Love Island Favorites Deb And Jesse On The Future, Relatability, And More - Exclusive Interview

Perhaps what's even more fun than watching a reality dating show unfold is picking fan favorites. There's always the virgin, the villain, the frontrunner, and the underdog, but sometimes, there's just that one couple that you can't help but root for. "Love Island" USA Season 4 saw some amazing couples — winners Zeta Morrison and Timmy Pandolfi were solid from day one, runners-up Sydney Paight and Isaiah Campbell proved that ups and downs don't have to define a relationship, and Andy Voyen and Mady McLanahan made it clear that listening to your heart (and leaving the island to do so) is a risk worth taking. While all these couples and more made our hearts swoon, we couldn't help but root for Deb Chubb and Jesse Bray, the underdog couple that — despite hesitation on Deb's part for a second there — made it all the way to the finale.

Season 4 had some amazing cast members — Courtney Boerner couldn't have been nicer, Zeta couldn't have been more genuine, and Deb couldn't have been more relatable. Her bold personality and unapologetic self won viewers over very quickly, and her connection with Jesse made us that much more excited to see where the relationship would take her. For his part, Jesse was humble, sweet, and certainly had eyes for Deb (he even told us that she's out of his league). While this now-exclusive couple didn't take home the grand prize of $100,000, they left the villa at the end of the season with life lessons, friends, and of course, a relationship with one another. After the season finale, we sat down with Deb and Jesse to get all the info, and they didn't hold back.

The couple remember the finale

Take me back to the finale moment. You're all standing there with Sarah Hyland, looking gorgeous, having become exclusive. What was going through your heads at that very moment?

Jesse Bray: Well, the buildup — we got ready in these nice suits, me, Isaiah [Campbell], and Timmy [Pandolfi], and the girls went and got new dresses. I got my hair rebraided, and that felt really good. We didn't know what was going to happen at this summer ball. We got the text message, "Summer ball, 2022." We literally got all dressed up and had a good time, and we partied hard.

Deb Chubb: It was a lot of fun. Standing up there was nerve-wracking, but I didn't care about winning. I was so happy for whoever won, whether it was us, or Sydney [Paight] and Isaiah, Zeta [Morrison] and Timmy. I was ecstatic to even be a part of the finale. The fact that people recognized me and I was even there at that point was crazy. To have made it through so many hurdles with Jesse — genuinely, the whole time, I forgot that there was a prize. I was like, "Wait, somebody's going to win money?"

Deb reflects on facing her fears and committing to her connection with Jesse

As you said, there's been hurdles. The journey has seen both of you waver. Deb, you were questioning your connection pretty soon into the finale. What ultimately made you realize that Jesse was the one and vice versa?

Deb: It was family day. I had been in my head, had a bunch of anxieties, and feeling pressure from the other islanders. I didn't want Jesse to have to feel that pressure. I was projecting how I was feeling onto him, trying to be like, "You don't have to feel this way," but we could have communicated about it better. But once it was family day, and I saw his mom and grandma, and our families got to meet and how happy and proud all of them were for us, and how much love that Jess' mom and grandma had for him, it was so cute. I was sitting there like, "I really don't want to lose this. I need to fix this."

I talked to him the next day and basically told him, "I'm so sorry, I was in my head. I was overthinking. You're so perfect." I was trying to find something wrong when I should face my fears and accept the fact that I have a genuinely great guy in front of me. When it got to our final date, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to put my big girl pants on. I'm going to swallow my pride." Hopefully, he would take me back in a sense, or want to take that step.

I explained to him that I really did want to be exclusive. I wanted to take things to the next step. It's important to leave the villa having had that conversation and having a mutual understanding in that way. I told him I want to be exclusive. I was like, "Okay, but you're still going to have to ask me to be your girlfriend again." I was hinting at him. But he did, which I'm very happy about. It all worked out.

It sounds like such a unique experience because you're in this sheltered environment — no phones, no access to the outside world. I would imagine that it's very easy to get in your head or overthink. 

Deb: It really is. No one has phones or anything, so all you can do is talk to everyone. You're telling everyone something like, "Yeah, maybe I did see that." I'm like, "I have been having ..." They're confirming things or putting in their opinions, and it's so much to process. Then you have behind-the-scenes people trying to encourage you and help you and give you advice. I'm an overthinker as it is. It was being in a confined space with nothing but your thoughts.

