Netflix’s Love Is Blind premiered on February 13, 2020, serving up made-for-TV romantic vibes just in time for Valentine’s Day. As Variety detailed, the reality television dating experiment created by Married at First Sight producer Chris Coelen set out to test whether or not it’s possible to find true love with another person without knowing what they look like. And — spoiler alert! — considering two couples from the first season of Love Is Blind went on to tie the knot (and keep their marriages under wraps for over a year), it’s safe to say the answer is yes.
Hosted by real-life married couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey, Love Is Blind is a little bit 90 Day Fiancé, a little bit The Bachelor, with a dash of insanity. However, as viewers quickly discovered, there’s no reality show quite as addictive. From those futuristic dating pods to the wine-drinking dog to the make-or-break weddings, Love Is Blind is a reality show sure meant to keep viewers on the edge of their seats (or yelling at their televisions) until the very last “I don’t” or “I do.”
Here’s a look at the untold truth of the show that has everyone talking, Netflix’s Love Is Blind. Note: spoilers ahead.
What's the deal with the pods on Netflix's Love Is Blind?
While there are plenty of dating shows to be consumed, Netflix’s Love Is Blind is a reality romance series unlike any other. While Love Is Blind certainly borrows some elements from other shows in its genre, such as Married at First Sight and 90 Day Fiancé, the hit Netflix series is wholly set apart by the rooms in which the contestants first made connections with each other — known on the streaming service’s series as the “pods.”
According to Kinetic Content, the production company behind the popular Netflix dating show, the pods were vital to the overall success of the initial Love Is Blind pitch. Kinetic Content’s senior vice president of communications, public relations, and marketing, Paria Sadighi, revealed to Refinery 29 that the company approached Netflix after the idea for the pods had been developed. “We had sketched out what they would look like prior to build-out,” Sadighi told the publication. She continued, saying, “It was an integral part of our overall pitch.” The pods’ interiors and acoustics were then specially designed to foster communication, according to Sadighi.
The marriages from Netflix's Love Is Blind were kept secret for over a year
By the time Netflix’s Love Is Blind reunion special aired on March 5, 2020, the two couples who wed during the season finale — Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton, as well as Amber Pike and Matt Barnett — were still happily married. And, considering the show filmed its initial run from October 9, 2018 to November 15, 2018, keeping their marriages a secret was quite an impressive feat!
In a March 2020 interview with People, Hamilton and Speed opened up about the struggles of keeping their marriage a secret for nearly a year and a half. “[There have been] so many great moments that we’ve just shared in the past year and a half that we haven’t been able to share with the world,” Speed revealed.
Despite the need for Pike and Barnett to keep their marriage under wraps, too, the couple couldn’t be happier. “On the day of [our first anniversary], since the first year is the paper anniversary, we got Chinese food and ate it up on paper,” Pike told the Los Angeles Times. Added the Love Is Blind star, “It was great.”
There were more engagements than viewers saw on Netflix's Love is Blind
The first season of Netflix’s Love Is Blind focused largely on six main couples, leaving little room for dozens of other contestants to be featured on the hit Netflix series. According to Love Is Blind creator Chris Coelen, there were “40-50 hopefuls” in the initial cast before cuts started being made. “There was a certain point where we did a whittling down of people just to focus internally on the people who were really connecting, to allow them more time,” Coelen told E! News.
Unfortunately, “whittling down” the contestants also meant whittling down the number of engagements featured on the show. “There were eight in total, and we followed six,” Coelen told Entertainment Tonight. He continued, saying, “It wasn’t that we didn’t want to follow them … we literally just didn’t feel like we had the bandwidth to be able to do justice to all of the stories.”
Danielle Drouin and Rory Newbrough were one of the engaged couples left behind, according to People, as were Lexie Skipper and Westley Baer. Unfortunately, both engagements ended soon after the couples were let go from the show.
Contestants on Netflix's Love Is Blind were completely alone in the pods
Reality rarely makes for can’t-miss entertainment — so the “reality” of your favorite famous reality TV moments are oftentimes manipulated or staged by producers to keep you coming back for more. However, according to Netflix’s Love Is Blind creator and executive producer Chris Coelen, producers largely stayed out of the way of the contestants while they were making their initial connections within the pods.
While many reality shows rely on producer-driven conversations, Coelen confirmed to Variety that the Love Is Blind producers allowed the conversations between participants to flow naturally. “There’s no producers in [the pods], there’s nobody else,” Coelen said. He continued, revealing, “[Contestants] were never interrupted in terms of like a producer saying, ‘Hey, talk about this, talk about that,’ they just did what they wanted to do.”
