Becca Tilley grew emotional as she talked about going public with her relationship with singer-songwriter Hayley Kiyoko.
The former “Bachelor” star, 33, recently confirmed that she and Kiyoko, 31, have been together for the past four years, but have kept their romance off of social media.
“When I made the decision to go public with it, I thought, ‘I have this army of people who have my back no matter what. And the people that I care about most in the world are our supporters and they love us,’” Tilley said on Monday’s episode of the “Scrubbing In with Becca Tilley & Tanya Rad” podcast. “And so I was prepared for anything and everything.”
She teared up as she continued, “I was not prepared for the amount of love and support that we got. Like, I just could have never predicted…”
Tilley, who appeared in seasons 19 and 20 of “The Bachelor,” made a cameo in Kiyoko’s latest music video, “For the Girls.”
At the end of the video, Tilley climbs out of a limo in a wink to Tilley's "Bachelor" past.
Not long after “For the Girls” came out, Tilley confirmed their relationship on Instagram.
“hard to say if this is a hard or soft launch, but it is a launch,” she captioned her post, which included footage of sweet moments between the couple.
On her podcast with Tanya Rad, Tilley opened up about why she and Kiyoko decided to go public after the “For the Girls” video dropped.
“It was never this like, ‘OK, when the video’s revealed, your relationship’s revealed. … It was kind of like, people have already been talking for a long time, let’s give a nod to my past of being on ‘The Bachelor’ and to our relationship,” she said. “And I just was kind of like, I think I’m … I think it’s time, you know?”
She added that while she and Kiyoko did not discuss their relationship on social media for years, they also didn’t hide it completely from the people around them.
“Hayley and I never were secret. We were very much ourselves,” Tilley said. “We held hands in public, we kiss. … If I was with Hayley, I introduced her: ‘This is my girlfriend, Hayley.’ I never was like, ‘This is my friend,’ or, ‘This is my best friend.’ I really made an effort to make sure that there was that distinction between private and secret.”
Tilley also opened up about how she and Kiyoko reacted after going public with their relationship on Instagram.
“I kind of put my phone down and I looked at Hayley and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s out there. It’s not just ours anymore,’” Tilley said. “And she was like, ‘It is ours. We still can choose what we share, whatever. But people are going to be so supportive.’”
Support definitely flooded in for the couple on social media, including from several of Tilley's fellow “Bachelor” alums.
“I hope you feel celebrated and loved today by all! So thrilled you have found the person who makes you feel safe and loved. You two are incredible, can’t wait to see what is next for you both,” season 23 competitor Elyse Dehlbom commented on Tilley’s recent video.
“Bachelor” alum Colton Underwood, who has been open about his coming-out journey, also celebrated the news.
“We love a good launch. SO HAPPY FOR YOU,” he wrote in the comments.
Tilley said she has been touched by all the love she and Kiyoko have received, and she also took a moment to thank her girlfriend for her support.
“Hayley has really made me feel brave,” she said, “and she was always like, ‘People are going to love you. People love you, and they want to see you happy.’ And I just am so thankful for you guys.”