John Wolfsohn/Getty Becca Tilley
When America first got to know Tilley, 33, "My story line on The Bachelor was that I was a virgin," she told The Cut on Friday. Since then, she's had a few relationships in the spotlight, including dating former Bachelorette suitor Robert Graham and more recently debuting her relationship with musician Hayley Kiyoko in a playful music video this past May.
Referring to her 2016–2017 relationship with Graham, she said, "So when I was in my relationship before Hayley and all of a sudden I wasn't a virgin anymore, I felt like, Did I let people down who looked up to me for that reason?"
Since joining Bachelor Nation seven years ago, Tilley been mindful of how fans view her. Because she'd only been seen dating on television, that self-consciousness flared up when she got together with Kiyoko, 31.
Charley Gallay/Getty Becca Tilley and Hayley Kiyoko
"I'd go through comments and they would be so horrible that I was like, I'll never do this. Why would I ever subject myself to this criticism?" she said to the outlet.
Tilley did quip, however, "These people were also rooting for me to get engaged in eight weeks. They may not have the best perspective in all cases."
As it turned out, when Tilley and Kiyoko went public, she was surprised by how much support — and how little criticism — she received. "I've realized I have to give people a chance to prove me wrong," she said. "I didn't even give people a chance to be more open-minded than I thought."
She added, "People were just rooting for me to find love. They just were rooting for my happiness."
Rich Fury/Getty Hayley Kiyoko and Becca Tilley
As timing would have it, Tilley also recently connected with another reality star who has also surprised fans with a new relationship: Selling Sunset's Chrishell Stause, who recently began dating non-binary musician G Flip.
Before Tilley officially introduced America to Kiyoko as her girlfriend, she was happily doing so in one-on-one situations — though that was sometimes a source of confusion.
Tilley told The Cut about a time when she ran into Stause at a concert and said, "My girlfriend's coming out." Later in the night, Stause asked her, "So are you dating anybody?"
"That happens all the time," Tilley said, noting that she and Kiyoko weren't exactly subtle before they went public.
"I'd go visit her on tour, and I posted about it on Instagram," Tilley recalled. "People just thought I was great friends with Hayley. Huge fan."
A few weeks later, Stause revealed she, too, was actually in a romantic relationship with G Flip (whom she'd described as a "friend" at the concert), and the two couples got together for a double date.
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Chrishell Stause and G Flip
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Tilley and Kiyoko first met at NYLON'S Annual Young Hollywood party in May 2018.
Months later, Tilley revealed she was in a relationship but said she was trying to keep the budding romance private. She even referred to Kiyoko as "95p" on her Scrubbing In podcasting, meaning this was the person she was 95 percent sure she'd marry.
In Friday's conversation with The Cut, she explained that she was being very thoughtful about when and how she would introduce the relationship to the world. She wasn't hiding — simply maintaining her privacy.
"It might be a fine line, but I don't want anyone to think I was ashamed or embarrassed," she said. "That was really important to me."