“I have had sex . . . and Jesus still loves me,” Hannah Brown, the 24-year-old “Bachelorette” star from Alabama, was seen saying in many, many previews over the past two months.
The line was primed to go viral, especially because it was on “The Bachelorette,” which is not exactly known for being a sex-positive atmosphere. In 2014, Nick Viall famously shamed Andi Dorfman on live TV when she didn’t choose him as the winner, saying, “If you weren’t in love with me . . . I’m not sure why you made love with me.” The next year, in a postseason interview, producers featured some of the horrifying online attacks that Kaitlyn Bristowe endured when she spoke openly about sleeping with contestants on the show.
But Monday night’s episode was a different story, as Hannah went to Greece for “fantasy suite week” (where contestants can spend the night together off-camera) with her four finalists: Peter, Tyler, Jed and Luke. She explained, “Fantasy suite week is not about sex. It’s to have the time in a real, raw way without cameras to see where my feelings are truly, and really find out who I want to be with for the rest of my life.”
At first, things proceeded normally, as Hannah and the finalists used coy euphemisms about taking relationships to “the next level” or how they “didn’t allow” things to go too far. Then came Hannah’s doomed date with Luke.
Luke, for those unaware, has been the villain of the season; the other contestants despised him, and even Hannah eventually tried to kick him off the show. (He somehow won her over and stayed on.) Against her better judgment, she invited him to Greece for fantasy suite week.
During their date, Luke, a 24-year-old from Georgia, embarked on a long monologue telling Hannah what she — and viewers — already knew: After “chasing sex” in college, he had a religious awakening. (He says God spoke to him in the shower one day.) He has abstained for the past four years and is now saving himself for marriage.
“I am very confident that we’re on the same page with our morals. And I just — I want to hear it from your mouth,” Luke said. “I just want to make sure you’re not going to be sexually intimate with the other relationships here. . . . If you told me you’re having sex, or you had sex with one or multiple of these guys, I’d be wanting to go home. 100 percent.”
Already, Luke broke protocol: There’s an unspoken agreement that contestants don’t discuss what goes on with the other finalists. “Um,” Hannah responded, trying to wrap her mind around the ultimatum. “Sex is a very big deal to me. . . . Some of the things that you said, like, I don’t agree with at all. And honestly, I’m kind of mad, because the way that you just said that. It’s like, why do you have the right to do that? Because, you’re not my husband.”
“Can I cut you off for a second?” Luke asked.
“No,” Hannah said flatly. “You’re questioning me, you’re judging me and feel like you have the right to when you don’t at this point. I get when you care for somebody that you don’t want to think about somebody being intimate with another person. But guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage; pride is a sin, too. And I feel like this is like a pride thing.”
At that point, Luke backtracked and insisted she misunderstood him, a gaslighting technique that he’s fond of using. After a lot of confusing back and forth, Luke conceded that if Hannah had a “slip up” and slept with one of the other contestants, he would be willing to work through that — but if she slept with all of them, he would say, “I’m out of here.”
Hannah became even more frustrated. “The words that you’re saying are just, like, really not okay,” she said, suddenly realizing that she had been willing to overlook the many red flags of a man who would break up with her if she didn’t fit his definition of morality. She told the camera, “He has said that he loves me. But then it’s like, ‘No, you don’t, if it’s so contingent on if I fit into what is morally acceptable for your wife to be.’ . . . You don’t own me.”
Luke still didn’t seem to get it. “If I did find out that one of these relationships, you did slip up and you had sex, nothing really changes what I want with you in the future,” he protested.
Hannah, increasingly irate, tried to explain that she didn’t consider sex as “slipping up.” “You know the story in the Bible about when the woman was caught in adultery and she’s thrown into the village? And Jesus is there, and he’s like, ‘You without sin throw the first stone’? What you just did was, you’re holding your stone up at me and asking and trying to see what I’ve done. And I know that I have God in my heart,” she said. “I prayed so much for clarity, and I feel like I’ve finally gotten clarity on you. And I do not want you to be my husband.”
What followed was an agonizing, extended scene in which Luke refused to exit, and said that she “owed” him to let him explain further, and added that he wasn’t trying to judge or condemn her — and a furious Hannah tried to make him leave. Then, she knew just the trick.
“I have had sex,” she told him.
Luke paused. “Say what?" he asked.
“Yeah,” Hannah said, fuming. “And Jesus still loves me.” And then, in terms we cannot repeat in a family newspaper, she revealed that she had already slept with one of the other contestants. Sure enough, it worked. Luke, looking dejected, ultimately left.
Hannah watched an SUV cart Luke away. “What I believe love is, it’s loving someone unconditionally and wholeheartedly," she confidently told the camera. “If you love me, then you love me. And you love everything about me. You know that there’s flaws about me, but you love me through those flaws. That’s what I want. You’re not going to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do. I answer to the Lord. I don’t answer to Luke.”
“I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders that, like, I finally figured it out for myself. I’m just relieved. I never have to deal with him again,” Hannah proclaimed.
Of course, previews showed Luke coming back in the finale in two weeks to fight for another chance — but after this disastrous conversation, it’s clear that he’s done. Until the producers inevitably invite him on “Bachelor in Paradise.”