'Love Island': Carrington Defends Claims He's Only With Laurel for TV (Exclusive)

The 4th place couple spoke with ET about what the future holds for them outside the villa.

Love Island couple Laurel and Carrington may have come in fourth place on Wednesday's season 2 finale, but they seemed content with saying goodbye to their villa experience -- however rocky it was -- and seeing what the future holds for their relationship in the real world when they hopped on Zoom to chat with ET's Ash Crossan about the last several weeks.

"I came to Love Island to find a girl that I not only want but need in my life, someone who's going to be great for me. And I talked around, as I should, and I found Laurel," said Carrington, 23, who found his girl during his time at Casa Amor. "It was a roller coaster but I accomplished what I wanted so I'm very happy about it."

"We both had very different journeys. I came in later in the game and I honestly didn't think I was going to leave Casa Amor, I said that multiple times. But Carrington came through and we actually built something from the ground up that's really great that we're going to carry through into the outside world, which is very exciting because that's both what we came in here looking for," said Laurel, who turned 23 on Thursday. 

It's no secret their Love Island journey wasn't without its ups and downs, especially after Lakeyn nearly turned Carrington's head when she entered the villa on Day 30, two weeks after Laurel and Carrington coupled up, because of commonalities they shared with their backgrounds (divorced parents and close family members with autism). Though it appeared that Carrington may have moved on, he chose to stick by Laurel in a dramatic recoupling ceremony. Because of the emotional highs and lows, both Laurel and Carrington expressed confidence that whatever hardships they went through inside the villa have prepared them for what awaits in the outside world. Unlike some of their fellow islanders, some of whom are planning on relocating to a new city together, Laurel and Carrington have a more realistic perspective on their three-week situationship.

"Me and Laurel have very realistic expectations for the outside world. We do not want to just end like most couples do when they go on a show like this. We're not boyfriend and girlfriend, but we are going to talk to each other, we're going to text, we're going to call all the time because it is going to be very weird being apart. But that's what we need to figure out, how much we want each other because we've never missed each other. We've been with each other every hour of the day, so this is going to be very good for us," Carrington said. "I already have my plans to go to Alabama to see her. We're going to be doing one or two trips a month until we decide, 'OK, let's just end [long-distance].'" (Carrington is from Salt Lake City, Utah, while Laurel lives in Auburn, Alabama.)

"I went into the villa talking to multiple people for a reason so that when I met Laurel, I did feel like she was the girl for me," he continued. "But Lakeyn came in and I still got to know her and I still felt as if it was the right thing to do at the time. I do regret it but at the end of the day, [Laurel] knows how I feel about her. I am working consistently to show her how much I feel and I'm just happy."

Robert Voets/CBS

"We're definitely past that," Laurel confirmed, referring to the Lakeyn saga that proved to be a trying time for the couple. "It was one small bump in the road. It wasn't anything crazy. It was hard to live through. I was pretty emotional. I think everyone saw that. I'm just happy to be where we are now and that we made it to the final four. It's kind of insane."

Following her elimination, Lakeyn didn't mince words when she expressed concern to ET over Carrington's true intentions with his relationship with Laurel, claiming that he was only with her "for the show and then once they get off the show, I see him being a hurtful person to her, hurting her and leaving her pretty fast." When asked to respond to Lakeyn's claims that his intentions aren't 100 percent genuine, Carrington shot them down completely. 

"There's none. The funny thing about Lakeyn was she was trying to be in Laurel's shoes. She said many times Laurel was not right for me, she wanted to be with me, so this is just out of spite. Me and Laurel know that we wouldn't listen to someone who wants to talk about our relationship, who clearly wanted to be with me. It just wouldn't make any sense to listen to her," Carrington defended. 

"I don't really have much to say on that. I was put in a tough position. It was just an emotional roller coaster and I don't really want to relive it. It's kind of in the past and we're mainly focused on ourselves moving forward, not worried about what anyone else has to say about anyone's negative opinions," Laurel said. "With this show, I'm sure there's going to be some of those but we're trying to focus on the positives."

"If I was just caring about the show or trying to be fake in any way, I would've stuck with Kierstan," Carrington noted, referring to his second Love Island partner. "Kierstan was very into me. I ended up wanting to be friends with her and I could've just faked it but I was real with myself and I was real with my heart and it took me to a good place."

"Even him wanting to get to know Lakeyn shows a lot about how he viewed the experience, really taking it in and making the most of it," Laurel said. "If he was only worried about the show, he could have just as easily picked her or me because at that point, he had already gotten to know her and that was already an issue. So sticking with me wouldn't have made a difference."

Adam Torgerson/CBS

If there's one islander who may have grown up the most this season, an easy pick would be Carrington, who started off as an archetypal playboy. But as the season wore on, he evolved into a bit of a pleasant surprise with his honesty, emotional growth (however minuscule it might have been) and an acknowledgement of his shortcomings.

"I knew going into that conversation, my parents were going to have things to say to Carrington or questions to ask that were going to be hard-hitting. I was so proud sitting in that moment watching him talk to him and the way he handled himself was amazing," Laurel said of the chat he had with her parents regarding the Lakeyn slip-up. "I was a little shocked that he was being how he was. He was so respectful, he was taking everything. He really didn't have anything to say back. He wasn't making any excuses. He just told them exactly what had happened and his plans moving forward with me. My parents were elated by the fact that he was so respectful. I think they love him. I knew there wasn't going to be any issues about them being hateful or anything like that. Definitely, I think they like him a lot. I'm not worried about it. For the fact for them to give me that validation of our relationship meant the world to me."

Not surprisingly, the couple doesn't plan on watching the show back just yet. "That's kind of up in the air for me. I don't know if I want to," Laurel admitted.

"I was like, 'Yeah, can't wait to watch it. It's going to be so sick.' And now...," Carrington said. "I will watch it. I don't know if I'm going to watch it yet. It's just going to be so weird seeing us and all of our friends on TV. It's going to be weird looking at moments and being like, 'I don't remember it going exactly that way,' but I will eventually watch it for sure."

As for how they hope America perceived them during their time on Love Island, both are optimistic that they were true to who they were.

"I hope people saw me as honest because I went in there to experience a reality game show. I wanted to talk to people. Everybody that came in, male or female, was amazing with a great personality, very good-looking. My goal wasn't to come in, find someone early and fall in love in four weeks. My goal was to find someone to bring to the outside world," Carrington said. "If I fell in love during the show, awesome, but I wasn't just there to try and fall in love with someone who didn't make me have those feelings. It was to find somebody, and me and Laurel had a late start but there's plenty of time to find love. I hope they saw that I had a normal dating experience and it was just filmed."

"I just hope that I came off as myself. Through all of that, you don't really get caught up in the cameras, but sometimes being in these situations, you don't want to lose yourself," Laurel said. "I really hope that I stayed true to myself and I came off as genuine and authentic."

The first two seasons of Love Island are streaming now on CBS All Access. To hear from season 2 winners Justine and Caleb following the finale, watch ET's exclusive interview below.

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