In the past few years, ABC's summer spinoff Bachelor in Paradise has churned out surprisingly successful marriages and long-term relationships. Amidst a production shutdown during last year's fourth season, the wedding of Paradise alums Carly Waddell and Evan Bass was a beautiful, much-needed reminder that some good can actually come from this occasional trainwreck of a show. I had my fingers crossed for another Paradise wedding this year, but it looks like we won't have one any time soon. Bachelor in Paradise Season 4 contestants Derek Peth and Taylor Nolan called off their engagement, and Bachelor Nation is devastated.
Although Season 4 of Paradise had an explosive start because of an alleged sexual misconduct controversy between two other participants, the relationship between Bachelorette Season 12 contestant Derek and Bachelor Season 21 alum Taylor formed quickly and easily. While Dean Unglert's messy love triangle seemed to take over the rest of the season, Derek and Taylor were perfectly content to hang out with each other in the background. I would definitely forget on a regular basis about them being together, but according to PEOPLE, they were seriously close after frequently FaceTiming each other during the production shutdown. Well, never say that technology just played a bad role in relationships.
Although Season 4 also produced the currently dating couple Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk, Derek ensured that he and Taylor were labeled the show's success story when he proposed on the cast's reunion special. An emotional Taylor said yes to his offer of a Neil Lane ring and loving her "this minute, this hour, and this day, and every day." I mean, it'd be pretty hard to say no to that, right?
At the time, the fact that the couple was so low-key seemed to bode well for a potential future together. But now, just over a month before a new season of Paradise debuts, Taylor and Derek announced their breakup, telling E! News in an exclusive joint statement:
It is with much sadness that we have decided to end our engagement. We put everything we could into our relationship and are heartbroken to go forward separately, but we know this is the best decision for the both of us. We will still be present in each other's lives with support, admiration and respect for each other.
The breakup comes as a shock to anyone who followed Derek or Taylor on social media, where the couple often posted intimate photos with each other. They were together in person as recently as late May, as evident by Derek tweeting a video of them watching the premiere of The Bachelorette together.
The same week, Taylor posted an Instagram photo of the two kissing and compared it to a screenshot of Ross and Rachel kissing in the Friends series finale. Looking back at this now, is it a subtle message saying that Taylor and Derek are just on a break?
Veering away from sharing too many personal details about their relationship with the public, Taylor and Derek never exactly made it clear if they were living together or not. In a Instagram post from May, Taylor seemed to suggest that they never moved in together, discussing the difficulties of a long-distance relationship. Taylor, a Seattle native, runs her own podcast about mental health and emotions, while commercial banker Derek moved to New York City last year.
Apparently, distance didn't exactly help the heart grow fonder in the long run, and Bachelor fans are already commiserating about the end of the relationship.
While the broken engagement adds another loss to the Bachelor in Paradise relationship record, married couples Evan and Carly and Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert are still going strong. There's also always the chance that Adam and Raven surprise us with their own marriage proposal sometime soon. Plus, who knows what kind of romances will emerge from Season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise?
The new season of Bachelor in Paradise premieres on Tuesday, Aug. 7, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.