Bachelor Nation has watched for years as Ashley Iaconetti has tried to navigate her way through the ups and downs of dating in hopes of finding the one.
But even after appearing on The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise and most recently, Bachelor Winter Games, Iaconetti still walked away without meeting "the one." Or did she? Tuesday, the Bachelor fan favorite revealed in her series, The Story Of Us (made by the producers of Married At First Sight and Seven Year Switch, Kinetic Content) that she and her former Bachelor in Paradise friend Jared Haibon have found love in one another at last.
Fans of BiP will remember that Iaconetti immediately was into Haibon from the moment she saw him in 2015. But Haibon admitted in the series that he also felt a deep connection to his now-girlfriend early on.
“I remember just being so comfortable with you and how easily we got along … how the conversation just flowed,” he says on their episode of The Story of Us. “It never felt dull … or awkward.”
It was “truly love at first sight” for Iaconetti, however.
“My interpretation of our first date is a little different. I was constantly scared of another girl coming in and catching your eye,” explains Iaconetti. “I was overthinking every little thing that came out of my mouth.”
Haibon may have “dumped” Iaconetti on the show, but “I never felt like it was over between us after Paradise,” he says. “I’m not gonna lie and say that I was in love with Ashley during BiP. It was a slow build for me.”
The two built a friendship after their time on TV together, but the timing wasn't right for a romance to develop.
The duo met up in Boston at one time and “we made out real hard,” says Iaconetti. But soon after, Haibon extended an L.A. trip to spend time with Iaconetti, and their relationship took a turn for the worse.
After a casual date, Haibon spent the night at Iaconetti’s house.
“You, like, kind of fell asleep in my bed. We kind of snuggled, but at this time I had to really force the snuggling,” she recalls. “This is when I knew something was wrong. And I don’t know what was wrong still.”
Haibon admits he wasn’t ready to be in a fully committed relationship then.
“Of course there were more-than-friendship feelings for me, but I felt like if there was any doubt in my head, that’s so unfair for me to be halfway in,” he says.
The duo agreed to try and see other people during their second stint in Paradise in 2016.
But Iaconetti “came in like a roller coaster,” recalls Haibon. “I’ll never forget that. It was really difficult … I was trying to tell you we weren’t gonna be together because I wanted you to move on [and] be happy.”
The drama continued after Mexico, and “we had so many arguments that summer when it was airing,” says Iaconetti, but they managed to build a friendship after all.
Haibon then explains that he went into a "dark hole", saying, “I think sometimes you imagine like you’re in this rainy day constantly and you just accept that as life. I’m like going after this other girl and we’re going on dates, and yet it’s so much easier with you. I knew that if you and I were to ever date … there’s no going back. Even if I had a two percent doubt about our relationship, then I probably shouldn’t do it because I don’t want to risk losing you as a friend.”
Haibon eventually signed up to do Bachelor in Paradise Australia and Iaconetti appeared on Bachelor Winter Games, where she met and began dating Kevin Wendt.
“I remember I heard rumors that you might have met somebody, and I was sad,” says Haibon. “Sometimes I need a kick in the a—. That was a big kick in the a—.”
After the holidays, Haibon finally opened up to Iaconetti about his feelings for her. “I left that conversation with him not just admitting that he was jealous but also he had feelings, and you kind of alluded to wanting to be with me,” says Iaconetti.
“I remember you said ‘I’m gonna keep dating [Wendt],'” says Haibon. “I knew that in the coming months, I would have to really show Ashley that I was very serious about this.”
Iaconetti wanted to give her relationship with Wendt a chance. “I thought ‘Okay, well that’s everything I’ve ever wanted, but I’m definitely gonna continue dating this other guy,'” she says. “I do like him. He’s pursued me … he’s been all in the entire time and I deserve to pursue somebody else and for somebody else to pursue me after all this time.”
As Winter Games was airing, however, Iaconetti knew her relationship with Wendt wasn't right.
“I just knew in my heart at that point that it wasn’t right with Kevin. I ended the relationship because it had run its course, and then Jared was still there,” she says.
After Iaconetti and Wendt split in March, Haibon sent her a love letter that immediately wooed her.
“I was scream-crying basically alone in my apartment reading that just sobbing and sobbing,” says Iaconetti.
Since then, the couple has been going strong.
“He’s written me other letters and filled my apartment with flowers. He tells me every day that he’s the luckiest man alive,” she says.
Adds Haibon: “I’m living proof that you should listen to your gut, and that it’s not too late. The person I wanted to be with most was right in front of my eyes.”2comments
The Story of Us: Ashley I & Jared was executive produced by Chris Coelen, Paria Sadighi, Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon for Kinetic TV by Kinetic Content, a Red Arrow Studios Company.
Photo Credit: Kinetic Content