“We talked almost daily for a while. We were trying to pursue a relationship,” Aaliyah, 29, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of season 5, which premiered earlier this month. “It just didn’t end up working out for us.”
Aaliyah met Uche, 34, in the Love Is Blind pods during season 5, quickly hitting it off. As Uche was gearing up to propose to Aaliyah, their relationship reached a standstill when it was revealed that he dated fellow contestant Lydia Velez Gonzalez several months before the experiment began.
While Uche reassured Aaliyah that his past with the 32-year-old geologist was in the rearview mirror, Lydia couldn’t resist recounting their three-month relationship. As a result, Aaliyah decided to leave the show early.
“I felt like my boundaries weren’t being fully respected by Lydia,” she told Us of deciding to walk away from Love Is Blind and Uche. “I stated to her that, ‘I was going to stay, but I didn’t want the constant knowing things about the past and your past with him. I’m trying to focus on the present in my future with this person.’ So that was what it was a part of it.”
Aaliyah did note that Lydia’s actions were not the only reason she broke up with Uche in the pods. “There were many things that led me to make that decision and it wasn’t just all Lydia,” she added. “There were some things on the side of Uche that I felt like we need to kind of work on this a little bit before we are to get engaged.”
Aaliyah further told Us that she thinks she “did the best thing that I probably could have done in that situation” by walking away without saying a word to Uche.
“It was getting to be really heavy by the time I said, ‘This isn’t really what I want for myself,’” Aaliyah explained to Us. “And I don’t think that the bond that we were forming in the pods, I didn’t think we deserved for it to be illuminated in that way with this situation … was putting a little bit of a shadow over [our] connection. It was really strong.”
She continued: “We were really, really in it for each other. I felt like we were, and I didn’t want to go into an engagement that way. I felt like I was doing the best thing for myself and for both of us. I didn’t think that my leaving was the end of our relationship.”
Uche found out from a producer on proposal day that Aaliyah had left the experiment. After his shock wore off, he agreed to meet up with her in person. There, Aaliyah attempted to explain her point of view while asking for a second chance. Uche — who even claimed that Lydia had stalked him after their breakup and speculated that was why she signed up for Love Is Blind — turned Aaliyah down.
Aaliyah, for her part, is now “accepting” that their relationship did not turn out how she initially hoped it would. “I’m in a great place [and] I’m happy,” she gushed. “Life is great and I’m so blessed, honestly.”
Love Is Blind season 5 is currently streaming on Netflix. New episodes drop on Fridays.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi