In life, there is one constant Chris Harrison can always guarantee Us: this will be the most dramatic season in Bachelor history.
At last, he came through on his promise. During season 4 of Bachelor in Paradise, production halted after a sexual misconduct claim, fan-favorite Amanda Stanton accused boyfriend Robby Hayes of cheating and could-have-been-the-next-Bachelor Dean Unglert lost his immortal status after simultaneously dating — and stringing along — Kristina Schulman and Danielle Lombard.
“Dean is the kind of person who changes his mind every couple of days, maybe even every couple of hours,” Lombard exclusively tells Us Weekly of his flip-flopping. “He doesn’t really know what he wants.”
At Mexico’s Playa Escondida resort, he began romancing Russia native Schulman, only to drop her for the L.A.-based Lombard … and then run back to Schulman. Then back to Lombard. Then Schulman again? (We lost track, too.) And though he finally cut ties with Schulman to pursue Lombard, he ultimately backed out of his choice, proclaiming his love for Schulman on the on the soapy spinoff’s September 11 finale.
“When I heard that I was just like, ‘You know what? You still have a lot of stuff to figure out,’” the single stunner, dubbed “DLo,” explains. “We had talked about doing things in the future together and had made plans to hang out, so it was surprising he had changed his mind.”
Now, for the first time, the badass business owner shares her side of the dramatic journey with Us.
Us Weekly: Why did you decide to go on Paradise?
Danielle Lombard: The way the producers made it seem like there was greater opportunity to meet someone that you could have a relationship with outside of the show. I was honestly hesitant to do Paradise because of the stigma it has of it being like spring break and everyone is hooking up. But everyone I talked to that did the show, whether they had a great edit or not, said it was an incredible experience.
Us: Were you already in Mexico when production halted?
DL: Yes, I was actually stuck in my hotel room for five days. It was pretty insane. I tried to do whatever I could to get out of the room and have some human interaction. The producers actually let me go to the gym and the spa, which was really nice. I would just spend hours there.
Us: How did they tell you about the situation?
DL: One of the executive producers said an incident occurred between two cast members and there was a complaint filed by a third party. Everything was very vague. I assumed maybe a stalker or a fan had gotten on set and caused a controversy. You wouldn’t guess that something like this would happen. People have hooked up on the show and it’s been filmed. We have to question the reason why producers felt it was necessary to file a claim for sexual misconduct.
I've always been criticized and ridiculed for my looks. Making me work ten times harder to prove that my success comes from my ethics and not my physical appearance. I've held several jobs at once, bought my first car when I was 17, and opened my first business at 23 years old. It's heartbreaking and disappointing to see how my relationship was depicted as something only surface level. Dean and I's connection was so much deeper. Call us kindred spirits or free souls…our outlook on life and love was similar (or so I thought). Which is why we continued a relationship after the show. However, just because I am looking for someone to "have fun with", explore the world, and try new things, does not mean that I don't want monogamy. Marriage is something that will happen when the right person comes into my life but I am not placing a time constraint on that. We have a tendency to become defensive when we see someone physically in pain, but just because they never showed me crying or being upset doesn't mean that I wasn't. This show was one of the most challenging, emotionally trying experiences I have endured. Looking back, I never spoke negatively about anyone else. I never told Dean how he should feel or who he should choose. I wouldn't change anything, all I can do is learn from it and move forward. There are so many other things that we can be investing our time and energy into – things that can improve and change the world. So please be respectful towards everyone ❤️ Spread more love, less hate.
Us: How did you feel about going home without a chance to step on the beach?
DL: I was really disappointed. They tried to stay optimistic and said if the investigation closed they would hopefully resume filming. They initially had told me that I could continue to stay in the hotel until they figured things out but, at that point, I didn’t want to be in a hotel room for five more days. Jasmine [Goode], Raven [Gates] and Alexis [Waters] and I were eating our feelings. We were carb loading with pizza and pasta.
Us: Were you hesitant to come back once the investigation was completed?
DL: I was excited for another opportunity. We had all planned a trip to Vegas for Jasmine’s 30th birthday and were really excited to go. I think it was only two or three days before the trip that they called us. Production was pretty adamant about having us back. I told them, “I’m not flying back if I’m going to be in a hotel room for another five days!”
