Becca Tilley shares how she started dating Hayley Kiyoko.

How Becca Tilley Ended Up With Hayley Kiyoko, A Bachelor Superfan

She shares all the rosy details.

Cole Moser, Sofia Polukhina/Getty Images

Becca Tilley wasn’t looking for love when a friend introduced her to Hayley Kiyoko at the pop star’s album release party in 2018. In fact, the night they first met, the Bachelor alum was literally wearing a shirt that read “No Time For Romance.” And no, that irony isn’t lost on Tilley. “How funny is that? It was just a random shirt. I thought the cut was cute,” she explains. Despite the warning message on Tilley’s top, her and Kiyoko’s relationship is now four years strong — and somehow, still very Bachelor-oriented.

The couple watch the show every Monday, they have strong feelings on Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia’s joint season (more on that later), and they even took their romance public with a nod to the franchise in Kiyoko’s “For the Girls” music video. Tilley wins Kiyoko’s rose, obviously.

It wasn’t the first time Tilley’s been on the receiving end of floral affirmation. In 2015, she was the runner-up on Chris Soules’ Bachelor season. The next year, she competed on Ben Higgins’ season, making it to Week 7. So, how exactly does a Bachelor alum go from competing on the extremely heteronormative show to falling for a woman and announcing their romance in a queer spoof of said show? “There wasn't a whole lot of time to think too deeply into ‘What does it all mean?’ We fell in love really fast, and that was that,” Tilley explains.

Still, she understands why fans are asking this question, and she doesn’t fault them for it. She explains, “They just want me to find love — even the people who may be like, ‘I'm confused. How did you go from trying to get engaged to a man twice to dating a woman?’”

Though Tilley doesn’t need to explain herself to anyone, she’s happy to share her story, especially if it can help someone who’s in the same boat (or Bachelor-style one-on-one date yacht). Ahead, Tilley shares details of her romance with Kiyoko, her experience with Bachelor Nation, and how both parts of her life come together every Monday night at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Elite Daily: What is your relationship with Hayley like?

Becca Tilley: It’s so cool being in a relationship like ours. I always say it’s easy, but we also put a lot of effort into it. We come from very different backgrounds. She’s half Japanese, and I grew up in Louisiana. We see the world differently. Instead of that leading to conflict, we have been able to use it as a way for us to see the world and open our minds. I’m really proud of us for that.

I always thought if I was going to be in a relationship, it would be with someone I was aligned with on everything. Now, I feel like I’d be bored by that.

ED: What was your first impression when you met Hayley at the Expectations album release party?

BT: She came up and said, “Hey,” because I went with a mutual friend. I was just like, “Oh, this girl is so cute.” Before Hayley, I had never been attracted to women in that way, so I didn’t really think anything beyond that.

But the more the night went on, and then the few times after when we hung out, I just knew that there was something different.

ED: On your podcast, Scrubbing In, you said you were in a relationship, but kept Hayley’s name private. Still, fans speculated you two were together. How did that make you feel?

BT: At the beginning, it made me feel a little bit anxious, just because I knew I wasn’t ready to be out publicly. I was still navigating it myself. After a while, it was like, “You know what? I’m in a relationship. I’m so happy.” People know me from looking for love [on The Bachelor], so of course they’re going to be interested in who I’m dating.

ED: How have Bachelor fans reacted to your relationship?

BT: I have had so much support. I’ve had very few disrespectful messages. It opened my eyes in a bigger way. You have to give people a chance to prove you wrong. I already had decided how they were going to respond to me and let that fear manifest in a way that felt really heavy. After the fact, I realized they just wanted me to be happy.

ED: Has your relationship changed since coming out?

BT: I don’t want to speak for Hayley, but for me, personally, I feel a lot lighter. Her TikTok is borderline trolling me now, so I don’t know how I feel about that, but it’s fun to not have to overthink things or re-shoot things if she’s in the background.

ED: What are your favorite things to do together?

BT: We’ve done so much together. We went to Japan in 2019, which is one of my favorite memories. To be with someone who enjoys the same things while traveling — the adventure side and also the resting side — is really nice. Those memories really stick out to me... things that I’ve gotten to learn about her. I grew up without having, really, any knowledge about her culture.

