Love Island USA's Valerie Calls Out Jesse For Being Insincere - Exclusive

From "Love Is Blind" to "The Ultimatum," reality dating shows have come a long way since the early days of "The Bachelor," and there aren't any indications that programming is slowing down. Of course, you can't mention reality dating shows without including the global hit, "Love Island." On the surface, it's a pretty simple concept — hopeful singles hit the "island" (or villa) and couple up — but with new additions and exits stemming from the original cast and its add-ons, drama, upset, and betrayal are bound to take shape. There's nothing messier than the wide spectrum of human emotion — especially when love is involved — and while there are far fewer extravagant dates and fantasy suites featured on "Love Island" than other reality dating shows, the franchise has become a smash success.

While many of us know "Love Island" for its U.S., U.K., and Australia seasons, there's also "Love Island" Germany, an upcoming season in Greece, and other variations. With such a growing franchise, it's no wonder that stars are being made of former competitors. Valerie Bragg was the first person to leave the villa during Season 4 of "Love Island" U.S., but she made an incredible mark — leaving initial love interest Jesse Bray eating his words. We sat down with Bragg for an exclusive interview after she left the island, and she told us exactly what she thinks about Bray now that she's left the show.

Valerie was looking for a connection, not to be led on by someone

When Valerie Bragg first interacted with Jesse Bray during the current season of "Love Island" U.S., she was taken by his impression of her; she wanted to be with someone who knew what they wanted, and Bray seemed like the right fit. After she chose Bray, contestant Deb Chubb was left on her own — a love triangle was in the works, and things only got more complicated from there. As Bragg told us, she was under the impression that everything between her and Bray was going well until she realized that he was talking to Chubb in the same flirtatious ways he was with Bragg herself. Ultimately, Bray chose Chubb, and Bragg let him, with the conflicted leading man telling Bragg that he was sorry for leading her on.

"With the whole Jesse thing, I don't know if he meant [his apology], honestly. I feel like a part of him does, maybe, because he knows what he did to me. But then again, he knows what he did to me. It's like, 'Do you really mean that, or are you just saying that now that you know that I'm leaving mainly because of you?'" Bragg said.

Valerie doesn't buy Jesse's apology

When we asked if she thought Jesse Bray was sincere when he said — in a confessional — that he was sad to see her go, Valerie Bragg told us, "I don't think he really means that. I'm sure he has to show some sort of empathy or something, but if he had been honest from the jump, I wouldn't have been in the position that I was in."

In her perspective, Bragg said, Bray should've been up front with her from the very beginning, expressing his desire to pursue relationships and connections with other people. "At least [he could have told] me, 'Hey, just so you know, I'm going more for Deb right now; I would like you to pursue other guys in the Villa,' rather than making it seem like he was very much interested in me," Bragg said. Instead, Bray was "cuddling me at night and playing with my mind."

"I thought we had something. But in reality, he was telling other people something else," the "Love Island" star confessed.

"Love Island" USA Season 4 drops new episodes Tuesdays through Sundays on NBC's Peacock, with recap episodes releasing on Saturdays.