According to Coelen, the producers were mainly there to “facilitate'” dates. The executive producer explained to Variety, saying, “If someone said, ‘I love Italian food and I’d love to have an Italian dinner with my date,’ we would get some lasagna and arrange that.” Added Coelen, “We really wanted them to feel like it’s their own thing.”
Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes from Netflix's Love Is Blind never planned to say "I do"
While Kenny Barnes acted like a total champ after Kelly Chase left him at the altar, fans took to social media to express anger on his behalf. But according to post-show interviews, Barnes never expected to leave Netflix’s Love Is Blind a married man. “We were adamant about we’re not going to get married,” Barnes revealed to People. He continued, “The engagement was just to extend the experiment. And we were both committed to that.”
Despite being on the same page about marriage, Chase told People that she and Barnes agreed to continue their relationship offscreen. However, according to Chase, Barnes effectively ended their relationship on the last day of filming. “He had a conversation with me like, ‘Hey, I think I am not emotionally available right now. I need to take some time apart from you,'” Chase revealed, saying she “felt very rejected.”
Fortunately, things seemingly worked out for the best. During the Love Is Blind reunion (via Vanity Fair), Barnes revealed he was in a happy relationship while Chase said she went on to date a close friend for a while after filming wrapped.
Jessica Batten tried to leave Netflix's Love Is Blind during filming
Throughout the course of Netflix’s Love Is Blind, contestant Jessica Batten became the butt of viewer’s jokes (as well as the object of much concern) for the way she let her dog drink from her wine glass, constantly talked about the ten-year age gap between herself and fiancé Mark Cuevas, and remained stuck on her initial connection with contestant Matt Barnett.
Fans were especially upset with Batten when she blindsided Cuevas by leaving him at the altar. However, according to Batten, her Love Is Blind journey would have ended much differently — and much sooner — had she gotten her way. “I definitely had a conversation about leaving and I wasn’t able to do that,” Batten revealed in a March 2020 interview with Entertainment Weekly. She continued, revealing her dog even became sick during filming and “almost died.”
As Batten tells it, she was told she couldn’t quit the show. “It was really frustrating because I kind of knew [Mark and I] weren’t going to get there,” Batten told the outlet. She continued, “I definitely had some conversations and attempted to leave, but I wasn’t able to.”
Some contestants from Netflix's Love Is Blind would sleep during pod dates
Love is blind — and apparently, love is exhausting, too! In an interview with Buzzfeed, fan favorite couple Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton dished about the pod dates, revealing that not every pod date was spent trying to advance a relationship. “Sometimes you’d realize you weren’t going to connect with someone, so you’d spend that time talking to someone about who you were interested in,” Hamilton revealed, saying he often spent pod dates with Jessica Batten talking about his connection with Speed.
However, according to Speed, some contestants on Netflix’s Love Is Blind chose to use the dating pods as napping pods instead. “There was an allotted time for dates,” Speed revealed. She continued, explaining, “So say if [the allotted time] was two hours that day, you’d have two hours with that person. Though some people, if you didn’t match with someone, they’d be like, ‘Okay, this isn’t a romantic match.’ They’d just nap for two hours.” Hamilton noticed the same. “Some people slept in the pods,” he told the publication.
Contestants on Netflix's Love Is Blind used celebrity lookalikes to describe their appearance
Speaking with Variety in a February 2020 interview, Netflix’s Love Is Blind creator Chris Coelen revealed the inspiration behind the hit Netflix show, saying, “Across the world, everybody feels the same way: Everyone wants to be loved for who they are on the inside.” And so, the idea for Love Is Blind — a televised experiment testing whether or not people truly have the ability to fall in love before ever seeing each other — was born.
However, according to Love Is Blind hosts and real-life married couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey, some contestants still found a way to gauge each other’s physical appearance from within the pods. Vanessa Lachey revealed to People that participants would often compare themselves to a celebrity doppelgänger to give their pod date an idea of their appearance. However, as the cohost told People, the comparisons weren’t always accurate.
Vanessa Lachey revealed, “[The girls would tell me], ‘I said I looked like this celebrity,” and I’d be like, ‘Oh, I could see that!'” However, the guys put more creativity (and perhaps some wishful thinking) behind their own doppelgängers.
Jessica Batten from Netflix's Love Is Blind says Mark knew her answer before the wedding
Throughout the first season of Netflix’s Love Is Blind, viewers watched as contestant Jessica Batten formed connections with two men — Mark Cuevas and Matt Barnett — ultimately accepting a proposal from Cuevas after being rejected by Barnett, as The Cut summarized. However, Batten never could seem to let go of her connection with Barnett nor could she come to terms with the large age gap between herself and Cuevas.
