JoJo Fletcher & Jordan Rodgers Discuss The Bachelorette And The Big D - Exclusive Interview

If there's one thing nearly everybody wants to find one day, it's true love — and it's something that many people have set out to discover on reality television. JoJo Fletcher is a believer. She searched for the love of her life on both "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," where she met her husband, Jordan Rodgers.

Now, these newlyweds have made it their mission to help others find love as the hosts of USA Network's reality dating series "The Big D." In it, contestants who are coming out on the other side of a divorce will spend 10 weeks living in a house in Costa Rica, dating other newly-divorced housemates. There's only one catch: All of their ex-spouses will be living there and doing the exact same thing.

With the help of relationship expert Dr. Jada Jackson, these couples will embark on a series of "ex-ercises" to help them heal and move forward — and in some cases, that will mean falling back in love with each other. Each week, one contestant will be eliminated, and in the end, only one successful couple will stand apart from the rest and win $50,000.

In an exclusive interview with The List, hosts Fletcher and Rodgers gave us a behind-the-scenes look at "The Big D," opened up about how their experiences on "The Bachelorette" influenced the way they hosted this reality dating show, and shared the one relationship "rule" they learned from a series about divorce that they now execute in their marriage today.

What sets The Big D apart from other reality dating shows

What was it about the premise of your new dating show, "The Big D," that interested both of you and made you want to host it?

JoJo Fletcher: There's a lot to unpack there. In general, Jordan and I met on a reality TV dating show, so we understand the premise of being able to form deep, real connections in this sort of setting — although it feels very unusual.

We also were very intrigued with the idea of divorce, because it is a subject that hasn't been talked about or touched [on] ... The reality is, no one gets married to get divorced. There's a little bit of a stigma behind it. We wanted to break that and show that you're not a failure. There's hope after heartbreak. There's a lot of growth that can come from that. You didn't fail at love.

My parents were married before they met each other. They went through a divorce. We wanted to show that side of it. But also with that, we knew that this show had all the elements to create an incredible, entertaining show. It has all the pieces that you want to watch.

Jordan Rodgers: We are reality show junkies, so we watch everything. "Married at First Sight."

Fletcher: "Love Island."

Rodgers: "Love Island." "Temptation Island" is one of our favorites. By the way, ["The Big D"] is airing after it, which we love and we're so excited about.

But for a good reality dating show, you need balance. If it's all a — excuse my French, but a s*** show — that wears on you after a while, all the drama all the time. This definitely has the drama. You got divorcees living together and dating people.

But the thing we underestimated, and the thing that we loved most about the show, is the growth that you saw internally with exes that hadn't talked in years. They finally come to a point where they can communicate, and they go, "No, we're good. Go date. I want you to be happy." You see the hope, you see the growth, you see the closure ... Maybe it was needed, which allows the opportunity for new love.

It's got a great balance of the things that'll make you laugh and go, "Oh my gosh. What am I watching?" to "I'm rooting for this person. I'm rooting for this couple." That's what we loved about it, and that's what played out as we got to host it and sit behind the scenes and watch it all unfold.

How starring on The Bachelorette changed their perspectives on dating shows

You both have experience being on the other side of a dating reality TV show through your time on "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." How did those experiences affect how you approached hosting one?

Rodgers: We noticed that it is very easy to get caught up in the craziness and production of it as a contestant on the show. I remember showing up [on] night one, stepping out of the limo, and my eyes are this big, and there's cameras everywhere. I remember the first couple times I sat down with JoJo — afterward, I'm like, "Who was that guy? I don't even know who I [am] — I'm not acting like myself."

It's weird. Dating on reality shows is weird. Us being able to sit back and see that unfold, and on camera and off camera, talk to some of these contestants and ease some of the concerns or give our own insight of, "We were there. I sat in that chair. I was overwhelmed. I didn't know if I had feelings for her or I just thought it was a cool date because we were on a yacht in Uruguay" ... Where are those real feelings? Helping them dig through that and find growth and find connections was fun.

Fletcher: It's such a unique situation to be in because you are taken out of your life. You have no cell phone, you don't have access to your emails, you have no connection with the outside world — no friends, no families — and you're put in this situation to focus on your feelings and your emotions. There's never any time in your life when you can just focus on that. For us, that was what helped us create and form these strong connections and relationships on ["The Bachelorette"].

But on ["The Big D"], this is a unique opportunity for them to do a lot of self-growth, a lot of self-realization, to dig into figuring out, "Why am I holding onto all this baggage from my past? Why are me and my ex not able to move forward? What are those real reasons?" You see them actually start to have those conversations.

