Ashley and Jared first discussed the emotional and raw details of their surprising and exciting relationship on a newly-released episode of Ashley's The Story Of Us web series which airs on KineticContentTV's YouTube channel.
Ashley, who appeared on four spinoffs of The Bachelor franchise, began crushing on Jared, a three-time bachelor on the franchise, when they first met in 2015, and it took three years of ups and downs for the pair to finally be with each other.
As Bachelor Nation is well aware, Ashley has been enamored with her new boyfriend for years, and she spent her time on two differentBachelor in Paradise spinoffs pining for him and pursuing him.
Despite throwing mixed signals at Ashley and engaging in makeout sessions every now and then, Jared was always the one resisting and rejecting her, keeping Ashley in the "friend-zone" when their connection was obvious and deep.
The story began when Jared and Ashley had a brief fling on Season 2 ofBachelor in Paradisein 2015, but he dumped her on the show.
"I never felt like it was over between us after Paradise," Jared, 29, said on The Story Of Us, according toUs Weekly. "I'm not gonna lie and say that I was in love with Ashley during BiP. It was a slow build for me."
Once the pair became friends in the real world, they attended a charity event Ashley was planning in Virginia, and Jared had a sudden change of heart.
"I was in love," Jared reportedly said of Ashley, who was still smitten and wanting more with her pal. "That was such a different experience being with someone in the show and in real life. You were just so down to earth and easy-going, ambitious -- sexy. I wanted you that night."
Jared then reportedly led Ashley on by kissing her, taking her to dinner, and snuggling at home. But Jared didn't act on his feelings any further because he wasn't ready for a committed relationship.
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"I was just sitting there and thinking, 'God, I wish Ashley were here,'" Jared revealed on The Story Of Us, according to the magazine. "I just want to hang out with Ashley."
When Jared returned home from filming, he touched base with Ashley but then she went off to tape The Bachelor Winter Games in late 2017.
On Winter Games, Ashley got involved with Canadian firefighter Kevin Wendt, and the couple left the show still dating and happy.
"I was sad," Jared reportedly noted. "Sometimes I need a kick in the ass. That was a big kick in the ass."
In January 2018, Jared and Ashley traveled to St. Lucia with friends Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert for a vacation-- and that's when things took a dramatic turn.
Jared explained on the show he didn't think it would be fair to attempt to date Ashley when she had finally find someone else.
"What kind of assh-le does that?" Jared asked himself at the time, according to Us.
But Tanner reportedly convinced Jared to profess his love, and so he did. However, Ashley wanted to see her romance with Kevin through and give him a sincere shot. Even a kiss from Jared at the airport didn't change Ashley's mind.
"I thought 'Okay, well that's everything I've ever wanted, but I'm definitely going to continue dating this other guy. I do like him. He's pursued me -- he's been all in the entire time and I deserve to pursue somebody else and for somebody else to pursue me after all this time,'" Ashley allegedly explained.
But as Winter Games aired on television, Ashley said she realized her heart was still with Jared, and so she ended her relationship with Kevin.
Jared then proceeded to woo Ashley with love letters and flowers, and he ultimately won her back.