Love Is Blind contestant Jessica Batten has explained her decision to return for the reunion episodes of the series.
She was joined by most of the other key contestants from the first series of the reality TV show which saw couples get engaged without ever seeing each other after talking while in isolated pods.
The Netflix series, hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, first aired in 2020 and became an internet phenomenon.
Batten was engaged to Mark Cuevas during the first series but declined to marry him when they got to the altar and he did not appear in the new reunion episodes titled Love Is Blind: After The Altar.
Explaining her decision to take part in the reunion episodes, Batten wrote on Instagram: “It was a tough decision deciding to go back on TV, especially when everything was dying down and life was getting back to normal. (And my life is actually about as typical/normal as it gets.)”
In a long post Batten said she had opted to appear because “I wanted to show up and share my story for every person who reached out to me with love and shared their own testimonies about having the courage to walk away from situations that were not serving them, that did not feel right for them.”
“I wanted them to see they would be OK in the end and they would make it through the hard times standing on their own too. (To be absolutely honest, I wanted to share my side of the story with Mark as well as I thought I owed that to myself. I sat on that for a long time – but that’s aside from my point here.)”
She ended her post saying: “I just want to encourage you to never lose sight of this North Star, your own heart. Even if it’s painful and messy and really freaking hard, keep going, trust yourself and know you’ll find your way. Not everyone is going to like it or like you through it… but that’s OK! You’ll find your way and they will all be better for it too, I promise!”
During the 2020 series, which was filmed in November 2018, she also became embroiled in a love triangle with Amber Pike and Matt Barnett, who were paired up and are still married.
The reunion episodes also gave viewers an update on Giannina Gibelli and Damian Powers. The couple did not get married after Powers jilted her at the altar, but they are still dating.
Netflix also unveiled new dating programme Sexy Beasts in July.
Participants wear elaborate make-up and prosthetics during dates with prospective partners in the series, which has been billed as The Masked Singer meets Love Is Blind.