There are “Love Is Blind” Season 5 spoilers below that are as big as Lydia’s personality.
During the tail end of the first batch of Season 5 episodes released last week, it was revealed that two singles — Lydia Velez Gonzalez and Uche Okoroha — had previously dated. The situation was a first for the show and compromised its very premise.
The show touts itself as an “experiment” that explores whether two people can fall in love without ever seeing each other. In order to pull this off, participants speak to each other through a wall that divides adjacent rooms, called “pods.” If they hit it off purely through conversation, they have the option of getting engaged and finally meeting face to face.
But on the first day of shooting Season 5, Lydia and Uche were shocked to discover that they had already met … and, uh, knew each other pretty intimately.
“The fact that Lydia and Uche not only knew each other, but had a prior romantic relationship, was a complete surprise to me. I was totally blindsided,” show creator and Kinetic Company CEO Chris Coelen told Variety on Tuesday. “It was a complete shock. To be honest, it was like, ‘What are we gonna do?’ Nobody had any idea.”
Lydia immediately realized she already knew Uche within seconds of meeting in the pods, based on his voice and unique name, and made Uche aware soon after. Lydia then proposed they use the opportunity to attempt to rekindle their romance. Uche, however, turned down the offer.
Coelen told Variety that soon after their initial pod date, he pulled the two aside.
“We told each of them, separately, that we had no idea how this happened, and we were disappointed, but we felt the right choice was for them to leave the experiment,” he said.
Coelen said that the two “were absolutely crushed” by the decision and both expressed “a tremendous desire to stay and continue, speaking about their investment in the process.”
Coelen said he made a deal with them after both “confirmed they had absolutely no interest in the other.”
“We all agreed that, under the condition that they were not interested in each other, that they could stay if they did not immediately tell people about their history,” Coelen told Variety. “And at that point, on Day One of the pods, we all felt that the information wasn’t relevant and we all agreed revealing it would have been destructive to everyone’s overall experience.”
So, Uche and Lydia’s past wasn’t revealed to any of the other contestants or the audience until Episode 3 — a point at which Uche and Lydia had already created strong bonds with other participants.
Production’s decision to keep the secret made for very entertaining TV, but likely ended up causing confusion and potential hurt for the castmates involved.
Lydia, in particular, displayed some odd behavior before this revelation was made — you can read more about that in HuffPost’s live blog of the show, which goes into all the nitty-gritty about the resulting drama.
Past contestants from “Love Is Blind” have recently become more vocal about the producers’ questionable ethics behind the scenes. Danielle Ruhl of Season 2 told Insider earlier this year that she was pushed by production to stay on the show despite having major mental health issues. Season 1 participant Lauren Speed criticized “Love Is Blind” in 2022 by tweeting that most of the pairings on the show were “forced” or were pushed “forward for entertainment purposes.”
Other former cast members have complained about lack of sleep, terrible living conditions, and limited access to food and water despite a high availability of alcohol while they were filming the show, per Insider.