'Love Is Blind' Reunion: Everything We Learned From the Dramatic Tell-All
By Desiree Murphy
The Love Is Blind reunion special was even juicier than we anticipated!
The Netflix tell-all -- which was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, last month and released to fans on Thursday -- reunited six of the eight couples who got engaged in the pods. It was the first time Amber Pike, Matthew Barnett, Jessica Batten, Mark Anthony Cuevas, Giannina Milady Gibelli, Damian Powers, Lauren Speed, Cameron Hamilton, Kelly Chase, Kenny Barnes, Diamond Jack and Carlton Morton have all been in the same room together since filming wrapped nearly a year and a half ago.
Hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey asked all of the participants to reflect on the results of this blind love experiment and to open up about what it's been like seeing their journey finally play out onscreen. Now, ET's breaking down everything we learned from the shocking reunion!
1.Everyone came back voluntarily.
ET was exclusively invited to the set of the special, where Vanessa revealed that the cast wasn't required to appear.
"We asked them all to come. It was their choice to come back," she said. "So, to have these incredible individuals come back for this show to kind of speak their mind and say their peace and unite on this front of what Love Is Blind is was really beautiful."
2. All of them said they'd go through the dating experiment again.
"When we asked all of them, 'Would you do it again? Knowing what you know now? Knowing how the show came out, knowing the hurt or the passion that you found, would you do it again?' All of them said yes," Vanessa told ET.
3. Giannina and Damian are still together (but taking things slower).
Giannina started to get emotional while talking about how their relationship has stood the test of time. Nearly a year and a half after filming wrapped, the two are still together. "We are so together. Like, every single day, waking up next to each other, going to the gym together," she shared. "I don't want to lose this. I just don't... and I didn't."
As fans can recall, Damian left Giannina at the altar, telling her "I don't" in front of her family and closest friends during the finale. Seeing as where they are today, however, the two have no regrets about how things "ended" for them on the show.
"Looking back I respect his decision. I feel like where we are now is just so right for us. Where we can just date, and he has his own place, I have my own place," Giannina explained. "We're getting to know each other at our own pace. It's just so refreshing."
"Since the show, it's been such an amazing journey with [Damian]," she added, speaking directly to her beau. "To get to know you and to see how we integrate with each other's lives. And my friends and family love you."
Damian also opened up about what was going through his mind the morning of their televised wedding day.
"Getting to the day of the wedding, me and her had talked and I said, 'Look, no matter what happens, we leave this together.' And she said, 'Yeah, we do,'" he revealed. "When she said 'I do,' I didn't expect that. I thought she was going to be the one to say 'I don't' and I was going say, 'OK, well I don't either. I'll walk away with you.'"
"That was the hardest decision I've probably ever made in my life, honestly," he continued. "And I would stick by it again because of where we are now."
4. Lauren and Cameron are still married, with a dog named Sparks.
We were all rooting for them during Love Is Blind, so fans could not be more thrilled to learn that these two lovebirds are still together and happier than ever.
"Life for us has been really, really good. Each and every day is like our own little experiment because we're still learning about each other, even though we've been married for over a year now," Lauren gushed. "I've never, seriously, been as happy as I am with Cameron. He makes me so happy."
"I feel like Cameron has opened my eyes to so many things," she continued. "He teaches me stuff every day. He's so loving, so genuine, and he got me a puppy. We have a fur baby. Life is good!"
Cameron chimed in, adding that being with Lauren has "changed" him... in a good way, of course.
"Watching the show back, it was still me, but I feel like I've evolved over time because I've become more like her in a lot of ways," he explained. "The thing for my mom was, she had known that I had always said that I would never date a woman who wanted to have a dog. Which sounds crazy in retrospect. But she knew it was true love because I told her, 'Yeah, we're going to get a dog and that was something we agreed on.' She knew it was true love [from there]."
5. Barnett and Amber (who is now blonde!) are still married.
Like Lauren and Cam, these two are also going strong but admitted during the reunion that they've encountered some struggles along the way.
"It's been a great adventure. Lots of laugh, lots of fun. I haven't killed him yet," Amber joked. "We've been doing great. We did move closer to the city now. Our house was haunted, y'all. Not a fan."
"She thinks it was haunted, I think it was dust. Whatever," Barnett said, adding that married life has "been awesome" so far. "It's been a wild ride, I'd say. We've been learning about ourselves while we've been traveling and doing fun stuff."
Barnett said he's really excited that they found each other and have gotten to grow together over the last year.
