After three years of “will they or won’t they,” Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon have finally said yes to love’s warm embrace. Their new coupledom was announced in a gushing 45-minute video interview that premiered exclusively on People.com. If you don’t know who Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon are, that’s fine, but I’d like to explain it to you, because I am unwell.
Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon first met on Bachelor in Paradise in 2015. We were all so much younger then. Ashley was a 26-year-old virgin from Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor who spoke very loudly all the time no matter what, and Jared was a heartbroken former Bachelorette contestant with a patchy beard and no discernible personality. During that season of Bachelor in Paradise, Ashley became fervently and unabashedly obsessed with Jared and, after he appeared less than interested in her advances, spent most of her time sobbing as though her hand was being torn off. Ashley cried so much, and so vibrantly, that she became my avatar on the workplace messaging app Slack, where she remains to this day.
When Ashley cried, she often said cruel things about other people—for example, when Jared went out with Clare, another Bachelor in Paradise contestant, a weeping Ashley called Clare a “cougar” whose “eggs are almost dead” (Clare was 33). Jared ended things with Ashley with the poetic line: “I love getting along with you, but I just don’t know if our chemistry is what I’m looking for,” but she eventually finagled an overnight date with him during which she says she watched him sleep. When she went home on the season finale, Jared said of their breakup, “She’s not suffering anymore and that’s the most important thing.”
As Ashley continued to pine for Jared through Season 2 of Bachelor in Paradise, Jared continued to kinda-sorta reject her adoration, and they both built seemingly lucrative online brands off their theatrically one-sided romance. Offscreen, they apparently became friends, and, as they explain in The Story of Us (a TV show, or something, that Ashley hosts and Jared produces) had a slow-building flirtation centered around the various trips and promotional events that make up the lives of ex-Bachelor contestants with high Instagram counts. He became particularly sure of his feelings for her when she started dating someone else.
In the video above, the pair spends nearly an hour explaining how they got together. There are tears (from both parties), hand kisses, and love letters read aloud. There is also the uncomfortable re-telling of how they met. “I remember I kept looking around, and I’d catch you, and you’d just be staring at me—” Jared recalls. “—THAT’S BECAUSE I WAS IMPRINTING ON YOU,” Ashley interrupts. An effective strategy, apparently. Or perhaps Jared simply realized he is lame as hell, and should be so lucky. “I wanted you that night,” Jared tells Ashley, later in the video, of the time they “danced on the bar in Harvard sweatshirts.”
“I told her two years ago, one of my love languages was personal touch, and she was like, ‘Uh, this guy doesn’t know himself,’ ” Jared told People. “Now, she understands.” Now we all understand, unfortunately.
“It’s funny, because looking back at old pictures of us as babies, we actually look like we could have been twins as 1 or 2-year-olds,” Ashley said. Also, “I love falling asleep on him.”
So why am I telling you about this? I don’t know, because I needed an excuse to watch this entire video from start to finish during the workday? Having watched an adult Hanson fan try to strong-arm a man into a relationship over the course of several seasons of television, it is vaguely inspiring to hear that she finally achieved success. (Or, as Ashley put it, “I finally got my chick flick.”) Ashley’s behavior on the show was not unlike that of Kate Hudson’s alter ego in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and yet look how she has prevailed! Reality television is rarely surprising, but here I am, kind of surprised. Congratulations to the happy couple.