It’s practically impossible to discuss season four of Bachelor in Paradise without acknowledging the cringe-worthy love triangle that developed between Dean Unglert, Kristina Schulman, and Danielle «D-Lo» Lombard on that beach in Mexico. Although Kristina and Dean started out strong and even spent time together during the infamous shutdown at the beginning of the season, that all changed when D-Lo came into the picture, forming an awkward-as-hell love triangle that revealed Dean’s true colors to hordes of now-former fangirls. So, how does Kristina really feel about things now that the cameras aren’t rolling?
The BIP star has had a handful of interviews lately, including an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and a chat on the Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast,» in which she hashed out her post-season thoughts. Below we’ve outlined her most notable statements for all you die-hard Bachelor Nation members who are itching for the latest scoop.
On how it felt watching the entire season:
While chatting with Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti on their podcast, Kristina said that she was watching back the entire season for the first time along with the rest of America. While doing so, she got to see parts of D-Lo and Dean’s relationship that she didn’t witness in person. «I was believing that Dean and I had something, but I was not seeing that he also had something with Danielle until watching it back.» When Ben asked whether Paradise was as much of an emotional rollercoaster for her in person as it was for viewers, Kristina admitted, «I would say not as emotional as watching it back. Whenever I was in the moment, it was just the relationship between myself and Dean. I wasn’t focused on anyone around me, really, because I was trying to figure out for myself: what am I doing with this?»
On how her relationship with Danielle has evolved:
A lot has changed since D-Lo and Kristina both appeared on Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor. Back then, the two were «friends,» Kristina said. «I mean, she wasn’t the person I would text on the daily like with other girls, but she and I were friendly; we’d comment on each others’ social media posts, and we spent a week in Vegas together before that. I considered her a friend more than an acquaintance; not like a best friend.»
But since leaving Paradise, there’s certainly an awkward energy between the two. They recently spent a whole 24 hours together for fellow cast member Raven Gates’s birthday and managed to keep things cordial for the festivities. «It’s like we knew the discomfort and the awkwardness was there, but neither of us was saying anything. It is what it is now.» She added, «I don’t really have anything against Danielle. Yes, it’s awkward, but I know we’ll be hanging out in the same circles in the future and we’ll just have to get over it, to be honest.»
On how she feels about Dean now:
Similar to how she feels about D-Lo, Kristina admitted that she doesn’t have anything against Dean. «I just think we’re young and we are learning and I know both of them are getting a little — well, a lot — of backlash on social media. I’m not going to burn all my bridges and just be upset with them; I just want to rise above and keep talking to Danielle and Dean.»
It doesn’t look like she’s ready to cut off Dean completely just yet, either. In an interview with HuffPost‘s Here to Make Friends podcast, she explained, «I’m trying to be friendly — understanding him a little bit more and what he was trying to do. Look, yes, it hurt me in the process a whole lot, but I try to see the best in people . . . I’m trying to understand where he was coming from.»
On how she felt after learning that Dean loved her:
During the finale after show, Dean confessed that he «loved» Kristina while on Bachelor in Paradise, despite his decision to pursue D-Lo. Kristina’s reaction to his confession? «To be honest, I think he may have said something like that prior to giving me a rose,» she explained on the Almost Famous podcast. «Partially that’s why I stuck around, to see if he meant it. Hearing it again, it kind of melted my heart just a little, I will admit. But at the same time, it’s like why now? So much has happened since and it’s always too bad to realize it’s too late.» Too late is right!
On how she felt after seeing Dean’s cryptic Instagram:
The same evening the episode aired showing Kristina’s BIP departure, Dean posted an Instagram picture (see above) that had fans confused AF. The photo showed the two looking smitten while in Kentucky, and the caption read, «You were way out of my league.» Though this pissed off many Bachelor Nation members, Kristina didn’t really seem to read into it much, admitting to Ashley I. and Ben that it’s simply a nod to a song by Fitz and the Tantrums that they both like. «I don’t know, maybe he really feels like I was out of his league,» she said nonchalantly.
On whether there’s still hope for a future relationship with Dean:
Though Kristina is certainly still reeling from Dean’s f*ckboy ways, it doesn’t exactly look like the door is 100 percent shut for the two — maybe only about 75 percent shut. During the finale’s after show, when Dean was on the hotseat, Kristina turned to him to say, «I hope that whoever is next in your relationship that you will never treat them like that. I think I took a lot.» But she was also (somehow) very sweet to him, adding, «I’ll always have that love for you. It was intense, but it was real, and I’ve never experienced that before. I will always have a special place in my heart for you, Dean.»
On top of that, when she, Dean, and D-Lo chatted about their love triangle with Ellen, the host straight-up asked whether Kristina would ever be open to rekindling the flame with Dean. Her answer was (for some godforsaken reason) pretty open-ended: «Only if this guy learns from his mistakes.» Sheesh.
On what she has learned in hindsight:
«We always hear what we want to hear, but you have to listen to what people are actually saying, and I think in those moments, I was only hanging onto all the positive things Dean was saying,» she said on the «Always Famous» podcast. «I should’ve seen a little bit more clearly that he was truly investing his time in someone else and I should’ve let that happen in that case. I definitely learned not to hang on as much as I did.» Preach, girl!
On whether she’d ever be the Bachelorette:
It’s definitely a possibility for Kristina, although she would have a lot of thinking to do if given the chance. «If asked to be the next Bachelorette, I would have to probably consider when the time comes to it because again, watching Bachelor in Paradise, it was a lot of emotion,» she told Ashley I. during the podcast. «It’s hard to see yourself that emotional. When the opportunity presents itself, if it does, I’ll consider it then. But for now, I have to kind of learn from Bachelor in Paradise and move on from that.»