Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette has been pretty wild, but the drama surrounding the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise has been off the charts — and it all began with DeMario Jackson, who had been competing for Lindsay’s heart until she sent him home.
The 31-year-old Bachelorette spoke with ET on the red carpet at this year’s ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where she opened up about Jackson’s return to for the upcoming “Men Tell All” special.
“I think I pretty much laid it all out the last time I saw DeMario, so I have no questions, nothing to say, no emotions,” Lindsay explained. “If he has something to say, I’ll listen. But I said my piece.”
Lindsay kicked Jackson out in the second episode of her season, when a woman claiming to be the suitor’s ex told Lindsay that he’d left her without a word in order to compete on this season of the reality dating show.
Jackson tried to seek forgiveness in the following episode, in a bid to get back into the competition, but Lindsay showed him the door. The 30-year-old suitor subsequently joined the cast of the fourth season of Bachelor in Paradise, and the drama followed him there as well.
Production on Paradise was temporarily suspended amid allegations of misconduct following an alleged sexual encounter between Jackson and fellow Paradise cast member Corinne Olympios, reportedly after the pair had spent the day drinking.
While production on Paradise has since resumed, both Jackson and Olympios declined to rejoin the cast. However, the former Bachelor contestant has confirmed that she will appear on the Bachelor In Paradise reunion special later this year.
When it comes to the tumultuous season of Paradise, Lindsay said she’d rather stay out of the complicated drama.
“I wasn’t there,” she shared. “I learned a long time ago time ago [that] I don’t have an opinion on something I don’t hear or see myself.”
When it comes to Olympios’ decision to appear on the Paradise reunion special, Lindsay was entirely supportive.
“I consider Corinne a friend, I’m glad she will be at [the special],” she shared.
Reflecting on her friendship with Olympios, the Bachelorette explained that she’s gotten to know her fellow reality star outside of her public persona and she’s grown close with her ever since the pair competed against one another for Nick Viall’s heart on the previous season of The Bachelor.
“You only get a snip it of a person [when they are competing on the show].I got to know her in depth and I really do like her,” Lindsay shared.
In terms of her own search for love, the young lawyer said she feels “truly blessed” to have gotten the opportunity to partake on the journey of finding her soul mate.
“I had no idea what I was walking into,” she admitted. “I felt a little selfish saying I’m trying to find love for myself — but I had no idea it would be like this. I had great men to choose from.”
Unlike Bachelorettes in the past, Lindsay has been open about the fact that she got engaged at the end of her season — although she obviously hasn’t been able to reveal who the lucky guy is just yet. But, she says he was definitely the right choice.
“It’s no secret I found the one at this point, so I’m really, really excited,” she shared. “I did genuinely fall in love on the show. I’m still in love.”
Lindsay said she’s even wearing “a representation” of her engagement ring, only because the show won’t let her wear the real thing. “As many times as I’ve asked, they won’t let me!”
Along with her substitute ring, Lindsay also rocked a classy sunflower yellow gown to the ESPY Awards, and was all smiles as she posed for photographers on the red carpet.
While it was rumored that Lindsay and Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant were once romantically linked, she coyly avoided confirming the speculation when asked how she felt about possibly running into the NBA pro at the EPSYs.
“Well, you know, I went to University of Texas and I’ve already run into one Longhorn — Derek Johnson just walked through — so we’re all friends,” she explained. “It’s a small community when it comes to UT, [particularly] the African-American community.”
Back in June, Lindsay came out for the last game of the NBA Finals,where she showed her support for Durant, who helped his team win the championship against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the reality star said she was looking forward to catching up with Durant in person.
“I have not seen Kevin tonight, [but] I hope I do,” she said. “I want to congratulate him on his new ring and he can congratulate me on mine!”