With the finale of “Love Island USA” less than a week away, the amount of islanders in the villa is quickly dwindling.
During Friday’s episode, Courtney Boerner, a fan-favorite who had been on the Peacock reality series since the beginning, was dumped from the island — causing a few of the other contestants and plenty of viewers to shed a few tears.
Although Boerner had tried to make connections throughout her time on the show, she recognized toward the end of her journey that her ideal partner was not in the villa.
She coupled up with Chad Robinson during Casa Amor week and wanted to be exclusive with him. But he was not ready to fully commit.
In Episode 29, Robinson decided to couple up with newcomer Mackenzie Dipman and send Boerner home.
The 24-year-old stylist anticipated her departure. She revealed in an interview with TODAY that she broke up with Robinson in an unaired scene prior to the recoupling. She said she needed a partner who was “supportive of my mental health and supportive of just me as a person” and that wasn’t Robinson.
Below, Boerner shares what happened during their breakup and why she struggled to find her perfect match in the villa. She also opens up about her friendship with OG islanders Zeta Morrison and Sereniti Springs.
Let’s start toward the beginning of your “Love Island USA” journey. You recoupled with Felipe Gomes after originally being paired with Andy Voyen. We saw you distance yourself from Felipe when it sounded like he had a game strategy. Were there any other red flags you saw in your relationship?
That was a main red flag that I saw with Felipe. I think he’s a nice person—really amazing energy. But, we were in a game at the end of the day and I wasn’t playing for the money and I wasn’t playing to stay in. I’d rather leave with my person and not make it to the end than make it to the end and not be happy (just) to stay in. So, my struggle through the experience was finding people who were on the same vibe as me (and being themselves) regardless of the situation we were put in.
After Felipe left you recoupled with Bryce Fins. Your connection seemed to fizzle suddenly over a couple episodes. When did you feel a shift in the relationship?
With Bryce, there were just some things that weren’t aired. He is also still a really good guy and stuff but I think we also just had personality differences. I know a lot of people are saying that I changed partners a lot (or I was) just here to play. But, I was changing partners a lot because I was trying to find what I was looking for.
Before Bryce left, you had a talk with him about your relationship and you wanted Zeta to be there with you. Why did you want her there for that conversation?
I just wanted her to kind of help me stay on track because I do get off track kind of easily when I have a lot on my mind. And I felt like the conversation we were having was important. I wasn’t the kind of person that spread all my business to the villa. Whenever things were happening, the only person who really knew the main details of it was Zeta. Because I like my relationships to be between me and the person mostly. I didn’t go around to the guys saying, ‘Oh, blah, blah,’ like saying your problems … Zeta was the person who knew everything. So that’s why I wanted her to sit in too because she knew my side of all the points I wanted to make.
Bryce was dumped from the island after the girls decided not to save him. Did you tell them that you didn’t plan to continue your relationship with him? Did that play a role in their decision to send him home?
I just said, "I don’t know if we’re as compatible as I wanted us to be." Just because we did have personality differences and I don’t know maybe it was just because of the situation we were in. I don’t know—maybe when there aren’t cameras rolling and there isn’t an incentive we would be more compatible. But at the time, I just didn’t think that we were as compatible as I wanted us to be. But I really appreciate him as a person. I love him as a person.
During Casa Amor, you talked to all of the new boys who came into the villa. What stood out about your connection with Chad?
I felt like it was really easy for us to be genuinely vulnerable. I didn’t feel like there was anything he was really holding back with me, which is really nice. I (had been) dating the older guys in the villa. So, I was like, let me try something different. Maybe it’ll work out. He is my age. So yeah, I was just trying something different because that’s what we were there for — to see what fits best for us. And what stood out was his goofiness for sure. I just feel like it was really easy for him to be vulnerable with me at the time. But yeah, it didn’t work out in the end.
After everyone returned from Casa Amor, you two seemed distant. Did you notice an immediate change in your connection with Chad after Casa Amor ended?
I did notice a shift in our connection … I was so open for him to have his time. You know, we were there to try out different things. And in Casa Amor I was completely fine with Chad experiencing his connection with Kat (Gibson) and then—when we got back—experiencing it with Phoebe (Siegel). But, I wanted a complete answer because after giving him time to make up his mind I felt like it was fair to have him decide between me and if he wanted to just keep playing around. Because I know what I want, so it wasn’t hard for me to know what I wanted towards the end of my time there. Also, I knew the time was ending and I was just tired of bouncing around so much. I thought I was happy with him. Honestly, I’m really happy that everything worked out the way it did.
So you think the ultimatum you gave him was ultimately for the best?