"I'm actually really proud of how far we've come from where we were in the pods and how fast the process kind of was," Amber added. "There was one point where we almost broke up because we had such expectations out of what we wanted out of a husband and a wife. We knew we were married and we knew we were in love but also we were still learning about each other."
Still being so used to their single lives, Amber admitted it took them a while to figure out how to hang out and party together and be respectful.
"Normally in a relationship, as you're dating, you take time and you adjust to that. But we were married so immediately, we expected it to be different," she explained. "We weren't giving it the time that it needed to adjust. We butted heads a lot and that took time to figure out."
Barnett chimed in, sharing that they "stopped trying to force" their expectations on each other. "Once that happened, it's been nothing but really good things since," he revealed.
6. Amber called out Jessica for being "fake."
Despite all of the time that has passed since the show ended, Amber is still shocked by Jessica "coming out of left field" and not being upfront with her about bonding with Barnett in the pods.
"I was not happy," Amber said after a clip played of Jessica telling her that Barnett said he wanted to marry her at one point. "I confronted Matt about Jessica and I said, 'What the hell? What's going on here? What are you thinking? What are you doing? What do you want?' He told me he was trying to figure things out and feel it out. He was like, he shouldn't have said that, like, that wasn't how he meant it. I'm like, 'OK, that's not how you meant it. I believe you.'"
"I trusted him. As far as I was concerned, that was nothing after the fact," she continued. "So to see her throwing herself at him in Mexico, b***h, you're shiesty. You're so fake. Coming to my face like we were cool, you were so fake. I think you're a very disingenuine person. And you know what, I hope seeing this. you do grow from it because that is not what the world needs, is women to go behind people's backs like that. You were engaged... to another man that you were leading on."
Jessica reacted, bringing up the fact that "everyone needs to realize" this experiment in the pods all happened in a matter of days, not weeks.
"I really wanted to see how my relationship was with everyone," she explained. "We were trying to find a connection to spend forever with someone, so I really wanted to vet everything out. Obviously I was rejected by Barnett, I didn't take that very well. Seeing that play out is brutal."
"I was really trying to keep myself open and work that all out," she added. "But I do definitely owe a major apology to Amber, and to Barnett. I super respect them both, I respect their relationship and it definitely was not good of me to even ever question that. So, I apologize and have nothing but the most respect for you both and wish you nothing but the best. ... I have no hard feelings towards you, whatsoever. At all."
Amber said she accepted the intent behind the apology, but "I can't be fully there yet."
7. Barnett said he would not have done anything differently.
While in the pods, the engineer made three strong connections -- with Lauren "LC" Chamblin, Jessica and his now-wife, Amber. Looking back on how he was portrayed (specifically how he interacted with Jessica), he still has no regrets because it led him to where he is today.
"The last couple of years before I went on the show, I was kind of, like, emotionally empty," he admitted. "I had no connections, I couldn't figure myself out. So it was really crazy to go to a place where you actually start opening up and you feel people accepting your emotions that you've never really shown to anybody."
"I'm not super good with girls, actually," he added. "When you think back to it and you're sitting there trying to figure out, like, who would be the best wife, you kind of want to see what they think about even getting married. I may not have used the best words saying like, 'I would propose to you tomorrow' or something like that, but I feel like it gives you a good idea of how someone's going to react to the thought of even marrying you."
8. Jessica owned up to her "cringeworthy moments."
From giving her dog wine to being a little too flirty with engaged Barnett outside of the pods, Jessica said that watching the show back has been "tough."
"I was really uncomfortable. I was drinking too much and that was really disturbing to see play out," she shared, adding that it "certainly wasn't fair" to Mark. "He's a fantastic person. And obviously, very, very attractive. I've gotten a lot of messages about that and that was never a concern whatsoever, and [he] knew that."
Jessica alluded to the fact that maybe it wasn't a good idea for her to join the show at all, considering how she likes to take relationships slow at the beginning.
"I need to start with a friendship, which ultimately, that's not a good situation to sign yourself up for when you need something that's going to maybe progress a little bit slower," she confessed. "To commit to Mark, that that was going to be forever, he didn't deserve that. Because I wasn't there. I saw the behaviors that I have in the real world where I normally go after something that's unavailable. And now, I think you see that I kind of struggle with just accepting and understanding that people can love you and just accept you for who you are."
Regardless of how their love story ended on Love Is Blind, Mark said he has no hard feelings toward Jessica.
