Last month, in a shocking twist that no one would expect from the heteronormative world of The Bachelor, two female contestants left the bachelor stranded at a Bachelor: Vietnam rose ceremony, claiming they’d found love with one another instead of with him.
In the September episode of the reality series, Minh Thu rejected bachelor Nguyen Quoc Trung during the rose ceremony and revealed that she is in love with someone else on the show.
“I went into this competition to find love, but I’ve found that love for myself. But it isn’t you. It’s someone else,” Thu said.
She then left her spot in the lineup and walked over to fellow contestant Truc Nhu and the pair embraced in a long hug.
“Come home with me,” said Thu to Nhu. “Come home with me. Yeah?”
Nhu seemed noncommittal and never vocally agreed to Thu’s request; she frequently looked down and was unsure about what to do.
She walked up to disappointed bachelor Trung and said, “I’m sorry. I really want to get to know you because you’re someone who made me feel special and I haven’t felt that way in a long time.”
Nhu handed him back her rose and the pair then left the rose ceremony together, seemingly happy ever after.
Trung insisted that she stay once she was off-camera, managing to convince Nhu to continue on in the competition.
The show’s executive producer Anh Tran revealed the two found their way back together.
Tran told Nextshark: “They left the show and have been together since. We delivered on our promise that two people would find love.”
Tran spoke to Nextshark after a Facebook post about the pair’s relationship status went viral.
In the post, the social media user wrote that during a later episode of Bachelor: Vietnam it was revealed that Nhu’s decision not to immediately leave the show was something both of the women agreed on.
“They just wanted to make sure their feelings weren’t just a misconception of love because they are so close,” the social media user wrote.
They added that Nhu stayed on the show for two additional episodes before she asked to leave because she had “already found what she was looking for.”
Producer Anh-Thu Nguyen added that the romance has been “especially” powerful “in context of Vietnamese culture.”
“It’s been a proud experience to see our clip resonate around the world and become an unexpected platform for discussing LGBTQI+ issues in Vietnam on a global scale,” she said.
The couple spoke with BuzzFeed News about what they were feeling as soon as they were separated.
“The moment when Minh Thu left and I stayed behind, I had a lot of longing. I had a lot of memories of our time together,” Nhu said. She went on to say that Thu had been caring toward her during their time together in the competition, and when Thu met her off her plane home, she realized how special she was.
“Right before the episode was going to air, I mentally prepared what I was going to say to my family,” Thu said. “When my family asked for an explanation, the response I prepared was, ‘What do you want for me? To have a husband and a child? Or to find my own happiness?'”
This isn’t the first time two contestants from The Bachelor have looked beyond the rose ceremonies and found a deep connection with each other.
In 2016, former contestants Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon from the Australian edition of the show had been posting Instagram posts, with captions like “my favourite person,” and “there are many things that I love but this is one.”
The two joined 25 contestants who dated Bachelor Richie Strahan, but by the time they were kicked off the show, which aired between July and September 2016, they’d already felt sparks between them.
“I met Tiffany in a very strange situation,” Marx wrote in an Instagram post celebrating Scanlon’s 30th birthday. “Well… we were kind of dating the same guy. And it was filmed and put on TV.”
—With files from Chris Jancelewicz