Bachelor contestant fashion, Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon's relationship is being talked about all over on social media and discussion boards. The couple announced that they're together in a number of ways: in a 44-minute YouTube video about their bond, in People magazine, and on Instagram. The consensus from fans seems to be... finally.
If you're new to #BachelorNation – like, starting watching during Nick or Rachel's season new – you may be unaware of Iaconetti and Haibon's love story. Well, luckily for you, I'm a
Bachelor historian, and have plenty of knowledge to pass around.
Their rollercoaster-ride of a relationship began in 2015. Iaconetti had been on Chris Soules' season of
The Bachelor, and Jared Haibon competed on Kaitlyn Bristowe's season of The Bachelorette, which was the season right after Soules'. Both Iaconetti and Haibon signed up to be on the summer version of the franchise, Bachelor in Paradise. That summer show started it all for the two of them. Paradise's premise is to round up a group of franchise rejects in Mexico, put them on the beach, and offer a seemingly unlimited supply of alcohol. Producers give certain contestants of a specific gender "date cards" to ask out another person there. Each week concludes with one gender handing out the roses (the ones who didn't select dates), determining who will make it to the next week on the show. The prize is a generally accepted to be an engagement, just like the original series.
They went out on a date in Paradise three years ago.
On their first season of
Bachelor in Paradise in summer 2015, Iaconetti was all eyes for Haibon immediately. She was given a date card, and selected Haibon as her date choice.
Jared and I had an awesome date off-roading," Iaconetti wrote about her date on Cosmopolitan.com. "Were fireworks going off? No. Was the chemistry [off] the charts? Not really. But we definitely formed a good friendship, and that was a fine start for me; I thought we'd have a lot of time to develop things further."
... But the next week, Haibon chose another woman for his date.
After Haibon and Iaconetti's first date, it was the men's turn to choose their dates. Haibon felt a connection with Clare Crawley (Juan Pablo Galavis's runner-up, who so
brilliantly told him off when he callously rejected her) and asked her out.
But Haibon already felt a friendship growing with Iaconetti, so he did what any good friend would do, and talked to her about it first, sensing she might be hurt by his decision.
He was such a gentleman; it was classic Jared," Iaconetti wrote in her Cosmopolitan.com column. "And I have to say while speaking with him I kept it pretty calm, cool, and collected (which is probably why you didn't see it, hehe) as I did truly understand that he wanted to test the waters with other girls. I didn't like it — nor did I like hearing Clare recount all the sexy details afterward — but that's life in Paradise, and I think Jared respected the way I handled the situation."
The date with Crawley left Haibon realizing he didn't want to pursue a relationship with her, and later shared his first kiss with Iaconetti.
Paradise ended with the pair "breaking up," but their friendship grew afterwards.
Haibon told Iaconetti she should pursue other guys on the show, and this continued in their second stint of
Paradise, where Haibon dated Ben Higgins' top three finalist Caila Quinn, and Iaconetti dated Jojo Fletcher's contestant Wells Adams. Haibon and Iaconetti had a two-hour conversation on the beach in Paradise after his date with Quinn, a conversation Iaconetti claims changed her life.
"Jared was the first guy I'd been (so) attracted to with whom I could also talk to for hours and express all my feelings to comfortably," Iaconetti said. "He's a safe place for me and a source of comfort, but this talk clarified that we would never share more than a friendship ... like,
Oh, how the times have changed.
They're both huge movie fans.
Iaconetti has often talked about her affinity for romantic comedies, and Haibon loves superhero films. They attended the
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premiere together in 2016. In the three years they've known each other, they've continued to attend many events together, outside of Bachelor franchise obligations.
While Iaconetti may live in Los Angeles now, her and Haibon are both native East Coasters.
Haibon is from Rhode Island, and Iaconetti is from Virginia. I'm excited to see what's next for this couple – perhaps a reality TV engagement with that signature Neil Lane ring? Broadcasted wedding with Chris Harrison as the officiant? Another
Bachelor baby to add to the fam? We'll have to just wait and see.