This season of the hit TLC reality series made history with Erika and Stephanie, who are the first LGBTQ couple to ever be featured on the franchise. Stephanie, a 29-year-old YouTube star from Yonkers, New York, connected with Erika -- a 24-year-old photographer from Australia -- online before Stephanie decided to make the visit to Australia to finally meet in person. But Stephanie's visit was awkward from the get-go, with Stephanie being very hesitant to show Erika any affection or intimacy despite making the big move to come to Australia. Some fans on social media have criticized Stephanie, accusing her of not actually being bisexual and going on the show for fame and to further her social media influencer career.
ET's Lauren Zima spoke to Erika ahead of part one of the 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days Tell All, which airs on Sunday, and she commented on the accusations Stephanie has faced online about her bisexuality.
"Honestly, I can only speak for my experience and who I am," Erika says. "Sexuality is a very personal thing, and sometimes it takes, like, exploring yourself to be able to figure that out, you know? It sucks that at some points, it felt like the figuring out of things was at my expense, but I'm not gonna sit here and say that she is something or she isn't, because that's her own personal journey."
"I don't think it's fair for them to say that in the first place to a stranger and secondly, you know, to even make a judgment in the first place," she continues. "Of course, like, people can have their doubts or whatever, but like I've mentioned before, this is Steph's journey and its no one's place to, like, publicly go for her."
Erika tells ET she's currently single after her explosive breakup with Stephanie that was shown on camera. The two got into constant arguments this season over Stephanie being uncomfortable with a lot of situations, and Stephanie acknowledged that her real-life persona was much more conservative than how she portrayed herself to be online. Erika later told cameras that she wished Stephanie's entire visit to Australia never happened, which she still stands by.
"If I had known that a lot of the aspects of my lifestyle were dealbreakers for Stephanie, I would have said, 'Don't worry about coming,'" she shares. "This is who I am, and I'm not going to change that. Like, this is how I live my life. ... I travel a lot and I do a lot of things I guess regular people wouldn't do .... but Steph wasn't OK with a lot of parts of my life. And I probably would have just gone, 'Well OK, that's fine. I wish you would've told me that before you came here because I wouldn't have entered into it, you know?'"
"Honestly, we didn't sleep in the same room or even the same hotel room more than four nights, which was ... you know, I didn't actually get to spend a lot of time with her other than what you guys have seen," she adds of Stephanie's visit. "You know, she is fun or whatever, but at the same time I was very taken aback by her problems with some of the dates or, you know, with my friends. ... When the good times were good, they were fun, but we just didn't have very many of them."
Erika says that at the end of the day, the long-distance aspect of their relationship wasn't a factor when it comes to why they broke up -- rather, it was Stephanie's jealousy and insecurity issues. During the season, Stephanie had concerns over Erika having hooked up with some of her still good friends in the past, which in one episode, ended in a public fight after which Stephanie stormed out of Erika's friend's party while Erika was in tears.
"Jealousy issues, whether you're far apart or not, they're gonna come up," Erika reflects. "If you have insecurities about your partner with a friend... I'm not gonna be with my partner 24/7 even if they're here, so it's still gonna be a lack of trust regardless."
Erika says Stephanie's concerns over her past relationships were "absolutely not" justified. She admits that their intense fight at a house party with her friends was one of the low points for her during the entire season, and another low point was Stephanie smashing a bowl on the floor during their breakup. Stephanie was upset at the time that Erika hadn't told her about a long-term, on-again, off-again relationship she had with another woman in the past, and felt Erika was pressuring her to come out to her parents.
"Once we shut the cameras off, I was not in a good place for a while after that," she reveals of their dramatic split. "After the bowl throw, I actually sat in bed for quite some time and I was just crying. It was not good mentally for me. I wouldn't say I was fearing for my life or anything, but you know, it was a very intense moment that really startled me and kind of put me in a very negative head space that was not great. ... For a couple of weeks after that I was not OK."
"Obviously, the breakup was very intense and it didn't start off that intense and then it kind of spiraled very, very quickly," she continues, noting that it wasn't her intention to try to pressure Erika to come out, but rather, was trying to open up about a past experience that made her vulnerable.
Erika says she doesn't know if she and Stephanie could ever rekindle their relationship, but regardless of how their relationship turned out, there were definitely positive aspects. Both women came out to their parents about being bisexual, and Erika says she's received lots of messages from both young and middle-age viewers who praised her for coming out.
"I guess I learned that it's important to realize when something's not right," she says of what she's taken away from her and Stephanie's "roller-coaster" relationship. "Steph and I both probably could have realized that we just weren't compatible early on and we just keep beating a dead horse that wasn't working. ... If we would have ended earlier, we probably would still have been friends."
As for this season's highly anticipated tell-all, Erika tells ET that fans are in for "a wild ride" when it comes to her and Stephanie.
"It's pretty crazy," she shares. "You'll definitely be shocked."
Part one of the 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days Tell All airs Sunday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC, while part two airs on Monday, June 8 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
"I think people will definitely be skeptical, you know, I'm a social media influencer, I'm a YouTuber, so people already just question, 'OK, well, why is this girl doing this? Is it all just for attention or whatever?'" she acknowledged. "But honestly, this is how I've always been. I've always aired my life out on YouTube. I'm a storyteller and I like being open and honest and vulnerable because I want to make people feel less alone. I want others to feel understood because, for such a long time, I felt really misunderstood. I really felt like no one knew who I was and what I was really going through."
"There's a lot of stigma in the LGBTQ community but there's also a lot of stigma for bisexuals," she continued. "For a lot of people, it's not taken seriously -- even within the LGBTQ community, it's like, 'Oh, why can't you just choose?'"