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Ashley and Jared Defend Michael A. and Danielle Amid ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Backlash: He Didn’t ‘Feel It’ With Sierra (Exclusive)

Consider Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon official shippers of Michael Allio and Danielle Maltby. While some Bachelor in Paradise fans are questioning the single dad’s new connection after he broke things off with Sierra Jackson, the couple are on board.

Related: ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Couples Who Are Still Together

“I’m for Danielle and Michael. I think at the end of the day, Sierra is a fantastic person and I love her so much. From what we gathered when we were down on the beach, it was more so that Michael, maybe, didn’t feel it with Sierra,” Jared told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, October 18. “It was more about his connection with Sierra than it was, ‘He’s not ready for a relationship.’”

Ashley agreed. “And initially, like, before we got to talk to Michael about that, I was like, ‘Oh, I guess he’s leaving too because he’s probably realizing that this is not for him.’ But then the next day, we talked to him, and he was like, ‘No, it’s not that. It’s just that I knew that that wasn’t going to be a long-term thing,’” she said.

Ashley and Jared Defend Michael and Danielle Amid 'BiP' Backlash
(Left to right) Michael Allio, Ashley Laconetti, Jared Haibon, Danielle Maltby ABC/Craig Sjodin ; Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock ; ABC

The Bachelor season 21 alum arrived during the Monday, October 17, episode, and many fans questioned the timing since she walked onto the beach just as Michael prepared to say his goodbyes ahead of the rose ceremony.

Related: Ashley and Jared's Relationship Timeline

“Danielle coming down — it’s like, ‘Guys, this is a TV show!’ There are people making decisions,” Ashley continued. “And they will protect the people that we wanna see there and [who] we wanna see their story line continue to evolve. And Michael A. is one of those people.”

Jared added that the fans often go back and forth about what they want from the franchise.

“They’re like, ‘Oh, we want it to be about love.’ And then you have two people who are in love and they’re like, ‘Well, we don’t wanna see that. We wanna see drama,’” he said. “And then they bring in drama and then they’re like, ‘Well no, this is supposed to be real love.’ And it’s like, ‘Well, come on now.’”

Related: Status Check! Bachelor Nation Couples Who Are Still Going Strong

Sierra, for her part, tweeted that she felt “highly disrespected” while watching the episode.

“I’m gonna go meditate. #bachelorinparadise,” she wrote on Monday, referring to Danielle’s arrival as “#convenient.”

After Michael admitted on the show that he and Danielle had spoken off camera, Sierra added, “He said ‘a little bit of history’ 🧐.”

Bachelor in Paradise airs on ABC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. For more from Ashley and Jared, watch the video above.

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