DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios finally had the face-to-face conversation the country has been waiting for during the season finale of Bachelor In Paradise that aired on Monday night. After months of news reports, speculation, an awkward conversation about consent on the show, and solo interviews that absolved them both of any foul play in the sex scandal that halted production of the show for two weeks, the pair had yet to address each other on air. In true Bachelor In Paradise fashion, it was not at all what we expected. The pair said a total of maybe 50 words to each other, with neither of them offering up any additional details about what happened. They wished each other well and briefly said that they’re feeling better. Both Jackson and Olympios also admitted to being in therapy in the wake of the incident, and it was the highlight of the interaction.
One of the highlights of Jay-Z’s latest album, 4:44 — in addition to his revelations about his infidelity [*side eye*] — was his mention of a therapist. It took many by surprise because under a code of specific masculinity, Black men aren’t the primary group to seek out such help. As Jackson sat on the couch next to Olympios, looking uncomfortable and answering Chris Harrison’s questions as if he was being interrogated by police, I wondered how deep the wounds from this ordeal cut. I felt a little bit of relief when he said that his therapist had been his “homie” through the the entire thing. Jackson admitted that he had lost touch of his happiness and that his therapist what helping him navigate his new normal.
Olympios said that she is “trying to get back to [her] old self,” and that she was also taking advantage of a therapist for help. She said that her therapist is helping her “make sense of things.” And I think I speak for all of Bachelor Nation when I say I wish that person could impart some of that wisdom, because we’re still confused.
It’s not very often that people are willing to speak publicly about seeking professional help in order to maintain their mental health. Unfortunately, conditions like depression, anxiety, and other kinds of emotional instability are still stigmatized in our country. In a country built on the premise of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, individuals are often expected to just pull themselves together. And if they can’t, it’s a sign of weakness. Thus, the biggest hurdle in coming forward about therapy can be admitting that you needed the help in the first place. It was refreshing that both of them joyously gushed about the effects of working with a mental health professional.
I imagine that anyone who finds themselves suddenly thrust into the spotlight might benefit from a little bit of therapy. When the public opinion of you skews towards false accusations of sexual assault or slut-shaming, it seems like a downright necessity just to sort through that new reality. Even though I don’t feel any peace with what happened between them, I’m glad that Olympios and Jackson are getting the help that they need.