As one of the only remaining Bachelorette pairings still going strong, viewers may think it’s ironic that JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers have been tapped to host a show about divorce — but the couple begs to differ.
“We come from the reality TV world. We fell in love on reality TV — we know it works,” Rodgers, 34, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the Wednesday, June 14, premiere of USA Network’s The Big D. “In today’s day and age, on every platform, you can get whatever kind of dating show you wanna find, [but] this is a niche that I don’t think has been touched. And I think it’s important because there’s such a negative stereotype or stigma that comes with divorce. It feels like you failed. We haven’t been there, but we’ve been around couples on the show [and] off the show [that have]. … We wanna paint the picture that it’s the start of something new. And you can find love after divorce. You can find healthy relationships with your ex, move on and turn the page and go into that next chapter of your life with hope that you can fall in love.”
The Big D follows six former couples — who have been divorced for various lengths of time — pursuing dating the other divorcees in a villa in Costa Rica. The cast participates in relationship “EX-ercises” to help them make new connections while also finding peace with their former spouse. Each episode features an elimination of a contestant “who isn’t relationship material.”
“It’s this group of people that I think a lot of times feels like, ’It’s over for me,’ or ‘It’s never gonna be the same.’ And that’s not the case,” Rodgers continued. “I know it’s reality TV, but it can still work. And so that’s why we were here and that’s what we loved about it.”
Fans were introduced to Fletcher on Ben Higgins’ season 20 of The Bachelor. She went on to star as the season 12 Bachelorette, falling for Rodgers.
“I got to sit there and watch 25 other guys date and try to make some moves on my future wife. I knew [JoJo] was my future wife. She, maybe, didn’t know at the time yet, but we got there. So I think my perspective for some of these guys and some of these divorcees in the house was you have to focus on yourself as much as you’re gonna focus on your relationship and with who you want to be with,” the former quarterback recalled to Us. “And that was a big part I had to do on The Bachelorette — I had to go, ‘You know what? I believe in the connection we have and I’m gonna not let the outside noise affect me. Because if I do, it’s gonna change who I am. It’s gonna change how I react. It’s gonna change my time that I spend with her.’ So I think that was kind of my advice to some of these [contestants] — ‘Hey, it’s gonna be crazy. You’re in a house with your ex, but if you can just focus on the good, focus on the internal growth and focus on that one relationship that you wanna pursue — kind of put some blinders on — It can work. It’s not easy, but it can work.’”
Rodgers and Fletcher got engaged on the 2016 finale of the ABC show and have been candid about fighting through a “tough first year” of their romance, which included working together.
“The first show we ever did together, it was the year after we were together. And Sarah, you know, we’ve always said our first year was, like, ‘Holy moly, are we gonna get through this?’ But that was a real true test for us. We got through that [with] flying colors. We were feeling optimistic,” Fletcher explained to Us, adding that they “thrive” on set together. “We love it so much. We have a lot of fun doing it, but this show, The Big D, is different because we’re watching a lot of past relationships. There’s a lot of relationship talk and so there were definitely moments we were like, ‘This is really kind of interesting.’ Things that we hadn’t thought about or how it could affect our relationship, we started talking about it [through] little mini therapy sessions with [the show’s relationship expert] Dr. Jada Jackson. I feel like we grew a lot through this show as well.”
While Rodgers and Fletcher ultimately wed in May 2022 after rescheduling their wedding due to coronavirus-related delays, they actually filmed The Big D prior to their big day and are eager for audiences to tune in.
“There’s one couple that had been together for 16 years — a huge portion of their life — high school sweethearts [and] were married. They come into it and one individual is ready to get back together [and] one individual is ready to move on and cut ties,” Rodgers explained. “And once they get into the house, things start to switch for that couple. I think that’s what’s interesting — how you felt about your ex or how you felt about your relationship coming in, doesn’t always end up [being] what happens once you get into it. So that was interesting to see someone that is like, ‘I’m never getting back with my ex.’ They get in there and go, ‘Wait, maybe, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.’”
The Big D premieres on USA Network Wednesday, June 14, at 10 p.m. ET.
For more from Fletcher and Rodgers, watch the video above!