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Johnny Dephillipo Gets Candid About Love, Life, and Looking Forward

Johnny Dephillipo has never been one to seek out romance. He believed in letting the opportunity find him. “I thought, ‘Don’t go searching so hard.’ I was really laid back and I honestly didn’t try too much at love,” he reflects. “I think if it’s truly meant to be, it’ll just happen on its own. I think that’s the best way. I still  work with that philosophy, but I’m more straightforward with things.” Ironically, he decided to join a franchise whose sole objective revolves around that very quest when he was cast on The Bachelorette. Reserved and affable Johnny made quite the impression on bachelorette Gabby Windey. He waltzed off one beach and onto another when he was selected for Bachelor in Paradise immediately following Gabby’s season. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed him in the Bachelor in Paradise teaser trailer before he was even eliminated from The Bachelorette. Johnny says his choice was heavily influenced by his amicable breakup with Gabby. “I think if me and Gabby’s breakup didn’t go as well as it did, I probably wouldn’t have [gone on BiP], but you guys only saw a quarter of how we talked at the end. It was very kind of joking and we were laughing and smiling, so I just felt like it was okay to go. If I could tell that she was visibly upset, I probably wouldn’t have gone so quickly. I still say to this day, it was probably one of my best breakups.” 

Unfortunately, his time in Paradise would end in a much stormier fashion. He found himself in a whirlwind romance with Victoria Fuller that ended in engagement, only to blow up in their faces just a few weeks after filming. The emotionally fraught saga offered many lessons on love and heartbreak. “It taught me not to ignore the red flags,” he grimaces. “It taught me how to communicate. It taught me how to be open. It taught me to follow my heart because there were plenty of times where I thought I should be doing the right thing, but my heart wanted something else. Follow your heart and don’t be afraid to fall in love because I was super nervous before that. I was super afraid to have it all taken away.” Their brief time together was plagued by arguments and rumors of cheating after pictures of Victoria in Italy with fellow Bachelor alum Greg Grippo set social media ablaze. (Victoria and Greg confirmed their relationship, complete with questionable couples tattoos, on the BiP reunion.) Though Johnny admits he and Victoria had obvious issues behind the scenes, the last thing he was expecting was for another man to be waiting in the wings to sweep his fiancée off her feet. “I thought there was time to work on things. I was surprised that there was already someone else. There were signs that I wasn’t quite sure if it would work, but like I said, I thought there was time to work on things and I was surprised that there was already someone else in my shoes.” The collapse of the engagement has made him guarded. “You’re putting yourself on this public platform and it’s going to be out there for the whole world to see, so you don’t expect it. There’s a lot of ways to be let down and people are number one.”

Still, he appreciates his time with Victoria for how it made him a better partner. “I’ve never felt how I felt about her with anyone else. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be supportive, how to be communicative. It taught me what I want to be as a man and how I want to be and how I want to show up for someone. As much as I don’t want to, I’ll remember Victoria forever, a hundred percent. She’s taught me a lot.” And he acknowledges his own flaws. “There’s definitely a lot of things I can do growing wise and there’s certain things that I think I need to take a step back and work on. I need to grow a little more before I jump into something else.” When it comes to future relationships, reciprocity will be paramount for Johnny. You and your partner should be building a life together, rather than one person trying to build their life to fit the other. “I don’t want it to be so one-sided. I feel like every relationship I’ve been in has always ended up with me either wanting more or someone else wanting more, so I just really want it to be equal and I want communication and trust. I want it to be almost…not effortless, because I feel like with relationships you have to try, but at the same time, I don’t want to ever doubt that we’re in love. I just want to know that you want this as much as me. I’m taking my time with the next one. When I choose the next one, it’s going to be the right one.”

Wading through the ego wreckage of a public humiliation and broken engagement, it can be difficult to recover from such an emotionally draining situation with your self worth intact. Each day offers a new opportunity for Johnny to rediscover himself and who he has the potential to become. “A lot of times, people ask me if I’m doing okay and I’d say yeah, but I feel like I’m still very much going through it as much as I don’t want to. As much as it’s in the past, these things do take time to get over. What helps me a lot is the people around me, friends, family, and just knowing your self worth and knowing that you know how to conduct yourself. You can’t change the way people act, but you can control how you react to them.” Regardless of ill-fated romance, he found his true soulmate in the form of a loving friendship with castmate Tyler Norris. “I always have Tyler. If anything came from this, it’s Tyler.” 

Now comes the patient work of healing his heart and spirit. Johnny’s most powerful medicine can be found in the kitchen. “Right now, I’ve just been hanging out with friends and family, getting back to what I like to do. I love cooking, so I’m constantly cooking, making videos, working out, eating healthy and preparing for the next chapter and just really focusing on me and only me.” He enjoys posting cooking videos on TikTok. “I’m going to start posting a bunch more videos. I’m throwing a barbecue party Saturday.” Despite enduring copious amounts of reality TV trauma, his determination remains undiluted. “I’m approaching 2023 like a bull. I’m taking it by the horns and everything’s mine this year. Everything is for me and I’m doing everything for me.” Nothing can stop this bull from charging his way through life. 

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Johnny Dephillipo Gets Candid About Love, Life, and Looking Forward. Photo Credit: Berkley McGaughey  

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