Us: When you got to Paradise, did you know about Dean and Kristina’s romance?
DL: I had no idea. During the break, my focus wasn’t on who was in a relationship because I really thought it was over. I saw a Snapchat of Kristina and Dean together and I heard they were hanging out after the show but I didn’t know the extent of everything.
Us: Did you go into the show with your mind set on Dean?
DL: No, it wasn’t like Dean was my only option and I was only pursuing him. Ben Z and I actually had a very nice time together. I knew him before the show because he’s one of Jasmine’s good friends. In Paradise, I was trying to see if we had a connection. I think he’s a great person, but I just didn’t feel the chemistry with him. It’s funny because they just don’t show that!
Us: Did Dean lead you to believe his relationship with Kristina wasn’t serious?
DL: When I sat down and talked to the girls, I wanted them to tell me who they liked. I wanted them to speak up the way Jasmine did to Christen [Whitney] like, ”No, I really like this guy. Don’t go after him or I’ll kill you.” Whether we’re friends or not, if someone says that to me I would go find someone else. When I talked to Dean, he told me he and Kristina did hang out during the break but that he wanted to pump the brakes. He wanted to date other people and had encouraged her to do the same thing. And when I talked to Kristina, she said that they weren’t in a relationship either. I figured I would spend time with him and if there wasn’t a connection, at least I would know and I could try and pursue another relationship.
Us: How would you describe your connection with Dean?
DL: We’re both very light-hearted people. I think that was one of the main differences between my relationship with him versus Kristina’s. He was just someone that I felt super comfortable with. We laugh all the time and we’re very smiley people. I just felt like we had this light-hearted connection where we just wanted to have fun. We didn’t want to put pressure on ourselves with the thought of getting engaged at the end of this. We just wanted to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting.
Us: What was your reaction when he said he wanted to leave separately?
DL: I knew the situation between me, Kristina and him caused a lot of stress. I think in the back of my mind I knew it was a possibility that he would want to leave separately. It was still hard for me to hear, though. I was like, “If he’s having doubts, I don’t want to get involved with someone like that. I rather he tell me now so we can move on separately.” But that’s not what happened afterwards.
Us: So what did happen?
DL: We left in separate vans to go back to the hotel. It’s funny because when I pulled up, there was another car in front of me and I was like, “I bet that’s Dean.” Sure enough, he gets out. I was like, “Screw this guy.” I got back to my hotel room and I think it was five minutes after I put my bags down that I got a phone call from him. I didn’t want to talk to him at all. I hung up on him several times before actually staying on the line. I gave it to him straight. I said, “You don’t know what you want. You made a complete fool of me on national television. You literally told me you loved someone else and now you’re calling me saying you want to hang out. I just don’t understand your thought process.” He told me that he was encouraged to say those things. I just think it was his way of saving face at the end of Paradise. He came over to my hotel room and we talked some more. As soon as we got back to L.A., we hung out with each other and started this off camera relationship that I thought was going in the right direction.
Us: Was he still talking to Kristina, too?
DL: It was my understanding that he wasn’t talking to her anymore. I told him my main thing when we were dating was that I didn’t want Paradise to continue after the show. If you’re still talking to Kristina, then you need to talk with Kristina. But if you want to focus on our relationship and see where it goes then you need to cut that communication off. I don’t believe he was hooking up with anyone else. But I think he was very good at making sure that we weren’t saying we were boyfriend and girlfriend or in an exclusive relationship.
Us: What’s your relationship like with Kristina today?
DL: I’ve seen Kristina. I organized Raven’s birthday party in L.A. and we hung out and spent time together. I don’t hold anything against her. In terms of a friendship, I think it’s where we were post-Bachelor and before Bachelor in Paradise. We hang out with a lot of the same people but would her and I ever hang out one on one? No. It’s not to say I don’t like her. Some people you get a lot with more than others.
Us: And what about Dean?
DL: I’m definitely frustrated with him. I think he’s been very dismissive of our relationship and continues to allude that he only pursued me because of my looks. I’ve never been in a position or a relationship where I’ve felt so disrespected by someone. It’s frustrating because he told me he would have my back and stand up for me but at the end of the day, he just saves himself instead of being honest about things. It’s a lesson learned moving forward. I don’t hate him but I am disappointed.
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