Javen and Shari, both 25, currently reside in San Francisco, CA. They were high school sweethearts who met at 16 years old and were dating for eight years prior to their Temptation Island appearance. In fact, the couple had been living together for five of those years.
However, Shari couldn't get over the fact her man had cheated on her during college.
The pair therefore decided to go to Temptation Island and date new people in order to ensure Shari could trust Javen again. She knew this experience would test his loyalty and love more than ever before. And as for Javen, he said he wanted Shari to experience dating other men since she's never dated anyone else besides him.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World after Episode 1 of the series aired, Javen talked about his relationship with Shari and experience on Temptation Island. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Shari said she was having trouble getting over the fact you had cheated on her in college. Would you mind sharing the extent of what happened back then? Was it just one time, and did it mean something to you?
Javen Butler: Well, me going to college was kind of a big thing, and so pretty much, I got to college and got a lot of attention. Me and Shari were long distance at the time, so I started entertaining a bunch of women and just got obsessed with the attention and things got carried away.
Shari came to visit me a few times and [the woman] called me and texted me, and so things kind of blew up from there. So, Shari has never really gotten over that.
Reality TV World: Were you two fighting all the time prior to your appearance on Temptation Island? When you two were arguing during the premiere, you said, "Story of my life," so it sounds like this was the norm for you two.
Javen Butler: I was just being dramatic at the time, but we've had ups and downs in our relationship. We were actually arguing throughout that day, just kind of bickering with each other, and things kind of escalated from there.
I think once things got pretty real for us and we were out in front of the singles, you know, the experience hit us, like, "Okay, we're really out here doing this." So maybe we were a little nervous and [therefore] kind of came for each other a little bit.
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Temptation Island to begin with? Was the concept pitched to you, like, "Hey you've been dating for eight years? Want to go on a show and date new people?!" And were you familiar with the show when you heard it was being revived?
Javen Butler: Yeah, it's pretty interesting. Shari brought this up to me; It was her idea. I kind of looked at like, "Okay?" At first, I was like, "No. This sounds crazy."
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But then again, I thought to myself, "I could really use this to my advantage and kind of show her that I am still interested in her and I wanted to be with her." And I wanted to redeem myself from my past because I was such a -- I was a lot to deal with.
And so, I wanted to redeem myself for sure that I'm a better man and I'm different. And also, I had a lot of questions that I had about just life in general and my relationship being we were high school sweethearts.
It's a lot to be with the same person from when you're 16 to, you know, whatever. That's a lot!
So that comes with its own set of issues, and we had our own questions. We had a very unique relationship, and so, coming to the island, I looked at it as... an experiment. I had a lot of questions I wanted answered along the way.
Reality TV World: I was wondering what you were hoping to achieve by saying that you wanted Shari to date other men. How would you benefit from that?
Javen Butler: It wasn't meant to come off that way, like, I wanted to see her and test her in that certain environment. That was my whole idea. I didn't want her to actually fall in love and date other men.
I just wanted to test her in that environment because he's never dated anyone besides me and I never dated anyone besides her.
So, this was an interesting thing for us to do... but I definitely didn't want her to date other men. I wanted to see if she could hold it down, honestly, and if she was all about what she says.
So what she says, I wanted her to apply it and actually see. Some people are all talk, like, "Trust me,"... and it's like, "Okay, let's put you in that situation and see if you pass or fail."
Reality TV World: You were together for eight years and living together for five years prior to the show. Were you thinking about proposing marriage to Shari? Is an engagement something you had both discussed?
Javen Butler: We always had kind of like an unorthodox view of marriage and we weren't really trying to fall into traditional norms, like society norms where you meet someone, you fall in love, you get married.
I don't know. We're kind of weird... It was always a question in the back of our minds, like, "If I do decide to marry this person, am I cutting myself short in life? Is this really the one for me or are we doing this just to please each other?" So, we just had a lot of questions.
Reality TV World: Going into filming, how confident were you that you would leave Temptation Island as a couple? How much faith did you have in each other that you'd end up together?
Javen Butler: Coming to the show... to be honest, I was very confident and there was no doubt in my mind that I'd be vibing with someone else.
I just have this weird mindset where I'm so competitive, and I just felt like I couldn't be defeated by the island. So, I wanted to come onto the island and just be a man of my word. Things are going to be interesting.
Reality TV World: Did you two hash out a set of boundaries or dealbreakers before taping began? Knowing you were going to be dating other people, did you discuss what type of behavior would be okay -- like maybe hand-holding or even kissing, for instance -- vs. actions that would be unforgivable?