"We were just two people trying to figure it out. We got engaged in 10 days. I think that you get into the situation and maybe I didn't realize how intense it was," he shared, calling his former fiancée "a phenomenal" woman. "I still to this day, like a year and a half has gone by, and I still have so much respect for [her]. No matter what happened and what went down, I've become a better man."
9. Kenny is in a relationship... but not with Kelly.
It was sad to see Kenny and Kelly go their separate ways during the finale, but it seems the two have walked away from the experiment with plenty of life lessons.
"Honestly, not to sugarcoat it, but I could not be doing better. This experiment, whether I understood it or not, allowed me to find the person I'm with today," Kenny revealed. "It allowed me to open myself up to truly be vulnerable. I have the best girlfriend."
"My takeaway at this point is that I am not embarrassed by anything, and that is why I'm supposed to be here," he added. "To hopefully impact others. To make them feel supported in times of fear and times of doubt. Because there's nothing you can't overcome."
Kelly -- who is currently single and dating -- got emotional, breaking down in tears while talking about what it's been like watching the show back.
"It's definitely brought up every emotion. I think with Kenny and my relationship, I think we both agreed to an 'I don't' way before the wedding ... my head and my heart [were] not connecting," she said. "What I have learned, what I have reflected on, is the fact that, Kenny, you were amazing. You're a great guy. I did love you. I was not in love with you but I wanted to continue our journey of dating and getting to know one another and that didn't happen. It's water under the bridge now and I'm so happy for you and your relationship."
"I think I just needed time for me. Kenny being such a great guy, I have friend-zoned a lot of those great guys in my life," she continued. "And those are probably all the guys that I should be marrying! Now it's like, Kelly, stop thinking like, 'Well, we attract who we are.' Put it out there into the universe, like, 'What are you going to accept now, into your life?'"
10. Carlton and Diamond have received a lot of hate on social media.
Who could forget the massive poolside fight these two had when they left the pods and went to Mexico to test their relationship in the real world? After telling Diamond he was bisexual, Carlton called her a b***h for not being accepting, and to watch her wig because "it's been sliding since day one."
"I always felt like a man should always have his woman's back," Diamond explained of why she reacted the way she did. "Just that disrespect, to myself, I can never probably let that go and move past that."
Carlton said that since the show has come out, he and Diamond have both received death threats that can bring you "to a really dark space."
"The biggest misconception is that fluid people are just like rabbits; just hopping around, sleeping with everyone, talking to both parties at the same time and that we have no self-control sexually," he explained. "I think it's very unfair and it's a very ignorant assumption for anyone to make."
"The types of feedback that I've been getting online, it's no reflection of who I am," he added. "Now do I deserve some of the feedback? Yes, I do. Because I made a horrible mistake and indirectly called Diamond out of her name. That is something that should have never happened. There's no excuse."
11. They made sure to talk privately ahead of the reunion.
Diamond revealed that she and Carlton actually had a conversation before the tell-all began because she didn't want to have any animosity with him. She wanted to make sure they could both apologize privately, and "at least feel comfortable" being in the same room together again.
As for how she's doing now? "I've been great. I've been waiting for Beyonce to call me," she joked. "Everybody's been loving that for some reason that I quoted her. But everything's been great. I'm working on my PhD, so I'm going back to school."
12. Carlton got down on one knee... again!
Things got emotional again when a teary-eyed Carlton discussed whether he would have done anything differently, like being upfront about his sexuality in the pods.
"I would have done whatever it takes to be sitting on the couch as happy as these [married] people. I would have done whatever it took, had I known then that that's what it took to sit here happily married," exclaimed Carlton, who said he's currently single. "I think that, in that moment, I went back into my shell. It was a shell that was difficult breaking out of, not to mention in front of the world. Once something just felt like it wasn't right, I immediately let fear sink in."
"That has translated into my everyday life. Sometimes people will say, 'Oh, he's so to himself. He's so standoffish.' It's not that I want to be, it's just that whole fear of rejection and being judged," he continued. "Why do we have to be judged for who we love? That's so lame to me."
Carlton's happy, however, that his story is now out there, and he no longer has to hide in fear of living his truth. Toward the end of the reunion, he said he wanted to create "something beautiful out of the darkness," by getting down on one knee in front of Diamond again. This time, to celebrate friendship and making amends.
"I'm not proposing but I want to get down on one knee and just apologize again at eye level," he said. "I hope that you take this ring again as a significant piece of our friendship and the start of something beautiful without any type of plan."
"I accept your apology and I do forgive you," Diamond replied.
Hear more from the Love Is Blind cast in the video below.