When the season began in August 2021, the boy band manager was immediately attracted to the former beauty queen, who made her Bachelor Nation debut during Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor. At first, the duo seemed like one of the strongest couples on the beach, but things hit a snag when Mari told Kenny that she wanted to keep her options open.
“Initially, we had a conversation about not going on dates with other people [and] it wasn’t shown,” the Puerto Rico native recalled during a September episode of the “Click Bait” podcast. “And then after sleeping on it a little bit, after getting some opinions [and] advice — I talked to Wells [Adams] a little bit and I asked him, ‘When do couples usually start to become more exclusive?’ And he said not until, like, week three or four usually.”
At that point in the season, Mari thought she wasn’t ready to commit to Kenny, but she reconsidered when Demi Burnett arrived. The BiP season 6 alum set her sights on the Bachelorette season 16 veteran, eventually taking him to the boom-boom room, but their romance quickly fizzled.
Kenny then went on a date with late arrival Tia Booth, but he ultimately decided that Mari was the one for him. Though he worried that their 15-year age difference might pose a problem, the duo talked it over and realized they were both ready to tie the knot.
“At the end of the day, we did go through a lot of real-life relationship stuff, and we were tested like no other couple in Paradise, I think,” the Right Stuff Entertainment founder said while popping the question. “Mari, I am f—king so in love with you. And I literally, like, I can’t see my life without you. You’re such an amazing woman that you’ve changed my whole outlook on life.”
After the season finale aired in October 2021, the couple told Us Weekly they hadn’t started planning their wedding yet, but Mari said she’s planning a move to Kenny’s hometown of Chicago.
“So that’s our first step, and we did agree to get married in Puerto Rico, where I’m from,” the Towson University alum added. “So there’s that.”
Keep scrolling for a look back at Kenny and Mari’s relationship ups and downs: