SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the “Bachelor in Paradise” finale which aired Sept. 11 on ABC.
After six weeks of love and plenty of drama on the beaches of Mexico, the fifth season of “Bachelor in Paradise” has come to an end, this time with two engaged couples and two other duos in serious relationships.
In the final episode, Jordan Kimball got down on one knee to propose to Jenna Cooper, just moments after Chris Randone asked Krystal Nielson to be his wife.
Kimball, a male model who made quite the reputation for himself on Becca Kufrin‘s season of “The Bachelorette,” appeared to fall for Cooper at first sight but admitted he didn’t know he was going to propose until “the second to last week. I immediately fell in love with her, but you still don’t know if you’re ready to get engaged there.”
Cooper, an alum from Arie Luyendyk Jr.‘s season of “The Bachelor,” was surprised by the quick proposal, but said at finale taping, “I knew we would get engaged, I just didn’t know it was going to necessarily be on ‘Paradise.’ We had kind of talked about it and he was like ‘Remember our talk, we’re going to go out into life and meet each other’s families and it’s going to be so special,’ so I was like ‘What?!’ I was pleasantly surprised.”
On the “Bachelor in Paradise Tell All” reunion show, Kimball announced the couple had set a wedding date of June 9, 2019 and asked host Chris Harrison to officiate, which he accepted. The model later confirmed to Variety that the two planned to wed in a TV wedding in Mexico next summer, as part of the sixth season of “Paradise.”
“It’ll be the party of the year,” joked Cooper, saying invites will be extended to “most of” this year’s cast.
As for Randone and Nielson, both arrived in “Paradise” as villains from their respective seasons (him from Kufrin’s, her from Luyendyk’s), but credit each other with being able to change and show a different side of themselves to viewers.
“I think I wouldn’t have been able to show my good side and vulnerable side and who I am if it wasn’t for the help of Krystal,” Randone said at the finale taping. “She really opened my eyes and helped me become more self aware and really just gave me some good guidance and direction to realize where I was at and what I had in front of me. It was nice because that meant that she didn’t judge me by my season, but got to know me for who I was.”
The two are in the process of moving in together in San Diego, Calif. with no immediate wedding plans, but reflecting on their engagement, Randone, who went by the nickname “Goose” throughout the season, said he knew he wanted to marry her after their one-on-one date.
Nielson said that throughout the show, the two had bonded over fear of commitment and having divorced parents, but she was nervous going into the last day of “Paradise.”
“I was scared to move forward and make that commitment, but at the same time, I would’ve been devastated if he hadn’t proposed,” she said. “I didn’t want to lose this guy, and it was just incredible to evolve into this stronger person with someone by my side.”
After both tearfully ending their relationships in Mexico, two couples — Kendall Long and “Grocery Store” Joe Amabile, and Kevin Wendt and Astrid Loch — revealed that they had rekindled off-camera since the show and were in serious relationships. Colton Underwood and Tia Booth, who were the source of plenty of “Paradise” drama, broke up in Mexico and although they remain close friends, have ended their romantic connection. Finally Annaliese Puccini, who left “Paradise” in a relationship with Kamil Nicalek, was shockingly dumped during the “Tell All” reunion, after the two had attempted a long-distance relationship for the past few months.
“You swore on your mother’s life you wouldn’t break up with me on this stage, why couldn’t we have this conversation in the real world?” Puccini exclaimed during the taping, before tearfully running backstage and leaving Nicalek to be booed by the audience.
Relationship drama aside, John Graham, famous on the show as one of the creators of Venmo, told Variety that although he left “Paradise” single, he felt his time in Mexico was important as one of the few Asian contestants in the history of the franchise.
Referencing this specific moment for Asian representation, especially with the release of films like “Crazy Rich Asians,” Graham said, “a lot of people have reached out to me saying ‘Thank you for being Asian, I felt the same way, and I’m really inspired by you or proud of you for being out there and putting yourself out there’ and that feels the most warming for me because I felt that way when I was younger. I was insecure about my background and self-conscious about it and now, if anything, I’m so much more proud of it. It’s made me who I am today and influences the way I think about the world, so I’m proud of that.”