In an interview with EW below, the Houston attorney/entrepreneur dives deep into why he didn't do a taped interview for the reunion, how he feels about being "misrepresented" as the villain of the season, what viewers don't know about his relationship with Aaliyah after filming ended, his response to Lydia's claims about knowing they'd both be on the show, and more.
Netflix Uche Okoroha
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decline to participate in the reunion?
UCHE OKOROHA: Unfortunately, it was a scheduling conflict. I had a really good business opportunity that I couldn't pass up and I chose to pursue that instead of going to the reunion.
Why didn't you do a taped interview like we saw a couple do last season?
They never offered me a Zoom or taping anything at all. They just said, "We understand you can't make it to the reunion," and that was the end of that.
How did it feel not being involved in the reunion at all?
I don't think I was upset that I couldn't speak my piece in a taped or a Zoomed way because ultimately, the producers had a certain narrative that they wanted to drive. Even if I recorded something, with the way that they do their editing, I'm sure they would've tried to spin it in a way that was negative against me. That's really the biggest reason why I don't regret not going to the reunion, because the editing and the hosting and the questions that they're asking and the clips that they're rolling is really targeted towards driving that narrative. We even see Aaliyah trying to hold Lydia accountable, and she completely got steamrolled by Lydia and Milton, and they completely invalidated her feelings and made it seem like she didn't have any points or any reason to be upset with what happened.
What did you think of how the other cast members spoke about you in a negative way?
It's easy to target the person that's not in the room and make that person the bad guy. The editing drives a certain narrative that everybody is against me when they're not. I think that was misrepresented. For example, Chris Fox was on the stage and he spoke up, said some good words about me because he's one of the few people on that stage that was actually still friends with me, and they cut that out in the edit. With Izzy, I think it was just a misunderstanding between us and we're definitely on good terms now. I'm still friends with a lot of the cast members.
Who surprised you the most in the way they spoke about you at the reunion?
Aaliyah definitely surprised me the most because up to that point, we had open lines of communication. She came to me and said, "When this show airs, I'm going to lead with grace. I'm completely fine with what happened between us. I don't think either of us are at fault. I think there's certain things that you did and there's certain things that I did as well, but I'm past that. I'm moving on." And then once she found out that I wasn't going to be at the reunion, she took a different road and blindsided me with some of the things that she was saying.
What I think has happened with Love Is Blind is it's turned into a competition of who got hurt the most, and who was dating the worst person, and trying to bring yourself up and get public favor and get followers by dragging somebody else down. She fell into that trap, and that really surprised me.
That's surprising to hear you two were on good terms after hearing what Aaliyah said about the way your relationship ended, and the way your "breakup" happened in an earlier episode.
When I saw that edit, at first I thought that maybe that was something she was in on with the producers. I know she mentioned they had showed her the scene in advance of an interview that she was doing. When I saw it on TV, I reached out to her and said, "Why didn't you tell me that they edited this in this way? Do you want me to go along with that narrative? Is that going to make you look better to the public or whatever?" And she said, "No, you don't have to go along with that. You could tell the truth about it." So it was a little bit puzzling. And throughout the course of our relationship, when we started to date afterwards, I'm just surprised at the narrative that she was driving that I was somehow mean or rude to her, or nasty to her, when really it's just me trying to understand my partner.
I understand how my tone comes across. That is something I know that I need to work on. But at a certain point, I need to be able to have these tough conversations with my partner and I need them to be able to answer questions and speak to me with a level of maturity instead of getting offended that I asked certain questions, instead of sending me 10-part angry text messages, instead of sending a voice note to me on Instagram and then unsending it. I can't communicate like that. And I explained that to Aaliyah as well. "Call me on the phone. Let's meet up in person. Let's talk about things." Ultimately, I think that while I was willing to work on my character flaw, I don't think she was as willing to meet me halfway with being able to communicate, and not running away, and dealing with things and communicating on that mature level.
Aaliyah revealed at the reunion that you two tried dating after the show but it didn't work out because she said you had told other cast members she wasn't the type of woman you usually find attractive, and that you were "mean and condescending" towards her, so she decided it wasn't worth chasing. What really happened between you two?
It was really hard to get on the same page because she was focused so much on, "Here's what happened with Lydia." And I told her, "I understand how terrible that was with Lydia. I apologize that you were in that situation and I feel so sorry for you, but please try to understand my perspective as well. The day before engagement day, I asked you if anything was wrong," and she said, "No." "You broke that promise to me, so please consider my feelings as well and acknowledge that." She apologized when we were at lunch, but then the day after, I felt she continued to try to validate her decision. She said, "I actually don't regret leaving, and I left for you because if I didn't leave right then and there, I felt like I was going to do something terrible to Lydia."
That concerned me a little bit, and I started to ask follow-up questions... And she got upset with me. Now I feel like I can't express myself or ask questions for fear that my partner is going to get upset and get mad at me for trying to understand her better.
In the midst of all of that happening, she told me that she had gotten a job offer in California and we knew that we were not at the point in time where we could deal with long distance. We could barely communicate as it is. If I didn't tell her to turn down that job and stay in Houston, it must mean that I didn't love her or that I didn't want to pursue a relationship with her. So she ended up taking that job and moving to California, and that's where our relationship ended.
What she hasn't spoken about is in that period of time after she moved to California, we started to develop a great friendship. We were texting each other every day. Until one day, she said, "I need you to stop texting me, I need you to stop calling me, because I need to fall out of love with you, and I feel so guilty that I ruined a chance at true love with my soulmate. I feel like I messed that all up and I really can't live with that right now." And I think that level of guilt and that level of regret is what's driving a lot of her actions right now.
I'm just moving on with my life. She's spent over six or seven hours combined in interviews and podcasts and media spots talking negatively about me. This vindictive side of her is something that I really didn't see, and it's something that I don't appreciate, and it's something that I hope that she can grow and move on from.
What did you think of how Lydia and Milton ended up getting married after that happened with you three?
It's interesting. A lot of the cast was doubting that they would get married. People were thinking that Milton was going to say no. I do think that they balance each other out very well. I wish them good luck in their relationship in the future.
Lydia recently said that you lied about her and that you two did have a conversation about applying to the show. What is your response to her claims?
That's completely false. We never had a discussion that we were going to be on the show together. She found out that I was going to be on the show by looking at my Instagram and seeing that I was following a casting producer, going over to that page, and seeing "casting for Love Is Blind," and she was able to apply. She blocked my Instagram account so that they wouldn't know that we knew each other. In her head, that looks a lot worse for her, so she created this story that we had talked about it. That's very dishonest, but it's in the past now and I'm not really going to hold that against her.
Do you regret going on the show?
I do regret the outcome, but I don't regret my decision to actually go on the show. Obviously, I regret what happened in one of my exes showing up and the editing and everything else, but I don't regret my decision to go at all.
What do you think was "misrepresented" the most about you in the edit this season?
They wanted to create a character that's easy to hate, so they took all of these good aspects about me and they threw those clips into the trashcan and they just showed me arguing with people.
Would you consider going on other reality shows in the future?
I would say for certain that I would never do another reality dating show again. If there were some other reality show, maybe like a competition or an obstacle course or something fun and lighthearted, maybe I would consider that.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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