ED: In 2020, you said you were 95% sure you would marry your current partner, even giving Hayley the nickname “95p.” Has that percentage changed at all since then?

BT: I feel like 95% is really solid. I would say that’s pretty much where I am. Maybe I’m in the 96 to 97% range. But I think both of us are just really content with our relationship right now... Has anyone ever asked Hayley what her percentage is? I’m always answering my percentage.

ED: Oh, no. You have to text her.

BT: “Hey, just a side note...”

ED: What made you want to keep your relationship private for as long as you did?

BT: It was a combination of things. There was fear of how people would respond. I remember when I was in a relationship with Robert [Graham], who was my boyfriend before, I felt a lot of pressure when we broke up. I almost found myself being more concerned with how to handle that publicly than I was [with] taking care of my heart and his heart. I was like, “I don’t know if I want to do that again.”

On top of that, it being my first relationship with a woman, there was a lot of pressure surrounding that. What will people say? What if they have a negative response? Will that affect our relationship?

There was something really comforting about it being just ours. I think at a certain point, I felt so secure and like, “OK, we can share this now, and I don’t feel the pressure to do anything that I don’t want to do.” If we want to post all the time, we can, and if we want to post barely anything, that’s also fine.

After coming out, I got so many messages from people navigating similar situations. There was a shift in perspective for me. I put so much weight on something that was actually so much bigger than just how it affected me.

ED: Did you consider announcing your relationship publicly before you actually did?

BT: No. I would joke and say, “I will publicly come out when I get to be in one of your videos,” but she always hires actual actresses. When we were talking about her “For the Girls” video being Bachelor-themed, I wanted to be the crying drunk girl, but I’m not an actress. So it was like, “Should you just show up at the end and have that be a nod to our relationship?” It just felt like it made sense, and I felt very much ready and comfortable.

ED: Does Hayley watch The Bachelor? Has she watched your seasons?

BT: Hayley is the biggest Bachelor fan that I know. Yeah. She tried to pretend that she hadn't seen my seasons when we met, but I called her out because I saw an old Instagram post where she alluded to The Bachelor. It was specifically about one of my seasons. I think she watched both of them.

ED: Was she rooting for you?

BT: She and her friends would watch every Monday. She was like, “We all loved you. We were always all rooting for you.” I was like, “I’m sure.”

ED: Are you watching this Bachelorette season together?

BT: It’s a mandatory thing. If Hayley’s running late because she’s working, she’s like, “Can you please make sure you’re recording The Bachelor?” I’m like, “Don’t worry. It’s recorded.”

I’m stressed about this season with Gabby and Rachel because I’m so attached to their friendship that I don’t want the men to cause friction.

ED: Have you seen the stuff about Gay-chel? It seems everybody wants them to be together.

BT: That’s Hayley. When Gabby and Rachel debrief with each other, it’s so endearing, and it feels so natural. I don’t know if it’s romantic by any means, but I think everyone is just rooting for their friendship.

ED: On Us Weekly’s Here for the Right Reasons podcast, you spoke about hopefully having an LGBTQ+ lead in the Bachelor franchise, explaining, “I think it’s mostly important to show the age-old saying ‘Love is love.’ Just show it.” Has The Bachelor or ABC responded to your comment?

BT: No. They haven’t, but I think it’s something they probably hear all the time. At the end of the day, it’s a show. They’re looking for ratings.

ED: Where do you hope to be when you’re 40?

BT: I think I’m actually infamous for [not knowing]. On The Bachelor, Chris Soules asked me, “What’s your five-year plan?” I just kept going, “I don’t know,” because my brain doesn’t work that way.

My goal would be to have a few homes in different places. (I bought my first house last year.) I want to travel. I see myself being the cool aunt to all my friends because I’m still teetering on if I want kids myself.

ED: What about career aspirations?

BT: I would love to do more live shows and grow the podcast. I would really love to write a book. I’d love to have my own brand, whether it’s beauty, clothing, or all of the above. I think careerwise, its almost like there’s this open field, and you’re like, “Which direction do I go?”