While Cuevas’ feelings remained consistent throughout the process, Batten chose to leave the fan favorite fiancé at the altar. And while Cuevas certainly seemed blindsided and genuinely heartbroken by her decision, Batten insists her former fiancé knew what her answer was going to be. “…I knew I didn’t want to marry him, we weren’t ready for that, and we actually had multiple conversations and we were both on the same page about that,” Batten told Entertainment Weekly.
The controversial Love Is Blind contestant continued, saying, “We definitely had love for each other, I just wasn’t fully in love with him so planning a wedding was a really, really difficult thing to do.”
Carlton Morton from Netflix's Love Is Blind is no stranger to reality television
Carlton Morton didn’t make it to the season finale of Netflix’s Love Is Blind, but the contestant made plenty of waves throughout his time on the hit Netflix reality show.
Morton decided to wait to open up about his bisexuality to his fiancée, Diamond Jack, until they were face-to-face. However, Jack didn’t respond to Morton’s revelation all that well and the two parted ways on an incredibly sour note, according to Entertainment Weekly. Fortunately, Morton and Jack made amends prior to the Love Is Blind reunion special, and — as a token of friendship — Morton even presented his former fiancée with the engagement ring he’d so infamously tossed in the pool.
While Morton and Jack’s big blowup was certainly one of the most dramatic moments on Love Is Blind, it wasn’t Morton’s first brush with reality TV theatrics. Morton previously appeared on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, according to People. And, much like his argument with Jack, Morton had an explosive fight with Kenya Moore during a 2012 episode, ultimately resulting in him being escorted from the building. Talk about drama!
The mother of this Netflix's Love Is Blind contestant made sure her daughter didn't get left at the altar
Amber Pike and Matt Barnett were one of the more consistent couples throughout the first season of Netflix’s Love Is Blind, ultimately tying the knot in front of their family and friends and appearing as a still happily married couple on the Love Is Blind reunion special.
However, Pike revealed during the finale (via StyleCaster) that she hadn’t spoken to Barnett since he admitted to having cold feet the night prior, which left Pike worrying he’d reject her at the altar. “I thought he was going to be the runaway bride,” Pike told the Los Angeles Times.
Fortunately, the nervous bride-to-be was able to calm her nerves before walking down the aisle thanks to the help of a very special person: her mother. As Pike explained to the Los Angeles Times, “My mom went to talk to him.” Pike continued, saying, “She comes right back up just a few minutes later and goes, ‘He’s fine. You’re going to get married today and don’t even worry about it. He loves you.'”
Netflix's Love Is Blind contestant Matt Barnett had more student loan debt than his fiancee
While contestants on ABC’s The Bachelor get to know each other in small doses while jetting off to exotic locales across the globe, contestants on Netflix’s Love Is Blind were plopped into reality after a short getaway to Mexico, forced to share a living space together, navigate real-world scenarios, and have tough conversations about the future.
One of the most memorable moments from this time came courtesy of Amber Pike and Matt Barnett, whose conversation regarding finances quickly took a turn when Pike revealed she had about $20,000 worth of student loan debt that she hadn’t been paying. Pike also admitted to having an expensive penchant for makeup, which led to Barnett appearing taken aback by the conversation.
For a moment, it seemed as though Pike’s money problems would prove to be a dealbreaker for Barnett. However, as the couple revealed to Entertainment Weekly, Pike isn’t the only one with a less-than-perfect financial situation. “When I was on the show, I think I had almost $30,000 in student debt,” Barnett told the publication. Added Pike, “He had a lot more student debt than I did!”
Damian Powers of Netflix's Love Is Blind was catfished into being on the show
Damian Powers became one-half of one of Netflix’s Love Is Blind‘s ill-fated couples when he proposed to, and also accepted a proposal from, Giannina “Gigi” Gibelli. Despite their brutal break-up, however, Powers and Gibelli revealed on the Love Is Blind reunion special (via The Wrap) that they’d since gotten back together and have been enjoying dating each other away from the Love Is Blind cameras.
While they may have a broken engagement under their belts, these two seemingly found some sort of happy ending on Love Is Blind — and it’s all thanks to a sneaky casting producer. When asked by Ellen DeGeneres on her show in March 2020 how he ended up on the show, Powers revealed he was scouted on Tinder, saying, “[I] started chatting with this girl, [we] hit it off, and she’s like, ‘Add me on Instagram.'” Powers continued, “[We had a] pretty good connection and then she’s like, ‘I’m a casting producer, and I’m a catfish.’ So now, I’m here.” Now, that’s a story to tell the grandkids.
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