I definitely think it was for the best because I gave him a lot of time with Kat and with Phoebe. I literally let them have their space. I was just chilling. I feel like time in there also goes by really slowly. Even though we only have a certain amount of time, like on screen, it was actually a lot longer than was perceived. So, I gave him a lot of time. I just knew what I wanted, so I expected that reflected in my partner.
You were in the bottom a couple times. You wondered if America was sending you a sign. Do you think being in the bottom affected the rest of your time in the villa?
I think being in the bottom did kind of affect the rest of my time in the villa going forward because I know America was looking out for us the whole time. It kind of sparked in me (the realization) that maybe this isn’t my person because if America wasn’t supporting my relationship there’s a reason for it. Because I was 100 percent me in the beach huts and out of the beach huts. Whatever I said in the beach hut, I said to the person’s face. So I didn’t know how it could have been my end that was the reason for us being in the bottom. But also, I know it takes two to tango. So, I’m sure there was probably something that I did, too. I didn’t know how just because I was being 100 percent honest and upfront with the way I carried myself (on) the show, like regarding my partners and everyone… I think it just made me kind of realize that my person wasn’t in there.
Viewers saw you get emotional and the girls comforted you in the dressing room. You said you didn’t think your person was in the villa. When did you first come to that realization?
I have this habit where I internalize things and I was blaming myself for it not working (for) a little bit. The girls really helped me realize that I was really giving it my all and putting myself completely out there, like not playing any games, just being 100 percent myself and 100 percent vulnerable. They really helped me realize that it takes two to tango. It didn’t work out because there’s two parties involved. I (can’t) take the full blame for everything.
On the night you went home, did you have a feeling Chad was not going to pick you?
I dumped him that day, but it wasn’t aired. We had the conversation in the treehouse where I was like, "Oh, let’s be open." Then, he talked to Mackenzie and then I talked to Joel (Bierwert). Then, we talked again after that and I was like, “How do you feel about Mackenzie?” I let him speak and he was like, “Yeah, I really don’t feel a connection with her. It’s nothing compared to what we have.” And then I was like, ‘OK. I just wanted to bring you here because I wanted to break up.” And he was like, “No, but I still want to get to know you.” And I was like, “This is too much for me. I feel like it’s just too much emotionally for me and whoever I’m partnered with is supposed to be supportive of my mental health and supportive of just me as a person.” I really gave him a lot of time to figure his stuff out. The way he moved through the villa (did not) reflect the way I am. I’m very loyal. I know what I want, so it wasn’t hard for me to make my decisions where he clearly had the opposite problem. I was just like, “This is costing me too much of my mental health.” He’s still a cool person, just maybe not romantically.
Also, I noticed when I was crying in the dressing room he was saying I was being annoying. I found that very insensitive. I was feeling the buildup of all (my) emotions (and) everything I was going through. My time in the villa was so fun. (That) was my first time really crying in the villa…But yeah, earlier that day, we broke up. So, I knew he wasn’t going to pick me and I was actually thinking of volunteering to leave that night because I just knew it was my time. But I was saying if the universe wanted me to stay longer, (then I would). I just left it in the hands of the islanders.
Looking back on your “Love Island USA” experience, is there anyone you wish you would have coupled up with? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Honestly, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I don’t regret anything that I did. I feel like I did everything 100 percent genuine (and) authentic. I made every decision based off of my gut and my intuition and I feel like that was — for me — the best way to move through the villa. Even though it can be perceived as me just making out with everyone and just having fun because OK, of course, I was having a lot of fun! But, the reason I kept switching partners is because I felt like the person I was with just wasn’t a perfect fit for me at the time and I know what I want.
We also saw you build friendships in the villa. Sereniti previously spoke to TODAY about her friendship with you and Zeta. Who were you closest to before you left?
I love Sereniti and Zeta, obviously! We had a really fun trio, best friendship until Sereniti left of course. I think during Zeta’s time through the Bria (Bryant) and Timmy (Pandolfi) situation we got really close because I was going through my situation with Felipe at the same time. We were just able to lean on each other kind. That time really strengthened Zeta and I’s relationship. And everyone just loves Sereniti. She’s so funny and really smart too! I was closest with all the OGs towards the end. Honestly, I was close with all the girls but mostly the OG girls. Obviously, baby Zeta (was) my bestie through the whole show. I miss her so much.
The finale is coming up soon. Which couple do you think deserves to win and who do you think might not make it to the end?
I think that Timmy and Zeta are going to win. I really hope that they do. The couples that I don’t think will (make it) are definitely Phoebe and Joel and Chad and Mackenzie.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.