The debt drama, how they kept their marriages a secret, and who’s still blind with love a year after it all went down.

By Emily L. Foley
Updated Feb 28, 2020 @ 10:00 pm
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Credit: Netflix

In a crowded dating-competition show landscape, Netflix newcomer Love Is Blind hit the streaming service this year and absolutely went wild. For starters, the concept is couples attempting to fall in love and get married before ever laying eyes on one another — wild enough as it is. Then there was the near-flu-level virality: Once this series hit on social media it really hit, and people couldn’t get enough of commenting in real time, and speculating about the couples coming into, and out of, the social experiment.

Not up on the show just yet? Here’s the deal: Fifteen men and 15 women begin dating each other, having conversations and looking for connections — while “blind” to the other’s looks. They sit in ‘pods’ and converse through speakers, sometimes for hours at a time. Only when a couple would find love and get engaged would the pair meet face-to-face, and then they’d immediately move in together and begin planning their wedding, which would all go down on the season finale which just aired Thursday night. So, all in all, it’s pretty par for the wildly unrealistic course that is television dating shows these days. For the finale episode, five couples had made it to the altar, and had to decide if they would in fact say ‘I do’ to someone they had only known for a few short weeks.

The cast gathered together in Atlanta Thursday night (where the show was filmed and most of the couples live) to watch the finale at a viewing party, and InStyle was invited to join the fun. But first, we polled our fans and followers with the burning questions they had on their mind leading up to the big event. So as their lives tumbled out on-air, we got to chat with Kelly Chase, Amber Pike and Mike Barnett, Cameron Hamilton and Lauren Speed, Giannina Gibelli and Damian Powers to get all of the answers.

The below contains spoilers for the Love Is Blind season 1 finale.

Credit: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Amber Pike and Matt Barnett

What Happened: They said ‘I Do’ and are happily married.

What you asked: A huge number of questions came rolling in about Amber’s debt and her “makeup credit card,” with some even wondering if “Barnett” protected himself with a prenup, but she was quick to clarify:

Amber: “Student loans are very common. I don’t know if these people know the state of student loans in the U.S. right now, but everybody has it, and what you didn’t see is that Matt actually had student loans at the time, too. But we actually had the conversation that whatever debt we came into the marriage with would stay ours. I don’t want him to pay for [my debt] for me, because that was part of my history before him, and therefore my responsibility. The one credit card I had was maxed out at the time, because I was going on a TV show, and how do you prepare for that? Of course I needed shampoos and conditioner and skincare routines! [laughing] I may have overdone it a tad, but it has since been paid off, and it is something I use to help build my credit. I usually only spend a certain amount on it each month; it’s not normally an exorbitant thing.”

Many fans picked up on the fact that there was roughly a year and a half between when cameras stopped rolling on the couples and when the show premiered on Netflix. So how did the married couples keep that hidden for so long?

Amber: “Before the show aired, nobody knew who we were, so we were living regular lives. We have made some new friends during that time, and we said, ‘yeah, we got married on a TV show,’, so there was a lot of trust there with them!”

Barnett: “And we had to be really careful about hand placement in pictures on social media, to make sure you couldn’t see we had rings on our fingers.”

Credit: Netflix

Kelly Chase and Kenny Barnes

Kenny was unable to attend the viewing party, but Kelly spilled the tea.

What happened: They parted ways at the altar.

What you asked: Fans really wanted to know why Kelly didn’t want to ‘test the waters’ sexually with Kenny, since they had connected so much emotionally.

Kelly: “Honestly, because my entire twenties, I was faster to make the physical connection with guys, even if we hadn’t really established the emotional connection completely. I had started a spiritual awakening journey for myself, and wanted to do something I’d never done, and it just happened to be on this experiment. I had grown an emotional connection with Kenny, but the timeframe was so short, so I just didn’t want to rush [having sex].”

Of course, fans wanted to hear if there were any wild moments that didn’t make it on-air.

Kelly: “Yes! We all did a cake tasting and dance lessons before our weddings, and that entire scene was cut. They let us do a freestyle dance during the lessons, and I broke out the worm and everyone was cheering for me and it was amazing, but no one got to see that!”

