As their relationship continues to grow, Katie Thurston and John Hersey are reflecting on the rocky reaction — from Bachelor Nation and her ex-fiancé —to their romance.
It’s been less than a year since fans watched the 31-year-old former bank marketing manager get engaged to Blake Moynes on season 17 of The Bachelorette. Roughly three months after the finale aired, however, the twosome called it quits in October 2021. That November, Katie revealed she started dating John, who she sent home during week two of her season.
“There are so many guys and there’s only so much time to support those men. And so the first night, I actually didn’t get to talk to him until the very end and he was with, like, three other guys, so it was very rushed the first night,” Katie began during a joint interview with John on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s “Off the Vine” podcast on Tuesday, March 29. “Which then meant those, like, jitters, I think we? still there for him. Because by the time we got to sit down and talk, which was the evening portion of the group date [on episode two], he was so robotic, and it felt like an interview.”
The former ABC personality revealed that the former bartender, 28, was actually a “front-runner” after his Bachelorette limo entrance, but things changed quickly.
“He was very attractive. He’s very charming. And I told my producers, I’m like, ‘Oh, I have my eyes on him,’ which is a blessing and a curse because you have to make quick decisions,” she continued. “So I put him so high up that as soon as I talked to him, and he failed, that I was, like, ‘We can move to the back of the line.’”
John agreed that nerves played a big part in why the twosome didn’t hit it off during week two following their immediate connection.
“The best part about that night was that every person who talked to Katie recognized how great of a person she is. And they all come out of their time with her and [said] like, ‘I’m in love with this girl. This girl’s incredible, like, I know why I’m here.’ And I walked out of that room after speaking to Katie and I was like, ‘I’m going home,’” he explained. “Everyone else has hearts in their eyes. And I’m just like, ‘I’ll see you guys back at home.’ … I blew it.”
The former Bachelorette contestant added that the show felt “so unnatural” to him.
“I’ve never had a serious conversation with someone and sat down next to them and, like, held their hands on this bench that’s, like, two feet wide,” John told Kaitlyn, 35. “And in the meantime, you know, she was telling me very personal things about her life, and I was just like, ‘There are two cameramen two feet away from me staring straight at me, like, how do I process this heavy information and talk in front of cameras?’”
The twosome struck up a friendship while the season was airing and John even spent time with Blake, 31, before the wildlife manager and Katie split. The Bachelorette season 16 and 17 alum, for his part, implied that there was emotional cheating on Katie’s part after he learned she moved on so quickly.
“I really don’t think there was any physical cheating there, but there [was] clearly emotional [cheating] for it to transition as quickly as it did. I feel stupid and foolish for allowing it to happen, to some degree,” he said during an episode of the “Talking It Out With Bachelor Nation” podcast in November 2021. “I try to stand by having no regrets, but it is instances like this where you really start to fight yourself with having no regrets just with the way things played out.”
Sign up for Us Weekly's free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Scroll through for more from Katie and John — including their reaction to his comments: