DeMario Jackson is continuing to set the record straight regarding a highly publicized scandal that resulted in a temporary production shutdown on season four of Bachelor in Paradise.
The reality star joined BiP host Chris Harrison for a candid sit-down interview on Tuesday night's episode. Jackson said he's "in a much better place" than he was "a month or so ago," when Warner Bros. first investigated complaints of misconduct between he and fellow contestant Corinne Olympios following day one of production. Warner Bros. has since released a statement saying that the investigation did not result in "any charge of misconduct," but neither Jackson or Olympios returned to Mexico when production resumed.
Jackson kept his composure when detailing what happened that day in Paradise, including news of being sent home from the show. He recalled that initially, he didn't understand the severity of the situation.
"What's funny is that I sent Corinne a message, jokingly like, 'Oh, we broke Paradise!' as a joke," he said. "I legit thought it was something, like, 'Oh my God, these people are crazy.'"
But his voice cracked and his eyes teared up when discussing the aftermath of the scandal, saying he was "exhausted" both mentally and physically.
"I know who I am. I know I'm not that monster they're trying to portray on TV," Jackson stated. "Like Michelle Obama said, 'When they go low, you go high.' It was hard to go high, but I had to do it because I train and mentor children, and I can't tell them to be something that I'm not. That's what kept me going. And great family, friends, school teachers, people at the gym. It was crazy to see the response from them. My castmates -- Alexis, Raven, I FaceTimed Taylor, like, every single day. There was just so much love. I was extremely humbled."
When Harrison directed the conversation to his mother's reaction to the scandal, Jackson truly broke down.
"It's tough. It's difficult. I love my mom more than anything in this world," he said, putting his head in his hands. "Seeing her cry every single day, it was difficult. I'm her everything, best friends. I had to make her deactivate [her social media], because she was going to war defending me. It sucked."
The longtime host of the ABC franchise was sympathetic, saying Jackson's mom must be "incredibly proud" of how he handled the accusation. When Harrison then asked how he made it through, his answer was simple.
As for Olympios, who will speak with Harrison during next Tuesday's episode, Jackson wishes they "could have spoken."
"I felt bad for her 'cause she was being slut-shamed," he said. "I love my mother and I love the women in my family more than anything in this world, and it hurt me knowing she was going through the same thing I was, but a little bit more aggressive and intense."
Jackson concluded by saying that he's not going to let the controversy get him down.
"I'm still going to be me," he said. "I'm working very hard on just building back up my spirits. This summer took a lot out of me. I'm not gonna let this get me down. I'm gonna be who I am, and that's my whistle-blowing, crazy, fun-loving self."
Bachelor in Paradise airs Monday and Tuesday nights on ABC. For more on the former contestant, watch the video below.