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Arguably no one else on Season 4 of “Temptation Island” experienced a greater journey of growth than Luke Wechselberger, and now he’s ready to talk all about it.
When he first came on the island with his longtime girlfriend, Iris Jardiel, their relationship was in trouble. After he was caught texting other women multiple times, Iris needed him to prove he was not only capable of owning up to his mistakes but growing into a man who is worthy of her.
Luke took his task seriously and ended the season by successfully proposing to Iris. Now, after the engagement and a particularly spicy reunion that saw him in the hot seat, Luke spoke with USA Insider about his journey, where he and Iris are now, and how he dealt with Ash Lamiroult's hatred for him.
From day one, Luke said his strategy on the island was simply to give himself over to the process.
“When you're there on the island and you're in the heat of everything you want to get the most out of it. And I took [host Mark L. Walberg’s] advice.” he explained. “I really wanted to listen, to hear what it would take for me to grow as much as I possibly could and to ultimately be the best man I could be for Iris in the end.”
He said that his commitment to Iris allowed him to resist temptation with the singles. Instead, he developed what he called platonic relationships with them that helped him learn what women like Iris want in a man. However, at times he admitted that his focus on Iris began to rob him of his own experience.
“I kept talking about Iris, Iris, Iris. There was even a clip in the show where Hania [Stocker] was saying, ‘Look, you need to shut up about Iris right now, man,’” Luke said. “So I ended up focusing more on myself and how it feels to be a single man to bring whatever value I'll have into my next relationship if it wouldn't have been with Iris. But, at the end of the day, I really was trying to leave with Iris.”
Because he felt he remained very dedicated to his girlfriend while on the island, Luke admitted he was surprised while watching the show and attending the reunion to find out that the single woman he had the deepest connection with, Paige Whisenant, was a little upset that nothing romantic crystallized between them.
“That was the only weird thing. She was acting like she was going to be my friend and my homie and that's all I wanted it to be. And then some of the confessionals I saw on the show afterward was her acting like there was something way more that was happening when I never told her there was ever going to be an actual connection,” Luke said. “Like, we never intended on having that. And I had made it clear I'm going to be leaving with Iris, I'm going to propose to her.”
Paige wasn’t the only one a little upset at Luke at the reunion. While he was explaining his growth on the island, Ash spoke up and made it clear they are not a fan of Luke at all. The moment rattled Luke a bit, but he says Ash walked that statement back during the reunion.
After his time in the hot seat, Lascelles Lagares really found himself in hot water with his now-ex, Ashley Rodriguez, as well as the woman he left the island with, Trace Winningham, and two other singles. At one point, Luke says he criticized Lascelles, which helped him score points with Ash.
“And then [Ash] tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Hey, you're already gaining brownie points for me. I take it back’ or whatever,” he said. “We're all good. I don't really have any bad blood with anyone there right now, especially Ash. But it was a shocker.”
As for his new fiancée? Luke said he and Iris are better for each other after their experience on the island.
“We've just been a great team for the past five years and now it's it's becoming even better,” he explained.
He wants people to know that he’s taking her out to eat more and covering the bill, which he caught flak for during the show. However, he also wants to make it clear that their decision to split checks was not necessarily fully understood by his critics.
"I think there's that one part where it's like, ‘Luke can't even buy her fast-food restaurant, he splits checks there.’ It's like, we eat out 25 to 30 times a week. So not every one of those is a date, right?”
Above all, Luke is excited that the secret of his engagement is out and that they can finally share the good news with the world and get to work planning their wedding.
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