Bachelor Winters Games’ Ashley Iaconetti and Kevin Wendt are opening up about their breakup.
Just weeks after audiences watched the pair find romance with each other on the Olympic-themed Bachelor spinoff, PEOPLE confirmed on Monday that they have gone their separate ways.
Now, Los Angeles-based Iaconetti — who competed on The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise — and Wendt, a former Canadian Bachelorette contestant who lives in Canada, are sharing exactly why they decided to call it quits.
“It sounds a little harsh, but it’s just that lack of — there’s magic. We get along very well, it’s just there’s a little something missing and you can’t really pinpoint what it is. That’s just how I feel,” Iaconetti, 30, told former Bachelor star Ben Higgins on Wednesday’s episode of their Ben and Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast.
Wendt affirmed Iaconetti’s feelings, saying, “I feel like that’s normal and I feel like you get those connections all the time where if you take away our outside world and just put Ashley and me on an island together, we’d probably get along really well. And that’s what Vermont was.”
When Higgins asked Wendt if he too was “feeling the lack of spark also” with Iaconetti, he shared, “I’m very hard at giving up on things. And I’m not saying that we gave up on it … I’m saying I was still ready to come there again. And I know her birthday, I wanted to be there when I had to work and I was planning on coming out as of that week or she was going to come here. I knew we definitely had an uphill battle. I wasn’t 100 percent in yet, but I also knew I wanted to see her again.”
He added: “But now that a few days have passed and we both kind of collected our thoughts and emotions and stuff, I know she made the right call and I know this is the way it should be.”
From Wendt’s perspective, “I feel like I got friend-zoned. Ashley, you friend-zoned me,” he said with a laugh.
“But I’m okay. I think the more I process it and the more — I mean, I’ve kept it kind of to myself. I didn’t want any comments getting out there without us doing this,” he said, referencing the podcast. “I want the best things for Ashley. I just don’t think the spark was fully ignited by the time we had the conversations, but I respect her for at least doing it earlier on. We could have done two or three more trips and then it just would kind of dragged out, so it’s all good. It makes sense.”
Despite the split, Iaconetti said the exes ares on “friendly terms” and chose to openly speak about the breakup because what she “wanted to prevent was everybody’s personal interpretations and all the social media picking apart.”
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“I just didn’t want people to make assumptions,” said Iaconetti, who also noted that she “didn’t want people villainizing .”
Since filming wrapped, Iaconetti and Wendt were intentional about making their relationship work — including “a lot of FaceTime” and phone calls — despite being long distance.
To celebrate her 30th birthday last week, Wendt posted a photo of Iaconetti to Instagram with a sweet caption. “She has so many incredible qualities I’m learning about each day,” he began. “There is a reason she has so many friends and people around her that love her.”
“She’s the most driven, motivating, and supportive person I know. She motivates me to be more. Smart, sweet, sexy and it’s her birthday tomorrow!!” continued Wendt. “So go say happy birthday to her!!! #30looksgood #campfireandwine.”