Demi Burnett was a fan favorite on Colton Underwood’s recent season of The Bachelor, and continued to win Bachelor Nation’s affections on season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise. Burnett made headlines as she came out as bisexual and pursued a public relationship and engagement with Kristian Haggerty, a non-member of the franchise’s alum. In the last few weeks, as rumors circulated, Burnett and Haggerty officially announced their split, stating on Instagram that “being apart and growing individually” is “what is best for us in the long run.” So, what has happened to the bold 24 year old from rural Texas that has her leaving fans in the dark?
Demi has always been an interesting character. Burnett marketed herself as an outdoor girl, and hobbies in her ABC bio included fishing, ATVing, and watching wrestling, and the jury is still out on Burnett’s career before reality TV. ABC listed her profession as an interior designer, but there’s no evidence of a design career for Demi. She also has a few minor credits as an actress and was linked to a number of reality TV stars, including Paulie Calafiore from The Challenge, before even appearing on The Bachelor.
Burnett quickly became known as a firecracker on season 23 of The Bachelor, and she evolved from firecracker to “villain” in record speed. Demi picked a number of fights with the so-called “cougars” and involved herself in much of the season’s drama as she vied for Colton Underwood’s time. The season also featured a continued plot line around Burnett’s mother who was in prison for embezzlement. In week 6, she snuck off to Underwood’s hotel to reveal she was falling in love with him, only to be told her feelings were unreciprocated and be sent home. Fans knew, however, that the franchise wasn’t done with Demi.
As predicted, Burnett was cast on season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise and unexpectedly began a flirtation with a returning star from season 4 of the show, Derek Peth. The relationship always seemed a bit forced and unnatural, but nobody could quite put their finger on why until Burnett revealed to him that she still had feelings for someone she had been dating at home before the show: a woman. The show’s host, Chris Harrison, broke traditions and brought Burnett’s ex, 27 year old Kristian Haggerty, to paradise. Burnett and Haggerty stayed in paradise to pursue their relationship, and Burnett proposed to Haggerty during the season’s finale.
Fans were torn over Haggerty’s arrival in paradise, upset that the show was allowing non-franchise commoners on their beloved spinoff solely to appeal to a diverse audience. Burnett and Haggerty were the first same-sex couple in the franchise’s history. However, by the end of the season, the duo had won Bachelor Nation over, and fans were rooting for a happily ever after for their favorite contestant. Burnett was praised for handling her public coming-out journey with grace and transparency, displaying all of her highs and lows along the way.
In recent weeks, fans began noticing over social media that the couple was no longer together, and the two formally announced their split on Instagram on November 1 with coordinated captions. While both Burnett and Haggerty maintain that the breakup was both mutual, and perhaps even temporary, social media suggests otherwise. Kristian’s sister Caitlin commented “Not desperate at all…” on one of Burnett’s recent bikini-clad Instagram posts, leading fans to believe there may be more to the story.
On October 31, Burnett tweeted: “I’m not okay today and I’m going to take a break from social. Thank you to everyone who is reaching out xx.”, leaving fans to wonder what happened to Burnett. Where is the bold clap-back artist who once told Tanner Tolbert she’d “show him a thing or two about going down on [his] wife” after he compared her to Jed Wyatt? Where is the other half to her and Jordan Kimball’s infamous Bachelor in Paradise comedy troupe? For someone who used to pride herself on full transparency and calling her shots when she sees them, she’s been laying pretty low and had pretty tight lips since the breakup. Is it possible the take-no-nonsense Texan is just… heartbroken?
Even though Burnett has been putting on a brave face, vacationing with friends and partying with fellow Bachelor alum like Nick Viall for Halloween, it seems the hush-toned new Burnett fans are seeing is a broken-hearted one. Demi made her fear of rejection known in the back of the limo after being sent home by Colton Underwood, saying “It hurts. This is why I haven’t wanted to be in a relationship for a really long time, because of this feeling. Being hurt is just the story of my life. Nobody has ever loved me back.” Burnett made it clear during their season that her relationship with Haggerty was unique, no doubt making the wounds twice as deep this time around.
While the whip-quick 24-year-old has certainly earned her right to privacy, fans can only hope they’ll one day learn the truth about the split with Haggerty. It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone for Burnett to make a Bachelor comeback, either, and though Pilot Pete seems a little too timid for Burnett, at least on the surface, perhaps Bachelor in Paradise season 7 is in the cards?
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