'Bachelor In Paradise' Star Demi Burnett Says Coming Out Was 'Really Scary'

Appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the 23-year-old opened up about being part of the first LGBTQ couple in the American "Bachelor" franchise.

The sixth season of “Bachelor in Paradise” came to a close this week with a historic first for the show.

Tuesday’s season finale saw Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty proposing to one another, marking the first-ever same-sex engagement to be featured in the American “Bachelor” franchise. (In 2018, two women paired off on the Vietnamese version.)

“Bachelor in Paradise” has been praised for depicting the couple’s journey with nuance. In a Friday appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Burnett said that coming to terms with her authentic self in the public eye was a “really scary” experience.

“It was a lot of fear. It was fear of judgment,” the Texas native, who is bisexual, said. “It was fear of disappointing people in my life, making them uncomfortable. It was just really hard... But it all worked out.”

In the early episodes of this season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” Burnett began dating contestant Derek Peth. As the season progressed, however, Burnett told Peth that she and Haggerty, who was not previously involved in the franchise, had been dating casually before filming commenced.

“Obviously, in the beginning, I was just hesitant to get to know him because of the situation,” Burnett told Entertainment Tonight. “But everything he’s done, it just speaks so highly of his character and I do wish the best for him. We’re all friends, so it’s a unique situation, but it’s beautiful.”

Her experience on the show, she later told People, had taught her that “it’s OK to be myself and embrace that and own it.”