‘Bachelor in Paradise’ alum Jenna Cooper reveals why she decided to elope with Karl Hudson

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Bachelor in Paradise alum Jenna Cooper has revealed why she chose to elope with Karl Hudson, who saved her from a “dark space,” and spontaneously get married in New Orleans.

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Jenna announced her engagement to Karl in June 2021 and then gave birth to their daughter, Presley, in May 2020.

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And in early April, the North Carolina-based couple planned a wedding in three short days and eloped in New Orleans, LA, where Jenna and Karl had traveled for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

“I know [New Orleans] is random — which I feel like that’s kind of our personalities, we just kind of went with it — but I knew I wanted to marry him,” Jenna told Us Weekly during a recent episode of its “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.

“[There was] no doubt about that, that we were going to. And we kept going back and forth, like, ‘Are we going to do a destination wedding? No, we should do it here and have everybody come.'”

But Jenna pointed out how there were all these “weird regulations going on for years” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jenna therefore shared, “It was just like, ‘Are we ever really gonna do it? We just wanna be married.’ And we decided to go to New Orleans for the Final 4, he bought some tickets, and he mentioned, ‘Should we just get married?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, I have three days to plan it — sure! Let’s do it!'”

Jenna said everything “worked out perfectly.” She apparently loved her dress, the venue and her “amazing” photographer.

“It was so relaxing and so fun, and then we decided, along with that, to come back here and have a big ceremony and party later, probably in the [Fall 2022], which I kind of like,” Jenna noted.

“It’s kind of like we just keep getting to celebrate, throughout the whole year!”

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Jenna and Karl got engaged on the former reality TV star’s 32nd birthday. Karl popped the question during a trip to Turks and Caicos with their then 12-month-old daughter Presley, who is now almost two years old.

RELATED LINK: ‘THE BACHELOR’ FRANCHISE COUPLES NOW

Jenna and the real estate broker reportedly went public with their relationship in January 2020 and welcomed their first child into the world later that year.

“I’m so happy to have found my person outside of [Bachelor Nation] and all of that [drama] and to have [my daughter] Presley. And I appreciate all of it,” Jenna gushed on the podcast.

“I’m still a little bit damaged, clearly, from [my Bachelor in Paradise scandal] and there might still be a little bit of bitterness that I need to talk through eventually. But I would not wish that on anybody to happen.”

Jenna competed on Season 22 of The Bachelor starring Arie Luyendyk Jr. in 2018 and finished in ninth place.

After Jenna failed to win Arie’s heart, she appeared on Season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise and met Jordan Kimball, who originally competed on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette.

Jenna and Jordan got engaged during the Bachelor in Paradise season finale in Summer 2018, but they broke up shortly after the finale aired on television over a he-said, she-said scandal in which Jenna had been accused of cheating.

Jenna firmly denied the allegations and claimed leaked screenshots of text messages she allegedly had with another man were fabricated and fake. Jordan insisted he was “sick about” Jenna’s alleged actions and never created the text messages. Most of Bachelor Nation rallied behind him.

The screenshots had appeared to show Jenna bashing Jordan and admitting their engagement was just for publicity. She also apparently texted graphic sexual things to an unidentified man, who was supposedly her real boyfriend at the time, while she was still engaged to Jordan.

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Jenna believed it was a “fraudulent attack” against her at the time and publicly announced how she’d be taking legal action.

Jordan later married a woman outside of Bachelor Nation, Christina Creedon, in January 2022.

“And as much as I wanna say, ‘I wish it didn’t happen,’ I still wouldn’t change one thing to end up where I am now,” Jenna said. “I learned a lot and I’m so happy to be out of it. I can appreciate what I got out of it, but it just hurts.”

Jenna and Karl met through a mutual friend — who believed the pair would get along and hit it off, or at least become great friends — after the scandal, which left Jenna feeling pretty down and broken.

Jenna and Karl had their first date in a coffee shop, with Jenna knowing Karl would be there and Karl being totally unsuspecting.

“I was like, ‘Okay, that could be good for now’ considering I hadn’t been very social and I wasn’t out making a lot of friends,” Jenna shared with Us.

“I was actually kind of in a dark space, and he was going through his own things and we kind of just got together and were like, ‘Hmm, sometimes life kind of sucks but it’s way better when you’re with somebody that you care about.'”

Jenna said she and Karl essentially retreated into their “own world” and did their “own thing.”

“We had so much fun and then dealt with real-life stuff later. He is kind of the opposite of me, but it works out really well,” Jenna said.

Jenna called Karl her “happy place” and security blanket, saying she’s so lucky to have been matched with him.

Jenna added that Karl didn’t know anything about The Bachelor when they met, revealing, “Even better, he didn’t really care. So it was the perfect step outside of that world, and I don’t want to go back!”

RELATED LINK: ‘THE BACHELOR’ FRANCHISE COUPLES NOW: WHO IS STILL TOGETHER?? (PHOTOS)

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About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.

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