[It] doesn't always start out in a healthy way, but the great thing is Dr. Jada [Jackson]. You'll see her on our show. She was our therapist on the show. She was such an incredible resource for these ex-couples, not only for self-growth but also to be able to find that closure that a lot of these people needed in order to move into a healthier, better relationship.

Why they believe every reality show contestant should have access to a mental health counselor

How did having a licensed mental health counselor and a relationship expert like Dr. Jada Jackson on "The Big D" affect the reality dating show experience? Do you feel like it would have changed your own experiences on "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette"?

Fletcher: I would've loved it.

Rodgers: Oh, my God.

Fletcher: I hope that this is something that people start to do in all reality TV, whether that's having a therapist or a licensed healthcare professional on camera. Maybe it's having that resource after the fact, because it's a real test. It's a real emotional rollercoaster that you go through.

For our ex-couples on the show, it was a great resource, because that's a reason why they were all struggling with moving on in life. Whether that was rekindling a relationship, finding something new, not finding what they were looking for ... maybe they were holding onto baggage or past trauma that wasn't allowing them to be their best self. Having that [therapist there], you realize how much of a great resource that is.

Rodgers: Every reality show should have a resource like that on camera or off camera, like JoJo said. Reality shows are only getting crazier — you're marrying people before you ever see them. We're pushing the envelope of reality shows, like putting divorced couples in the same house and dating people. That's crazy. But having the resources for them to find help and have an unbiased person to bounce ideas off of, to bounce their feelings off of ... That's actually why some of these couples were successful at finding the love — which they will — and/or finding closure, getting the healing that they needed, and moving on with their life.

The relationship rule they learned from The Big D's on-set expert, Dr. Jada Jackson

Were there any important takeaways that you learned from Dr. Jada Jackson that even couples in happy relationships could benefit from hearing?

Rodgers: Like us.

Fletcher: Yes. We have the "take five rule" that we learned from Dr. Jada Jackson.

The reality of life and relationships is that no relationship is perfect, as great a couple as you are. Nothing's perfect. You're always going to continue to grow. You're going to continue to learn. You're going to continue to figure things out about each other that maybe you're like, "Oh, I don't like that." It's about how you work through it, and that's something that you can always improve upon — always, always, always.

One thing that Dr. Jada told us — I can't remember if it was in one of our holding rooms — was "Take five. Take a beat." If you're ever in an argument or a disagreement, and you're feeling like it's not going in the direction of resolution in a healthy way, you've got to take five.

You both got to, "All right. We're going to take five. We're going to walk away from this. We're getting a little elevated. Take five." Come back to the conversation and realize that you're coming back for a better conversation.

Rodgers: The green room for us was where we get makeup, where we got our wardrobe, but it was also our therapy session.

Fletcher: With Dr. Jada.

Rodgers: We would sit in there waiting, as they're waiting for us — for hours, sometimes. Middle of the night, waiting on a night shoot — we're talking to Dr. Jada.

The "take five" seems so simple, but in our relationship, we realized that the way we wanted to handle conflict was different. One of us wanted to talk it out, and the other wanted to move on, but when this one wants to just move on, this one thinks, "Well, you're dismissing it now," so you're missing each other. Dr. Jada was like, "The more you miss each other and communicate wrong, the more it escalates."

Sometimes you go, "Wait. Okay, let's take a break." You step away, come back to it now that we've de-escalated, and figure out where the communication was going wrong. For us, I was like, "Wait a minute. Yeah!"

Fletcher: Even saying, "We're going to take five," it was breaking that ice. It was like, "We both get it now. Let's take a minute, and let's come back."

Rodgers: Yes. De-escalate it, and we realize we were missing each other. "Let's hold on."

That's such a helpful rule to know, because I feel like five minutes gives you time to come back with a different mindset to look at it differently and be able to work together on it.

Rodgers: You say something you maybe didn't want to say, and before it escalates too far ... That's relationships. It's never perfect, but if you can find something, that little nugget that re-centers you or brings you back ...

Fletcher: It resets you. Yes.

How working with divorcees changed their perspectives on relationships

You two were entering into your own marriage as you were hosting "The Big D." Did your time hosting the series leave you walking away with any new perspective on relationships?

Fletcher: That marriage isn't going to be easy. We're not naive to think that because we've been together for seven years now. We had a long engagement before we got married, so we went through a lot of things before we actually got married.

But there's continued work. There's always going to be continued self-improvement and compromise and things that you constantly are going to have to be working [on] as a team. Never lose sight of your team. At the end of the day, you guys are not against each other.

It's seeing other relationships that didn't work, seeing why they didn't work, and then also seeing these ex-divorcees realize that maybe the thing that broke them, they actually could have worked through. There's these moments where they're like, "Man, if we would've just done this." You never know what's going to happen there.

