As excited as Bachelor Nation is about this recent relationship news, you might be feeling a bit of whiplash and wondering, when did Ashley I. and Jared get back together? That's Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon, of course, who announced on Wednesday that after three years of will-they-won't-they, they're officially a couple. And a pretty serious one, based on some of the loved-up comments from the pair.
So what's the deal? Has the Bachelor in Paradise couple been keeping their relationship under wraps for weeks? Months? Years? Based on clues in their social media and in Ashley and Jared's episode of The Story Of Us, it seems that the answer is months. By the looks of it, their relationship officially started in March 2018, but their love has been building since long before that.
The duo met on BIP in summer 2015, where they briefly dated, but life took them in very different romantic directions. For the next three years, Ashley and Jared's dating timeline consisted of just a few blips, even though the former claims it was love at first sight, and the latter told People that he realized he was in love with now-girlfriend during a charity event she organized in Virginia.
After some sleuthing, a Wet Paint article suggested that Jared is referencing an October 2015 charity function hosted in Centreville, Virginia that ultimately raised $25,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s National Capital Area chapter and the INOVA Fairfax Hospital Child Life Services.
But even with such an intense history, apparently it's only been in the past few months of 2018 that things have really started picking up steam. According to Jared, he began coming to terms with his feelings during a group vacation in January. He and Ashley joined fellow BIP alums and new parents Tanner and Jade Tolbert in St. Lucia, where everything started to fall into place for the Rhode Island native.
Ashley was still with Canadian Kevin Wendt at the time, whom she'd met on Bachelor Winter Games, but Tanner encouraged Jared not to hold back from sharing his feelings. As Jared shared in The Story of Us:
"Tanner loves the theatrics of everything, but he said something that really resonated with me. Tanner said ‘It’s more unfair to Ashley if you don’t say anything because you need to give her the opportunity to let her know how you feel and let her make up her own mind.’ I was like ‘OK!'"
Jared took the advice, saying that he came clean to Ashley about his feelings, and even went as far as to kiss her on the mouth when they parted ways at the airport at the end of the trip. "Well, that’s everything I’ve ever wanted," she recalled thinking at the time, but she elected to see through her relationship with Kevin. The pair broke up in another two months or so, in March 2018, and when they did, they would cite the differences between the show and real life.
"I just knew in my heart at that point that it wasn’t right with Kevin," Ashley revealed in the 44-minute Story of Us episode, adding, "I ended the relationship because it had run its course." Basically, she wants to be clear that didn't cheat on Kevin when starting things up with Jared. As you can see above, photos with complimentary captions about Kevin still appear across Ashley's social media, and vice versa, so it's clear they left things on good terms.
But regardless of the reason for the breakup, at that point, Jared knew he had nothing to lose. Ashley says that soon afterwards, her longtime friend spent three days writing a letter that spelled out all his feelings more clearly than ever before. "I was scream-crying basically alone in my apartment reading that just sobbing and sobbing," she shared in The Story of Us. And basically since the moment she read that letter, it's been on.
On a May 22 red carpet unveiling the relationship, Jared told People that he and Ashley "see a potential life partner in each other," and on his very first photo documenting the relationship, Jared captioned the image:
"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
So even though the romantic relationship is just months old, this pairing has been years in the making, and it's clear these two are hitting the ground running.