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Jessenia, Alana and Chris Were Being ‘Overly Cautious’ in San Diego Trip Before ‘Bachelor in Paradise’

San Diego is being dubbed the “new Stagecoach” by some Bachelor in Paradise viewers after Alana Milne and Chris Conran were accused of having a pre-show relationship amid a love triangle with Jessenia Cruz, but what really happened between the threesome pre-BiP? Their friend Stephen Lovegrove joins Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast to break down the trip and triangle.

Related: ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Couples Who Are Still Together

“I felt like it was not over the top obvious, but I felt like it was clear if you were, like, paying attention and perceptive … that Jessenia had a crush. I did feel like it was clear that Alana had a crush,” the life coach, who was on the vacation, told Us. “And so Chris was a pre-existing friend for me prior to this trip, Jessenia and Alana were people who I met on this trip, and both of whom I really loved, had a great time with. It kind of felt to me like a situation that we’ve all probably been in where two of your friends both seem to like the same person, which is always a little dicey, even if it’s at a random at a bar and even more dicey if it’s someone in your friend group.”

Inside What Really Happened Between Jessenia, Alana and Chris in San Diego
Jessenia Cruz, Chris Conran, and Alana Milne. ABC(2); ABC/Craig Sjodin

According to Stephen, at the May gathering, hosted by Bachelorette Katie Thurston, the group didn’t know for sure who was going to Mexico to film Bachelor in Paradise, which began production in early June.

Related: Bachelor Nation Stars Accused of Having Relationships Pre-Show

“I wouldn’t call it a love triangle at that point,” Stephen said. “Because everybody was so overly cautious [that] nothing is going to happen before Paradise. I truly just think it was two friends who both have a crush on the same person. … Part of the reason it was so anticlimactic is people were trying to be smart and cautious and wise about Paradise potentially coming up, right? I texted Katie, ’I feel like it was a seventh-grade summer camp level of scandalous of what actually happened.’ You know, nothing to see here. But who knows if Paradise was not in the equation, and it had just played out in San Diego, who even knows, I just think it actually would have been very entertaining TV all around just in general, without any forced VIP parties.”

Alana arrived during the Tuesday, September 7, episode of the ABC series, but her stay was short-lived after the group kicked her and Chris out, accusing them of playing Jessenia. Now it’s unclear if Alana and Chris are seeing each other post-show.

Related: All the Rules and Secrets You Didn't Know About 'BiP'

“What I heard Alana share on ‘Bachelor Happy Hour,’ it does feel to me like her and Chris did end up bonding a little bit over that jarring experience they had on Paradise. … I really feel for Alana because I don’t think she knew what she was walking into,” Stephen told Us. “In the [Brandon and Pieper] clips, we kind of get this sense of maybe they were prepared a little bit to be hated by everyone but like, ‘We’ll be hated together.’ I don’t think Alana had any expectation of that going in. And I think it was particularly hard for her to walk into that, so I do think she and Chris may have ended up bonding as a result of that. I don’t know how everything’s going to shake up. I feel like it’s an ongoing situation. Honestly, I hope that everyone is able to reach a point past the pain with this because, you know, I don’t believe that anyone in this particular situation deserves to be, like, a permanent villain in these people’s lives or like a permanent enemy.”

For more from Stephen, plus a game of “Bachelor Secrets” with Dean Unglert and Caelynn Miller-Keyes, listen to “Here for the Right Reasons.”

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