Jesse: They did a good job. Some days, we were able to decompress and relax, and [it] felt like vacation. It was so sweet, and everybody treated us with so much respect. I want to give a shout-out to everybody that helped us throughout this process.

It's an 'honor' for the couple to be supported by viewers

You came in third and didn't win the cash prize, but it seems like you won in your own way. Is that fair to say?

Deb: We definitely won.

Jesse: Yeah, I think so.

Deb: I don't even care about the money.

Jesse: I wanted my [girl]. That's all I needed.

Deb: That's what I went there for. I gained so much more. I got a boyfriend, I grew with myself, I'm more comfortable talking about my feelings — ew, gross. It had been so much more than the money. [It was] the whole thing itself.

Jesse: Yes. We really do respect Timmy and Zeta, and we'd seen it from the beginning how that relationship was building. We are all doing it. Syd and Zay as well, man — they're so precious. Me and Deb, we have our own thing. We're so similar to each other, and our brains connect, so we always knew what we were doing.

Something I loved watching your journey as well — Deb, you remained so relatable throughout the season.

Deb: Thank you.

You've been so honest. What is it like now, knowing that you have so many fans and people rooting for your relationship?

Jesse: It's an honor to be in this position. In the real world, you wouldn't expect to meet a girl like this, so I'm thankful to have walked into the villa and met a girl like this. She's way out of my league, man.

Deb: Shut up.

Jesse: She's way out of my league. But everybody that's supporting us, that means the world to me. That motivates me as a person to keep moving forward and being myself, because I think that's what makes us, us — the authenticity.

Deb: It's been really cool, exciting, and crazy to see. People would come into the villa, the bombshells and stuff, and be like, "Oh, my gosh, we love you." I'd be like, "How do you know me?" I forgot that people were watching. To see so many people supporting us validates even more that we do have something good going, and people are rooting for us. It's a really cool thing. [I'm] very thankful for it.

Deb and Jesse dish about what's next for them

Walk me through what comes next for you both — plans? Next steps in your relationship? You're now out in the real world, so what does life look like moving forward?

Jesse: What we thrived on inside the villa was going at our own pace. After this, we're going to unpack, see our families, and take some time to ourselves to recollect and think about everything we've been through. We know what we have, and my lease is up in Houston at the end of September. We'll be a lot closer. I'll be moving to Ventura, which is about an hour and 20 from Redondo, where she stays right now. I think everything will work out just fine. We're going to continue to take it day by day.

That's great. I was going to ask about location, because that's always something that comes up once you have — you've been together for six weeks? It's such a crash course in being in a relationship.

Deb: It really is. I feel like where we are is where you get after a year of dating somebody, because we're so emotionally connected.

What kind of dates or things do you want to do now that you're released into the world?

Deb: I'm actually most excited to Netflix and chill. We'll go to dinners and stuff, and go to the movies, but to watch a movie together in bed, we never got to do that — normal boyfriend-girlfriend stuff.

What did they learn from their time on Love Island?

What would you say your biggest takeaway from the show was or what you learned most about yourself?

Jesse: My biggest takeaway coming into the villa ... It's so hard to open up. I had a conversation with Tim — you've got to live life with no regrets. That helped me throughout this process and [let me] literally live in the moment and cherish every moment, because it was so special. Being a part of something this big means the world to me. I want to continue that same mentality outside the villa — live life with no regrets.

Deb: Mine is to stay true to yourself and be you, and don't let anybody dull your light. I always struggled that people wouldn't take me seriously enough, or I'd never find somebody who would understand my goofiness. [My takeaway] was to be yourself, because if I acted any other way, I wouldn't have met Jesse, and I probably wouldn't have been as relatable. That's the biggest thing.

We've got the reunion coming up. Is there anyone you're particularly interested in seeing — or not seeing, which is maybe the juicier question to ask?

Deb: I'm excited to see Mady [McLanahan]. I miss her.

She and Andy [Voyen] were so sweet together.

Deb: I know. What about you?

Jesse: I'm excited to see everybody, man. I developed such a good relationship with all the bros. We got a bros trip coming up, so we are already about to kick it outside of this, and it's going to be nice to see them all.

"Love Island" Season 4 concluded on August 28. The reunion episode will drop on September 1 at 9 p.m./6 p.m. ET/PT.

This interview was edited for clarity.