Newly engaged Bachelor in Paradise couple Derek Peth and Taylor Nolan revealed to ET on Monday that they almost split after drama involving fellow contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson caused filming of the ABC series to temporarily shut down in June.
“During the shutdown, we discussed that maybe we shouldn’t try this,” Nolan tells ET’s Lauren Zima. “But then we couldn’t stop talking to each other. We'd FaceTime each other, brush our teeth together and just be up super-late talking on the phone.”
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“Originally we were like, ‘This is fun, but we're in different states,’” added Peth. “We tried to be realistic and then it turned out I couldn't stay away from her.”
FaceTiming “every other hour” and even introducing her best friend to Peth on one of the calls, Nolan said that she was making plans to visit Peth in Iowa right before they found out Bachelor in Paradise filming was set to resume.
Since wrapping the series, the pair have made efforts to ensure they don’t become another failed reality TV romance, and even stopped watching the show at one point, so that they wouldn’t become focused on “he said/she said.”
They’ve now seen all of the episodes, but have taken advice from Bachelor in Paradise success story Evan Bass -- who found love with Carly Waddell on the series and is now married and expecting his first child with her -- when it comes to separating the show from real life.
“Evan's a good friend of mine, so we got a lot of good advice from him,” said Peth. “The best advice we've gotten was to separate this part from our real relationship, and to remember that people only know a small part of what our real relationship is like. So, we've stopped watching some of what people say [and] we stopped watching the show for a couple of weeks because we'd rather focus on each other.”
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Although the pair has been long-distance until now -- with Peth based in Iowa and Nolan in Seattle – they joked they had been living out of hotel rooms while meeting up with each other and have started using Airbnbs to make their time together feel more homely. With Peth recently landing a new banking job in New York, they will soon relocate to the Big Apple and hope to have kids after tying the knot.
With their proposal airing on Monday's season finale, Nolan admitted she wasn’t expecting the Neil Lane ring, while Peth asked for two days away from Nolan so he could be “zeroed in” on preparing for the big moment. And when it came, he was a nervous wreck!
“I couldn't eat food that whole day,” he confessed. “I almost threw up three times ... I walked about eight miles pacing back and forth in the trailer [on set].”
While they haven’t set a wedding date and joked they “don’t wanna answer” whether their nuptials will be televised, the pair wouldn’t rule out doing reality television again. For now, they’re blissfully happy, having realized shortly before filming the finale that they had found genuine love.
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“We had a couple of really amazing days together before filming [the finale] -- we came out [to LA] early and did our own thing and I was like, 'I freaking love this girl, let's do something crazy,'” Peth shared. “We don't really believe in having 'the one' or that one person; it's really about choosing each other, [but] there's something magnetically that has always attracted me to Taylor. We tried not to like each other, but that's what made it so genuine. We tried as hard as possible to not like each other, every step of the way!”
“I was very resistant, but part of what I love him about it, is that he is so patient with me,” added Nolan. “He allows me to go through my process and is very supportive in that -- he's a very good teammate.”
See more on Bachelor in Paradise below.