On Oct. 31, Bachelor in Paradise‘s favorite couple, Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty, announced their breakup on Instagram. The split has shaken many fans, who were thrilled to see the first-ever Bachelor Nation same-sex couple and their moving love story on the sixth season of ABC’s BiP.
Burnett and Haggerty made Bachelor Nation history
When Burnett strutted into the sixth season of Bachelor in Paradise saying “I’m Demi, from Demi’s season of The Bachelor,” and promptly told close friend and former Bachelorette Hannah Brown that she was “sexually fluid,” fans fell in love with her openness and confidence.
Haggerty’s appearance was also emotional, as the two embraced each other lovingly and had beautiful heart-to-hearts about their love for one another. When Burnett told her girlfriend with tears in her eyes, “It’s you. It’s always been you,” the couple quickly became fan favorites.
Their relationship brought ‘Bachelor’-style romance into the queer community
The Bachelor franchise has always been about romantic fantasies, from windswept rooftop dates around the world to rose ceremonies, quick proposals, and ever-flowing champagne. It’s also historically been deeply traditional, with only straight couples who tend to envision the same kind of ending for themselves: heterosexual marriage and babies.
While there’s nothing wrong with that vision, many Bachelor fans hoped to see more diversity on the show as the years went on. Rachel Lindsay was the first black Bachelorette, and King represented the openly bisexual contestant.
Haggerty and Burnett continued the trend of reflecting the many different types of love in the real world, as they were the first-ever same-sex couple to have their love story play out on any Bachelor spinoff. Their deeply romantic story brought the LGBT community into the “dream world” constructed by Bachelor Nation, which had often seemed exclusive.
Queer fans saw themselves reflected in the couple
Burnett was honest about her difficulties with coming out on the show. She and Haggerty struggled on Bachelor in Paradise because Burnett was shy about exhibiting PDA with her new girlfriend.
She also told Ellen DeGeneres and several outlets that, while she was self-confident, she was nervous about being judged. Her mix of excitement and nervousness about sharing her identity with the world was relatable.
And when the couple made it through their difficulties and had a “double proposal,” with each proposing to the other on the season finale and the Bachelor in Paradise reunion, it looked like the Bachelor franchise had finally entered the 21st century. Fans were excited to be part of a new kind of Bachelor Nation, with more diverse couples dealing with contemporary issues.
Fans recently began to notice a potential rift
Shortly after the BiP season ended, fans noticed that Burnett and Haggerty didn’t seem to be spending much time together. Haggerty visited family in Florida, while Burnett traveled alone for work and social events. While Burnett claimed that the couple was still together, they didn’t post any pictures together in over a month.
What’s more, Haggerty’s sister posted a seemingly shady comment on a recent picture of Burnett in a bikini. Under the sexy snapshot, Caitlin Haggerty wrote sarcastically “Not desperate at all…,” prompting some fans to think a breakup was on the horizon.
The couple released a joint breakup statement on Halloween
On Oct. 31, both Burnett and Haggerty shared a photo of themselves at the season finale of Bachelor in Paradise with the caption “You will always have a piece of my heart” on their respective Instagram stories.
They also both shared posts about the breakup on their Instagram accounts. The post read, “What has always been at the forefront of our relationship is love and care for one another. Our priority is doing what is best for us. With a heavy heart full of love for one another we have decided it is best for us to take a step back from our relationship. We ultimately want what is best for us in the long run and for us right now, that means being apart and growing individually.”
Burnett and Haggerty concluded their statement with a message of hope and freedom, writing, “We have felt so much love and support from you all as you’ve followed our journey together and for that we are grateful. We will forever be proud of the impact our love story has made and we hope it has helped others feel more accepted and confident within themselves. We hope it reminded others they aren’t alone and don’t need to be ashamed of who they are.”
Fans are taking to social media to express their devastation over the breakup
Many fans are taking this Bachelor breakup especially hard, especially given the fact that Haggerty and Burnett were the first queer couple on the franchise.
“I’m taking Kristian and Demi’s breakup harder than some of my own… someone pass the rosé and Chunky Monkey,” one fan wrote on Twitter. Another agreed, writing, “today was the day demi and kristian announced their breakup and i’m honestly taking this so hard lol love you both but seriously no one talk to me.”
But for one fan, the breakup represents a new kind of possibility for a future season of The Bachelorette: “Okay I know Demi and Kristian’s break up is fresh,” they wrote, “but….. Kristian for first gay bachelorette?????”
Although their love story has ended for the time being, the public’s embrace of Burnett’s and Haggerty’s onscreen romance could represent a host of groundbreaking new chances for the franchise to branch out in the future.