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, Shari talked about her relationship with Javen and her experience on Temptation Island. Below is what she had to say.
Reality TV World: What exactly were your expectations going into Temptation Island? Because it seemed like you had no interest in dating other guys. (Laughs) Did you just consider it a test to see if Javen would be loyal to you?
Shari Ligons: Honestly, no. My expectations -- well, I feel both of our expectations were to honestly date other people and just make sure we get all of our questions answered so that we can move forward and see if we really are meant to be together.
We are each other's first and only relationship, so it is a little crazy. And, you know, we didn't expect to ever date 12 other people on a reality TV show, but it [tested] our love and just seemed like a great opportunity for us at the time.
Reality TV World: Would you say your relationship was on the rocks prior to filming the show? Would you say you two were fighting all the time?
Shari Ligons: I feel like for us, we wanted to prove that we were a perfect match and really destined for each other. I know there were a lot of clips shown of us bickering and things like that, but that's not the whole totality of our relationship.
And in those moments, it was really high pressure and we were bickering. But the most I can say is we were pretty set in our relationship because we were at this point of eight years together. You know? We weren't dating other people.
So it was kind of like, "Okay, what's the next step to see if we really are meant to be together?" And we thought this was the ultimate challenge! (Laughs)
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Reality TV World: At the start of filming, how confident were you that you would leave Temptation Islandas a couple with Javen? It sounds like you had a lot of faith in each other.
Reality TV World: When the 24 singles introduced themselves, you threw shade at several of the women that day, but some of the girls believed you were just insecure or poking fun at the ladies who actually intimidated you. What's your response to that? Would you admit to being a tad jealous?
Shari Ligons: First and foremost, I was not intimidated or insecure. Me and Javen were bickering, and I was being really petty. I was honestly just being petty, and there was no type of insecurity or any type of jealous factor.
I did feel some of the girls were coming off as aggressive, so me naturally, I was just being a little petty (laughs) and throwing a little shade here or there.
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 -- and what would be unforgivable?
Shari Ligons: Yeah, definitely. We both agreed an emotional connection or an emotional relationship with another person is definitely a no go!
Reality TV World: On that topic, I know you said you had trouble getting over the fact Javen had cheated on you in college. Was that emotional cheating on his part at the time, or did he say the encounter didn't mean anything to him?
Shari Ligons: Yeah, basically. He was between 18 and 20 and was freshly in college. And for him, it wasn't -- he said it wasn't any emotional connection and the girl didn't mean anything -- that he was just a young guy making dumb mistakes.
And I mean, I believe him in that aspect. I really don't think me or him are really the type to develop emotional connections with people that easy.
Reality TV World: After seeing all of the singles, Javen pointed out to you that the lineup of guys was "horrible" for the women. Although that's a strong statement to make, did you kind of agree with him or were you impressed by the guys by their initial introductions?
Shari Ligons: For me personally, when I say I'm not impressed by people, it's because I'm not impressed at surface level. It takes me [time] to get to know people. It takes me seeing who you are as a person in order for me to feel like I'm impressed by you.
Reality TV World: Knowing what Javen's tastes are in women, was there any girl who stood out to you as being a potential threat to your relationship? Did anyone in particular worry you?
Shari Ligons: No. Honestly, I felt like none of the girls really looked similar to me, so on the surface, based on physical appearance, I didn't think any of the girls were his type. But that wasn't factoring in their personalities, you know, some people have great personalities.
There are amazing human beings on this planet, so I knew that, just based on who me and Javen are, it's going to take a few weeks for us to actually get to know these people and figure out if they actually are a threat.
Reality TV World: Was there any guy right off the bat whom you thought, "Maybe that's someone I'd like to date and get to know better?"
Shari Ligons: When I first met the singles, me and Javen were kind of at each other's throats, so I didn't really get to see all of the introductions. I know it's crazy, but I really wasn't [focused]. (Laughs) So it's kind of hard for me to say who initially caught my attention!
Reality TV World: So why did you select James to accompany you on the first date of the season? Did you just think he was cute and that's about it?
Shari Ligons: Yeah, I mean, I guess I just picked James because he seemed like a pretty cool person. I was like, "Hey, might as well just pick someone!" I didn't really have any strategy behind it.
Reality TV World: Neither of you took advantage of blocking a single from dating your partner. Why did you opt out of blocking a girl, and was that an easy decision for you to make?
Shari Ligons: Totally. It was something I already knew I was going to do. I knew I wanted Javen to fully dive into this experience and date all of these girls. Who am I to hold him back from somebody he wants to pursue? That's how I saw it. We signed up for this and I wanted him to really get the full experience.
Temptation Island's second episode will air Tuesday, January 22 at 10PM ET/PT on USA Network.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for the rest of our exclusive interview with Shari. Also, be on the lookout for our interview with Javen.