Rodgers: I actually got chills, because that happened many times with couples that were like [that]. Because you can come on the show, and maybe you want to get back with your ex. Maybe one does and one doesn't. Maybe you are ready to be single and find new love. Either way, it's great. But there were multiple couples that went ...

Fletcher: "Wait a second."

Rodgers: "This wasn't a deal breaker; we just never addressed it the right way," or, "We never went at it this way. We never talked about x, y, and z." That was interesting.

Fletcher: I got chills again thinking about it.

Rodgers: Once that got out of the way, it's like, "Wait a minute."

Fletcher: You look at things a whole lot differently.

Rodgers: "Maybe this could work again."

Fletcher: "Or not."

An honest look at what it's like to star on a reality dating show

As you witnessed what the divorcees were going through on "The Big D," were there any emotionally challenging moments that came up for either of you — considering you both know what it's like to be dating on TV and to experience those emotions on camera?

Rodgers: Maybe not challenging, but [what] was such a cool moment of opportunity for me was ... not everybody on the show volunteered or sought it out. Sometimes, one of the partners wanted to do this for one reason or another, and the other partner — maybe it wasn't their first choice, maybe going on a TV show wasn't what they wanted to do, but they found themselves here.

One of the ex-husbands was starting to form a new connection, but he didn't want to do TV. He never wanted to be on a reality show, so he was overwhelmed by everything — the cameras, whether these feelings were real, or if he was in a bubble and feeling things that maybe weren't real.

I sat back and go, "I was there. I was there with JoJo where I was like, 'I think I feel this way about her, but do I really, or is it just because I'm doing all these crazy cool dates?'" I got a chance to go talk to him off-camera and share that with him. I was like, "I've been there, and here's what I did to sit down and go through some of those feelings and realize that they were real, and that there was an opportunity to find true love here on a crazy reality show." That was a moment I was watching behind the scenes going, "I've been him."

Fletcher: There's a lot of moments that we see from afar and we're like, "I've been there." Obviously, we've never been divorced, so we can't say that we can relate on that level, but ... I have some memories of moments with individual girls. There was one — I won't give away too much — but you start to get connected to these people and their stories, and you start to learn a lot about them as individuals. There was one individual who you start rooting for because you want this person to find her voice. It was something that she never had for so long. It was something that I was like, "You have that in you."

Before I went onto "The Bachelor," from previous relationships, I had felt like I had lost my voice a little bit and that I wasn't that strong, independent woman that I always wanted to be. I had let past relationships break me down little by little. Coming off of the show and finding a wonderful, amazing relationship was what I had always wanted. You get your voice back. You get your independence back.

There was one girl that, throughout our show, you see have this self-evolution of finding her voice again. I just got chills again. It's really cool, and you're rooting for them.

The reality show that JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers would love to star on next

"The Big D" isn't the first reality show that you've hosted together. You have also hosted "Cash Pad" and "Battle of the Fittest Couples." Is there any other type of reality TV show that you two would love to tackle together in the future?

Rodgers: Actually, we say this all the time.

Fletcher: A competition one. We're so competitive.

Rodgers: We're so competitive with each other that we are like, "We would crush one of those shows where there's the challenges or whatever it is." Every now and then, we're like, "We need to go on something like that and let that competitive juice out," because what's the game board we always play? [Turns to JoJo] Is it Cranium?

Fletcher: All the games.

Rodgers: Yes. We don't lose at board games. When it's game night and all the friends are around — we don't lose.

Fletcher: We have done three shows together, and what we've realized is that it's something that we love doing together. It's something that we've bonded over. We look back on all these different shows, and we're like, "That was so fun." We have all these memories. It's a cool feeling to realize that you can work together, live together, be married, and still ...

Rodgers: Have fun.

Fletcher: And not have any issues.

What advice do you have for other couples who would love to work together?

Rodgers: Renovate a house.

Fletcher: Test yourself.

Rodgers: Throw yourself in the fire. That's what we did. It was what JoJo did. As soon as ["The Bachelorette"] was done, we went right into renovating a house. I had no clue what was going on. She's the boss. You want to learn a lot about a relationship and see if you can tackle anything? Do something hard.

Fletcher: You know what helps too? It sounds corny, but when your partner is your best friend, and you have that playful energy, and you don't take things too seriously ... We have our moments where we get stressed. I'm not going to lie and say that we don't — we 100% do.

But throughout ["The Big D"], there were late nights reading our scripts and making sure we're remembering all our lines. It'd be two in the morning — we would start breaking out laughing, like cry-laughing, because we're so delirious. Those are some of the greatest memories that we have with each other, dying laughing in delirium, saying these lines. It's great. If you have a partner that you can actually have fun with, that definitely helps.

"The Big D" premieres Wednesday, June 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.

This interview has been edited for clarity.