It was the twist no one saw coming. And not just because of the pod walls.
Love Is Blind fans were left stunned when it was revealed in season five that two of the contestants had previously dated: Uche Okohora and Lydia Velez Gonzalez. Someone who was left even more surprised than the audience, however, was Aaliyah Cosby, Uche's no. 1 connection and Lydia's BFF.
The revelation altered the Netflix reality dating series moving forward, with Aaliyah making the shocking decision to exit the pods off-camera, just as Uche was getting ready to propose.
"Making the decision to leave, I feel like it was the best thing for me," Aaliyah explained to E! News in an exclusive interview. "It was really hard because I had a lot of love for him. At the moment, I was just like, 'Man, I don't feel like this is the type of situation that I would want going into an engagement.'"
Though she didn't tell a blindsided Uche that she was leaving the experiment before he even had a chance to get down on one knee, the two finally met IRL in episode seven.
"I was hopeful we could continue," Aaliyah explained of her mindset heading into their sit-down. "And I think we both tried."
Ultimately, Uche chose not to give Aaliyah a second chance, a decision she understood.
"It just didn't end up working out and I think it was for the best," the ICU travel nurse said. "We're both in a very good place, individually, knowing how the other felt and there's that mutual respect and understanding now. I wish him the best and I feel like he wishes me the best as well. We're in a decent place."
But what about her fractured friendship with Lydia, the woman who was guiding her throughout her relationship with Uche? During her conversation with Uche, Aaliyah explained that she had a confrontation with Lydia, one that was not shown to viewers, that factored into her decision to initially leave.
Describing their un-aired interaction as a "a very emotional conversation," Aaliyah clarified, "It wasn't really an argument or anything."
So what did the two women discuss?
"The conversation we had, it was revealing to where she stood and where I stood," Aaliyah recalled. "Ultimately me coming to a point where I was like, 'You know what, I'm just not comfortable with this.'"
While the initial revelation about Uche and Lydia's past was "shocking," after having some time to reflect on the situation, Aaliyah said she has a new perspective.
"I've been able to step outside myself and I've just chosen to extend them grace in everything because they had a history prior to this that I was not a part of," she explained. "And I think love is a very complex emotion and we all do things out of love sometimes that we don't even understand ourselves. We just need to extend people grace and when they are ready to speak on their story, I'm sure they will."
As for Aaliyah, she's focusing on the future, after admitting it "took me a little bit of time to find my footing" after her Love Is Blind journey ended in such dramatic fashion.
"I had to get to a place where I could focus on loving myself again," the 29-year-old said. "When you're hurt and you feel like, 'Okay, this is going to be the ending,' and then that doesn't happen, it is a little devastating emotionally."
Still, Aaliyah is confident she's readier than ever to find love.
"But I really feel like I came out of it stronger," Aaliyah shared. "I trusted myself more coming out of it and I am leading with intuition and discernment following the show, and it's been much better for me. I was glad I was able to hold onto those takeaways, to listen to my intuition and pay attention to red flags and things that just don't add up. It's okay to love someone and then it ultimately not be your person."
Love Is Blind is streaming on Netflix.