Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon might be fan favorites of the Bachelor franchise. Despite failing to fall in love in front of the cameras, the majority of the couple’s real romance took place behind the scenes.
From the time that Iaconetti first laid eyes on a photo of Haibon while he was on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of the Bachelorette, the Bachelor alum tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she immediately deemed him “the hottest guy that’s ever been on this franchise.” However, meeting one another in person on the second season of Bachelor in Paradise in 2015 proved to be a challenge after already being accustomed to their respective “caricatures” on prior seasons.
“You came down the stairs, and I was like, who’s this? Yes, the crying virgin, that’s right,” Haibon jokingly says of the first time he actually met Iaconetti on the paradise beach. However, she quickly says, “No, not kidding, that was it,” before he says again, “That’s what you’re known for.”
Within the setting of filming a reality show, Iaconetti and Haibon admit that they just weren’t going to work — partially because of the extended time they both require to build a strong relationship with another person, and because of the pressure that the environment placed on them.
“Jared and I didn’t officially date in real life until two-and-a-half years after meeting,” Iaconetti says of their relationship, which began to flourish after that initial season that they appeared together. Instead, the pair spent that time working on their bond as friends while keeping their feelings under wraps.
Ultimately, Haibon decided to share his growing love for Iaconetti this March, knowing that they were finally ready for a lifelong commitment.
“It wasn’t just for us to be boyfriend-girlfriend,” he says. “This was going to lead to a life-partner type relationship.”
And to commemorate the place where it all started, the two made a recent appearance on Season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise, where Haibon finally put a ring on it — making what Iaconetti calls “the most healthy relationship anybody could imagine” official.
“You can’t really compare yourselves to other couples or anything like that,” Haibon explains. “But obviously being within this Bachelor franchise, you get to see a lot of people that have gotten engaged, gotten together, fallen in love on the show, broken up. It makes me very proud of what Ashley and I have. I don’t think it really compares to anybody else.”