Most seasons of The Bachelorette end with a romantic proposal and the promise of a fairy tale ending — but according to one former lead, that's when the real pressure begins. During a recent interview with Us Weekly, JoJo Fletcher revealed she and Jordan Rodgers initially stayed together for the Bachelorette fans, even though they were having relationship struggles offscreen.
"I think that was one of the reasons why we stayed together in the beginning," Fletcher said of the fear of letting the public down. "There were so many reasons why we thought we should not be together." However, she said she was very aware of the fact that Bachelorette fans wanted to see her and Rodgers live happily ever after. "I think, subconsciously for me — and for him — there was this pressure, not only from people that watch the show but, like, our family and our friends [to stay together]."
Thankfully, Fletcher noted that she and Rodgers don't feel the weight of those expectations "anymore," and their relationship is much stronger than it was before. "Obviously, we’re far past that, but I think in the beginning, there is that sense of pressure," she said. That pressure is likely compounded by the fact that Bachelor relationships have been notoriously short-lived in recent years. Only one Bachelor has married his final choice (though two married their runner-up) and five Bachelorettes have stayed with their winner, including Fletcher herself.
Both Fletcher and Rodgers have been open about the challenges they faced as a couple once their Bachelorette season came to an end in 2016. "I don't think the real difficulties began until after the final rose. That's when things really blew up for us, and we didn't know how to prepare for that," she said during a 2018 episode of their YouTube series, Engaged with JoJo and Jordan. In fact, all of that attention took a toll on them both, especially after one tabloid published a rumor that Rodgers was being unfaithful, just as the couple was getting ready to move in together.
"I don’t know if I always shared with you how it made me feel, because I think there was a part of me that was scared that he would get mad at me," Fletcher recalled, revealing that it turned into a "blowout fight" that almost broke them up. "Not having your family and not having your friends, and feeling like you don’t have each other, you feel so alone. I just said, 'Listen, I feel alone right now. And I need you, and I need us.' And I guess not having anyone led me to back to you, and got us to talk again and communicate."
From Rodgers' perspective, the fight made him realize that he and Fletcher weren't being honest with one another, and that they needed to talk it out. "We didn’t know how to communicate with each other, and our feelings are both getting hurt. There’s tabloids about me, so I’m getting defensive, and hurt. And then I’m like, 'Why are you believing that?'" he said. "We’re just getting to know each other, so a lot of times, unfortunately, I think we kind of held in those feelings. And that was terrible."
Now, Fletcher and Rodgers are happier than ever — and are still hoping to tie the knot as soon as possible, after having to postpone their wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Although I would be just as happy saying I do right here covered in paint ... our dream wedding will have to wait just a little longer I guess," Rodgers wrote on Instagram in June 2020, on what would have been their original wedding day. "I love you @joelle_fletcher and I can’t wait to marry you in 2021!"