Ahead of his debut on season 8 of Bachelor in Paradise, Aaron Clancy is clarifying his relationship with Genevieve Parisi — and teasing what’s to come.
The 28-year-old Bachelorette alum told Us Weekly that he was “shocked” when Shanae Ankney alleged at the Women Tell All in March that Aaron and Genevieve, 27, had hooked up off camera.
“I didn’t think that my name would be mentioned. I thought I was completely irrelevant,” he said on Us’ “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “Essentially what really happened was I just met Genevieve — I had met her twice, but just in passing randomly at a bar. [We] said a couple of words to each other, hugged, but [were] completely platonic. I didn’t really even know her.”
Weeks later, fans saw Aaron and Genevieve sitting next to each other at Clayton Echard’s After the Final Rose taping.
“The seating arrangement isn’t random. They did that on purpose, [it] wasn’t our choice. Nothing changed [between us],” Aaron insisted.
The speculation, however, did make the reality star think about pursuing Genevieve when he arrived in Mexico.
“It made me really kind of look and see — is there potentially something [there] or why not give it a shot? We’re both on the beach, that’s what it’s for,” he said. “I definitely figured, ‘Why not?’”
Aaron added that he went into the season with an “open mind” and wasn’t “targeting anyone” specifically. Fans previously watched Aaron on season 7 of BiP.
“Obviously, you know, I did find love with James the previous season,” he joked to Us about bestie James Bonsall. “But it didn’t really work out the way I had hoped. You try to find a romantic connection, so figured why not give it one more shot.”
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As for what he learned in between seasons, Aaron added: “My biggest thing was not to be so impulsive [and] reactionary. I think that the first time I was a little bit more emotionally driven than this next season. So yeah, just really maturing and understanding how the process works a little bit better.”
New episodes of Bachelor in Paradise air on ABC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET — or stream episodes on demand on Hulu the day following their premieres.