There’s no rule book for being the Bachelorette, but Michelle Young has no regrets regarding any bumps in the road when it comes to looking for The One — and getting engaged to Nayte Olukoya — on season 18 of the series.
“I never thought I would be able to fall in love with two people. I’ve seen people fall in love with more than one person. And I’m like, ‘Nope, that cannot happen,’ but when it does, and when you’re in it, there is this point where it’s like, ‘OK, I have to stay true to who I am,’” the teacher, 28, told Us Weekly exclusively in a joint interview with Nayte, 27, on Wednesday, December 22. “And you think about it, and you do have these moments where you realize you’re in a TV show and you think about, ‘OK, if I say, I love you to this person and this person — even if that’s what your feelings they’re at — this is how people are gonna react.’ And when it comes down to it, I can’t navigate my actions based on how other people are gonna react, because then, I mean, that could hold me back from making the right decision.”
During the Tuesday, December 21, finale of The Bachelorette, Michelle wrestled with her feelings for Nayte and Brandon Jones. After saying “I love you” to both men, the Minnesota native gave her final rose to the account executive.
“In that moment, I was very open to both of those relationships. Those were feelings that I was feeling. Does that make it little bit harder for Nayte to watch back? Yeah, it does,” she continued. “And that’s definitely where our communication piece comes in with having to navigate through that because it’s not an easy situation and it’s such a different situation and one that a lot of people can’t necessarily relate to. It was just that piece was truly just staying true to what I was feeling, which is what I promised when I accepted the role as a Bachelorette.”
Nayte, who told Us that he watched every week (and with Michelle if they were together on a Tuesday), doesn’t fault his fiancée for her feelings.
“At the end of the day, [like Michelle] said, she could never see herself falling in love with two people and I think that in the ‘real world’ or whatever, outside of the show, I think that that is a legitimate statement because you would never really put yourself in a position to fall in love with more than one person or at least you shouldn’t,” he said with a laugh. “But when you’re in this environment, that’s literally something that can happen, and it did happen. And I can feel however I felt about it, but at the end of the day, you kind of gotta just remind yourself like, ‘Hey, this environment, like, things happened, now that this is done, we’re back into the real world and that’s something that’s behind us now.’ It’s just her and I against the world. It can only bother you so much. I get to wake up next to Michelle [for] the rest of my life.”
While Bachelor Nation watched Michelle happily accept a proposal from Nayte, he couldn’t help but call out the “edit” he received on the show, writing via Instagram, “Who would have ever thought that a reality tv show could actually work out as perfectly as it did for us. Regardless of the edit, we know our true story.”
Nayte, whose intentions and willingness to propose were questioned by fans, told Us that the “story that was told” was sometimes “a little frustrating” for him to watch back.
“[But] we always had each other to kind of talk about it, laugh about it, and, you know, it was fun the entire time,” he concluded.