Michael and Sierra made an early and seemingly deep connection on Bachelor in Paradise, but Michael eventually determined something was missing between them and his grief was preventing him from letting his walls down and truly investing himself in the relationship. (Michael, a single father, lost his late wife Laura to breast cancer in 2019).
Sierra chose to self-eliminate from the show after Michael dumped her because her heart was broken, and Michael was left worrying he may not receive a rose at the second Rose Ceremony of the season.
However, Bachelor in Paradise bartender Wells Adams appeared to orchestrate Danielle's entrance just in time to save Michael, and then Michael and the blonde neonatal nurse -- who lost her fiance Nick Haag to a drug overdose in 2011 -- were given a date in Paradise the very next day, which resulted in the pair kissing and really hitting it off.
"I think at the end of the day, Sierra is a fantastic person and I love her so much. But from what we gathered when we were down on the beach, it was more so that Michael, maybe, didn't feel it with Sierra," Jared explained to the magazine.
"It was more about his connection with Sierra than it was, 'He's not ready for a relationship.'"
Michael broke up with Sierra after she gifted him a star constellation she had registered for his family.
It was a sweet gesture that would allow Michael and his son James to always observe three stars, including one for Laura, in the sky under certain coordinates.
"Some things take time. I can't put my finger on it, but something's missing with us. And I know you can feel me being guarded, and I don't mean to do that," Michael told Sierra on the show when he was breaking up with her.
"What scares me the most is that I'm using people that I actually care about to help me get there, and I'm hurting them along the way. It's messing with me... and I don't want you to be one of those. I think the best thing is space from the romantic pressure and just be friends."
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In the middle of Michael's speech, footage flashed to James Bonsall explaining to the other guys how Michael thought Sierra was moving too fast for him.
But once Danielle arrived in Paradise, Michael appeared ecstatic and ready to fall in love again.
Ashley told Us of the situation, "Initially, like, before we got to talk to Michael about [the Sierra breakup], I was like, 'Oh, I guess he's leaving too because he's probably realizing that this [process] is not for him.'"
"But then the next day, we talked to him, and he was like, 'No, it's not that. It's just that I knew that that wasn't going to be a long-term thing [with Sierra],'" she recalled.
Sierra admitted in a tweet earlier this week that she felt "highly disrespected" by Michael's behavior and the "convenient" timing of Danielle's pre-Rose Ceremony entrance in Paradise.
"Danielle coming down -- it's like, 'Guys, this is a TV show!'" Ashley reminded fans.
"There are people [behind the scenes] making decisions, and they will protect the people that we wanna see there and [who] we wanna see their storyline continue to evolve -- and Michael A. is one of those people."
Fans have also been wondering if Michael was anticipating Danielle's entrance all along, which would mean he had used Sierra in the beginning of the show.
When Danielle stepped foot on the beach, Michael affectionately called her "Dani" and revealed they had spoken via DMs on Instagram prior to filming the show, which prompted Sierra to question the pair's "little bit of history" in her Twitter post.
But Michael and Danielle claimed they were only friends and had never met in person before.
Jared suggested it's tough forBachelor in Paradise producers to determine what the viewers want to see.
"[Fans are] like, 'Oh, we want it to be about love.' And then you have two people who are in love and they're like, 'Well, we don't wanna see that. We wanna see drama,'" Jared explained.
"And then they bring in drama and then they're like, 'Well no, this is supposed to be real love.' And it's like, 'Well, come on now.'"
On the latest episode of Bachelor in Paradise, Michael and Danielle were shown returning from their first date. They were holding hands and kissing on the beach, and Michael gushed about Danielle's beauty and kind heart.
Michael also told the cameras how his first date with Danielle may be his last first date ever.