Fans also wondered how awkward it must have been breaking up with someone on your wedding day and they having to go back to your shared apartment to move out.

Kelly confirmed that the couples moved out of their apartments so not only had they not seen each other for several days before the wedding, they also didn’t have any awkward move out drama.

People also really wanted to know if couples paid for their own weddings, or if it was covered by the show. According to the couples, they paid for their own wedding expenses, but the show did provide the rings — each cast member was given several options to pick which they wanted to present to their significant other.

Credit: Netflix

Another burning question? How long the couples actually had in the pods to talk to each other. And this is a question the castmembers weren’t exactly aligned on: There was a wide range of answers, with Kelly Chase saying the longest was an hour and a half and Giannina Gibelli saying five hours (Damian was quick to correct her saying he thought it was only three). What is certain is that the first dates began at seven minutes, and then the date times increased as the number of people you were dating decreased. Also clear? The cast members lost all track of time while they were having those ‘pod dates’ with the people they ended up connecting with the most. They all agreed that no matter how long they had, it never felt long enough.

Credit: Netflix

Giannina Gibelli and Damian Powers

What happened: They parted ways at the altar.

What you asked: Many fans didn’t feel these two ‘made sense’ as a couple, and wondered how they ended up having such a strong connection.

Damian: “There are a lot of strokes in that. When you come from different cultures, different backgrounds, even the fact that her primary language is Spanish, so me meeting her family and adapting to that did play a lot into our experience. I had to realize that [I thought there was] this ideal structure of what a man should be, and a man holds this position and the woman should rely on the man, and [I came to realize] that’s not true. I was okay to break down and cry, and I found out being vulnerable can be beautiful, too. And accepting that a woman can be as strong as G was is beautiful, and so was taking time to slow down and understand where your significant other is coming from and learning that we’re not all defined by the typical titles in the world.”

Giannina: “I never believed in labels or rules, and even though we’re very different people, we were able to express ourselves. There was a moment of us saying you’re different, I’m different, and that’s okay.”

Fans who watched the finale and saw how much love these two clearly have for each other were very curious to know if they would reconcile after the show. Far be it from us to start rumors, but it was obvious watching the two at the party together that they share a very deep bond, and Damian’s answer to your probing questions didn’t exactly quiet suspicions about their status:

Damian: “We have come to peace with everything that happened at the wedding, and she and I are on good terms. You never know what the future holds, but right now we are on good terms and happy how things are.”

Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton

What Happened: They said, “I do,” and are happily married.

It may not be fair to call them fan favorites, but one thing is clear about Lauren and Cameron: People loved watching their love unfold. With comments like “I stan them” and “Why do they have to be so perfect” abounding, fans really wanted these two to say ‘I do.’

So how did the outpouring of public approval feel?

Lauren: “The outpouring of people from all over the world has been amazing. It feels so good to be able to give the world a happy cry! We are so blessed that everyone can support our love story.”

Cameron: “At the time when Lauren and I got engaged, there was a shift in my mind where I realized, ‘I need to do everything I can do to make sure that we can go through with our relationship and make it to the altar in a healthy way’. So now, all the people and support is amazing.

The couple has been married for a year and a half now, which leads to that same question: How did they live a married life before the show aired?

Lauren: “The show hadn’t aired yet, so no one really knew who we were, so we could be completely normal, and luckily for us, really work on our relationship and deepen it and help it grow.”

And did the couple ever think they might be one of the ones who were married at the end of this social experiment?

Cameron: “Not really. I went into it thinking it would be a fun adventure, and I wanted to keep an open mind about the process.”

Lauren: “I definitely didn’t go into it with the expectation of getting married, but I did have an open mind, and luckily I found a wonderful man, and I’m in love!”

Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

At this point, Netflix hasn’t confirmed any plans for a second season of the show, but with two successfully married couples and legions of addicted fans still finding their way to the finale, it seems a good possibility that more Love is Blind could be in our future.

Until then, tune into Netflix on Thursday, March 5, to see the reunion show and hear even more from the final couples.