Leslie Fhima is opening up about what went down in the Fantasy Suite. When The Golden Bachelor‘s first-ever runner-up appeared on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, she revealed what Gerry Turner told her during their overnight date that made her feel “100 percent certain” that she’d be getting engaged, not Theresa Nist.
“I don’t want to say everything he said, but it was 100 percent certainty that I woke up the next morning that I was going to be it,” Leslie said. “He made plans with me [for] the future. Kind of like, ‘Save the date, this is what we’re going to do. I can’t wait for us. Two more days and we’ll be done with this. We’ll be together, start our life.’ Did he say, ‘Will you marry me?’ No? But he all but said that.”
“I would’ve been happy with just ‘I love you,’ but he took it to a different level,” she continued. “When we woke up the next morning and he left, he turned around three times and blew me kisses. He didn’t want to leave. That’s why I wasn’t worried that he was going date. I just knew he had to get through the emotions of it. I was 100 percent sure that I was it. He didn’t say, ‘I have such a hard decision to make.’ Nothing like that.”
Rather, Leslie said that her and Gerry’s time off camera was “a relief” and “so comfortable.”
“It wasn’t like, ‘What are we doing now?’ We talked for hours. There was so much I wanted to tell him about me and he wanted to tell me about him. It was great. I felt closer to him. [I was thinking,] ‘This is it,'” she said. “It was really nice, because that’s why I went and picked out this dress, that’s why I wrote my vows, because I was 100 percent certain. There were things he said to me in the overnight that alluded to his overnight with Theresa wasn’t going to be the same.”
During his own Bachelor Happy Hour interview, Gerry was more mum about the goings on in the Fantasy Suite, though he hinted that a conversation during that date made him realize Theresa was the woman for him.
“There were conversations in the Fantasy Suite that were very revealing to me. Quite honestly, because they’re in the Fantasy Suite and they’re not in front of cameras or microphones I feel like it’s appropriate to keep that in the Fantasy Suite and leave that there,” he said. “But yeah, there were some things that we talked about.”
After the Fantasy Suite, Leslie had a great meeting with Gerry’s family. When she went to leave, though, Gerry’s mood seemed off to her. At the time, she blamed it on exhaustion, but looking back, Leslie said it’s clear that he had made up his mind in favor of Theresa.
Gerry’s odd mood continued into the evening, and Leslie especially took notice when she presented him with a photo album full of blank pages for their future adventures.
“He was just off there,” she recalled. “… When I told him that I loved him or something, he said, ‘That’s such a sweet sentiment.’ I could feel the tears welling up.”
Gerry left the room on a sour note, before eventually returning to tearfully end things for good.
“I feel awful. It was a difficult situation. There was no way out of it that was graceful. I think that was the worst of it. Every direction I turned trying to find the more graceful or gracious way out, it just wasn’t there,” Gerry said. “As you saw, I was able to break protocol with what The Bachelor franchise has typically done where two women go down, one getting an engagement and one getting sent home. I was able to not do that with Leslie and break the news to her the night before.”
“It was horrible. I’m not going to lie. There’s no way to dress it up. It was a horrible moment,” he continued. “I had such strong feelings for her, such admiration and respect, only to be the guy that had to send her home and dash her dreams.”
The pair reunited for the first time during the live portion of the season finale, and their conversation was uncomfortable to say the least.
“I feel like I didn’t get a ton of closure with him, but that’s OK. I felt like I closed with myself… You don’t really get a closure. What can they say? They had to make a choice. It’s his journey, his choice, but he could’ve chosen not to say those things to me. That’s all,” Leslie said. “… I didn’t get closure from him, and I don’t know if anything he would’ve said would’ve really given me closure… At the end of the day, he didn’t really have the integrity that I thought he had.”
During that conversation, Gerry apologized. While Leslie told him that she understood his reasoning, she wasn’t sure she could accept his apology.
“I mean, she was hurt. I was hurt. I had no expectations of what I wanted from Leslie, except that I wanted her to feel better at the end of the conversation than at the beginning,” Gerry previously told ET. “I mean, there’s a need for closure. There’s a need for clarity within that conversation. I fully understand where she’s at.”
Looking back on the experience, Leslie said she doesn’t “really regret anything,” though she wishes Gerry would’ve handled some situations differently.
“I just wish he would’ve done it differently,” she said. “I don’t respect what he did. It started with [second runner-up] Faith and then me a little more, because I went to Costa Rica and did all that. I feel like he used ‘I love you’ too much… He hurt me.”
With that in mind, if Leslie were to become The Golden Bachelorette (a spinoff that’s yet to be announced by ABC) she said she “for sure would never tell anyone I love them until I’m on that platform with them.”
“I would never want to hurt anyone the way I was hurt or blindsided. My heart is precious to me and I’m just not going to give it to anybody. When you say ‘I love you’ to somebody it means something. I just don’t throw that word around,” she said. “I haven’t said it in a really long time to someone. It meant something to me to say it to Gerry. I know it would be hard. I’m sure it’s hard when you do love two different people or three different people, but I just wouldn’t say. I’d show my affection in different ways.”
While Leslie is still searching for her happily ever after, that moment has arrived for Gerry and Theresa, who are set to wed in a ceremony that will be televised live. The couple agreed that they’d both invite Leslie to their nuptials, though Gerry noted, “I think that would be more up to Leslie.”
“I would be comfortable because I had such deep feelings for her and a lot of respect,” he said on the podcast. “If she were comfortable being there, I certainly would be comfortable having her there.”
As for the fast timeline for the wedding — it’s taking place on Jan. 4 — Gerry told ET, “When you get to this age, every moment is precious and you don’t want to waste them.”