Javen Butler: A lot of stuff is unforgivable in my world. I can be dramatic and I can be a lot, so any kissing, hand-holding -- anything like that -- is a red flag for me and would set me off.
So we kind of had this little thing where you just know, "Don't do something you wouldn't want the other person to do."
Reality TV World: When the 24 singles introduced themselves, Shari threw shade at several of the women, but some of the singles believed she was just insecure or poking fun at the ladies who actually intimidated her. Did you agree with the singles on that, that maybe Shari was a tad bit jealous?
Javen Butler: No, I think Shari was just being petty. Like I said, this was all new to us and things were getting kind of real, and we were drinking a little. So, I don't think she was being insecure -- that's just kind of Shari and her own way.
Those people were there to date us and potentially take us away from our partners, so I think that was her just being competitive and making her mark and letting the girls know she's not a pushover. I don't know!
Reality TV World: After seeing all of the singles, you pointed out to Shari the lineup of guys was "horrible" for the women. Why did you feel that way? What did you think the group of single men were missing? Why weren't you impressed?
Javen Butler: Honestly, I was just sitting up and trying to crack a joke to lighten the mood with Shari. We had some back and forth words, and that was me trying to get her to smile and kind of ignite her a little bit... but then we were back arguing.
Reality TV World: Based on first impressions, which single guy intimidated or worried you the most when it came to Shari's taste in men and why?
Javen Butler: I know Shari pretty well, and I don't know, I didn't think any of the guys -- to be honest, I wasn't even paying much attention to the guys because I was arguing with Shari the whole time.
Reality TV World: You said you weren't interested in any of the women after seeing all of them. Were you being honest and sincere or were you just trying to make Shari feel comfortable and good about herself?
Javen Butler: I came there with a mission and I came there with a plan, that I was not going to fall victim to temptation. So I was just telling myself, "I am here to fight temptation, not to give in."
I wasn't there to date; I wasn't there to fall in love with people. My goal was to fight temptation and show Shari that I changed and am different from my past.
Reality TV World: If you went on the show totally single and just looking for love, which of the singles do you think you would have been interested in pursuing and dating?
Javen Butler: I would rather just talk to someone and get to know them and their personalities. Looks are skin deep, so I'm that kind of person. So if I came on the island single, I don't know honestly. I think I would be all over the place, talking to everyone and feeling everyone out.
Reality TV World: Neither of you appeared to take advantage of blocking a single from dating your partner. Could you explain why you opted out of putting a necklace on a particular man to block him? And was that an easy decision to make?
Javen Butler: That was a very easy decision for me to make. I came there with a very competitive mentality and I wouldn't dare cut a man short.
I'm very competitive, and so at the end of the day, if anything happens -- if Shari does or doesn't do -- it's all her decision, and so I'm not going to choose for her.
I'm not going to single a guy out of a crowd and just tell him, like, "No, you can't be with my girl." That's pretty weird and I think that's a weak move to make.
Reality TV World: Why did you pick Kayla for your first date of the season? What was it about her that stood out to you?
Javen Butler: Honestly, when I was looking at the selection of women, I just kind of went for someone who appeared to be reserved and someone who just generally seemed to look like a good girl. I'm not really into -- I don't know.
I just chose her because I felt like she'd be a good person to take on my first date and I hadn't dated anyone since I was 16. I hadn't been on a date with a girl, so this was all really strange. I was trying to take my time and go at my own speed and my own pace... She appeared to be nice.
Reality TV World: A trailer for the new season shows you venting about how you had messed up, and you seemed really guilty and upset. Is there anything you can tell me about that?
Javen Butler: I was just being really hard on myself. Me and Shari were literally inseparable before coming to the island. We were always around each other and [very close], so being apart and me interacting with other women and appearing to have a good time, it seemed like Shari would rip my neck off.
And so I was just being hypercritical of myself and probably over-thinking things. I was probably doing too much, but that's pretty much it.
Reality TV World: Without giving away the ending, how you would describe your experience on the island overall? Do you have any regrets?
Javen Butler: My experience overall on the island -- whoa! It was a journey. I felt like I was Liam Neeson in a movie fighting people. It was amazing. It was beautiful. I had my ups and I had my downs.
It was a crazy experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something I wouldn't do again. Now that I've been through it, I have my answers and what I need.
Temptation Island's second episode will air Tuesday, January 22 at 10PM ET/PT on USA Network.
To read Reality TV World's exclusive interview with Shari, click here.