclusively~ published the emotional AF vid.
“But people who haven’t been a part of our day-to-day lives ask us ‘Wait, how did this happen?’ With this show, it gave me an opportunity to elaborate more than just saying ‘I’m an idiot.'”
You said it Jared, not us.
If you recall, 30-year-old Ashley has been preeeeetty much obsessed with Jared since they both were contestants on Season 2 of Bachelor in Paradise three summers ago. When they had their first date on the reality show, Ashley came across super intense, and Jared ultimately dumped her—twice. She cried—a lot—and continued to pursue Jared on Season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise, which, quelle surprise, also ended in heartbreak.
“I was so drawn to him, it was truly love at first sight,” Ashley said of their first encounter. But for Jared, things weren’t as clear-cut. “Obviously you were a little emotional, and I was like, I’m not sure I can end up being with someone who is so emotional,” he said in The Story of Us. Ouch.
To save you nearly an hour of your life, the vid is basically a play-by-play of how they went from strangers who met on TV (“I remember I kept looking around and I’d catch you…staring at me,” Jared recalled), to actual friends who hung out outside of BIP (“We had dinner with a group of people [after the show] and that made me feel comfortable enough to ask him to do this [Bachelor] charity event,” Ashley said), to boyfriend and girlfriend (“I remember thinking ‘I should really kiss her,'” Jared confessed).
But if you’re super confused how Jared went from “get away from me Ashley” to “I’m going to eat your face,” it wasn’t something that happened overnight. Per the tearjerker of a vid (to be clear, they’re crying not me), Jared admitted it really took getting to know Ashley outside of her theatrical persona on TV for him to see her in a different light. “You were just so down to earth and easy-going, ambitious … sexy,” Jared said. After Jared realized Ashley was more than just a crier, the two maintained a “flirty” friendship for years—but Jared was always “one foot in and one foot out” when it came to romance.
Things changed however when Ashley went on The Bachelor Winter Games in early 2018 and left the show dating Canadian contestant Kevin Wendt. For Jared, that was a turning point.
“I remember I heard rumours that you might have met somebody, and I was sad,” Jared eloquently recalled. “Sometimes I need a kick in the ass. That was a big kick in the ass.” After Jared realized Ashley was #TheOne, he opened up to her about his feelings, but Ashley was all like “nah” and said she was going to stick with Kevin. “I knew that in the coming months, I would have to really show Ashley that I was very serious about this,” Jared said.
BUT, when Ashley and Kevin broke up in March, Ashley *then* realized that it was Jared all along (honestly how could she forget her intense feelings for the person she spent YEARS PUBLICLY OBSESSING OVER). “I just knew in my heart at that point that it wasn’t right with Kevin. I ended the relationship because it had run its course, and then Jared was still there,” she said. *Slams face on desk*
In what Chris Harrison would describe as the “most dramatic” move ever, Jared rushed over to a newly-single Ashley and gave her an emotional love letter that “took three days to write.” (Was this the first time he picked up a pen?!) “I was scream-crying basically alone in my apartment reading that just sobbing and sobbing,” Ashley said.
Since that fateful day when Jared was *finally* able to articulate his feelings and admit his love for Ashley, the couple haven’t looked back and are going strong—on IG and IRL. Plus, it even looks like the roles have reversed in their relationship, as Jared is the one who is
unhealthily obsessed deeply infatuated now.
“He’s written me other letters and filled my apartment with flowers,” said Ashley. “He tells me every day that he’s the luckiest man alive.”
I guess this unexpected love story shows that if you cry hard enough over someone, try to date them multiple times on national television (and then date someone else on national television), one day, they just might become your partner.