Weddings appear to be in the offing for two couples who appeared on the latest edition of "Temptation Island" (one long established, one newly together). The future is less certain for former Chattanooga resident Katheryn Golden and her love interest on the show, Texan John Thurmond, despite some initial talk of marriage between the two.
Golden, 31, a medical aesthetician for a Nashville plastic surgeon and weekend makeup artist, met Thurmond during filming of the dating reality show in Maui, Hawaii, in October. Despite some intense flirtation, a few on- screen kisses and an overnight date with Thurmond, Golden reports she is still living the single life in Nashville and Thurmond is home in Fort Worth.
Now that the finale has aired, she can divulge that Thurmond is alone at home in Fort Worth. In the second part of the two-part finale that aired Tuesday night, viewers saw Thurmond break off his nearly three-year relationship with Kady Cannon Krambeer, leaving him free to pursue Golden.
The catch then? No changes in relationship status could be exposed while the series was airing, so publicly dating a new love interest was out of the question.
The catch now? The 700 miles bet-ween Texas and Tennessee — and the difference between reality and reality TV.
"We've been talking pretty much every day," Golden says of the last five months. "The thing is, he's in Texas. I'm in Nashville. I'm not leaving Tennessee. He's not going to leave Fort Worth.
"I think that once we weren't forced to be together every single day, we've developed more of a friendship. I know that there's lots of fans obsessed with the idea of me and John being together, but right now we're not together."
A reboot of a Fox series from the early 2000s, "Temptation Island" began airing the first of 11 episodes in late January on the USA Network. The first episode introduced four unmarried but committed couples looking to shake up their stalled relationships. At the end of a month apart, would they recommit with a renewed appreciation for each other or be ready to go their separate ways?
Adding intrigue were the living arrangements. The four coupled men (including Thurmond) shared a beach house with 12 single women (including Golden) who were looking for love. The four coupled women were miles away at a mountain villa with 12 single men hoping to be Mr. Right. The couples had no contact with each other during filming, but the cameras were always rolling.
The tropical paradise served up plenty of fun for the singles and the men and women whose attention they were seeking. But in each episode, each of the coupled men and women would gather at a bonfire, where host Mark L. Walberg revealed the secrets of what their significant others had been up to with the sexy singles sharing their accommodations.
Golden and Thurmond had chemistry from the start, which Krambeer noticed at an introductory mixer. Given an option to block her boyfriend from dating one of the single women, Krambeer used the block on Golden, the "single Southern hottie," as producers described her, in the first episode.
However, the block applied only to organized dates. Golden and Thurmond still found time to spend together during down time at the villa. And he doomed a date with single Hannah Rightmire when he told her he would have chosen Golden if he'd had the option.
"I love being second choice," Rightmire told him. "Ladies love that."
By episode nine, in which each of the uncoupled men and women chose a single for their overnight dates, it was clear that Thurmond and Golden felt an attraction. Likewise, Krambeer had been canoodling with a couple of the men before deciding on Johnny Alexander for her overnight date.
The two-part season finale began the face-to-face reckonings for each of the four couples. By the final bonfire, Krambeer seemed to have found a new appreciation for Thurmond, whom she had repeatedly criticized as not being manly enough.
Krambeer was seen crying on the way to the reunion, saying she knew Thurmond was going to "crush" her. Krambeer spoke first, telling Thurmond she had missed him, that he was her best friend and she had used their time apart to "self-reflect and dig deep."
"I've just realized that you're such an amazing man," she told Thurmond. "I was always trying to change you, and you are perfect just the way you are."
She described their experience as "a necessary evil" and said she had no regrets because everything happens for a reason.
Thurmond had vowed to remain faithful to Krambeer unless she strayed first, which he saw happen in a video clip at a previous bonfire.
"My mission was to show you I'm a loyal guy, and I was until I saw you got in bed with that guy Johnny," he said.
Hurt and embarrassed, he had opened up to Golden. "I had a physical and emotional connection with her," he told Krambeer.
"We looked at wedding rings and talked about marriage, but we've taken a huge step back obviously. I do love you, but I want a woman that's going to build me up and not tear me down."
USA Network is casting couples and singles for season two of “Temptation Island.” Learn more at usanetwork.com/temptationisland/casting.
Golden says she was waiting in a secured location off-screen to see how the reunion would go. She thought she knew Thurmond's intentions, but she feared his longtime girlfriend would beg him back and he'd give in. "They have three years on me," she says she was thinking. "We have three weeks."
Thurmond eventually told Krambeer he would be leaving the island alone. Obviously not with her, but also not with Golden, as he didn't want to immediately hop from one relationship to the next. Golden says she did have a brief chance to speak with him before she caught a flight home.
"We talked about how we've changed each other's lives and about him flying to Nashville and me flying to Texas just to kind of see what our lives would be like after the show," she says.
Giving him some space was necessary, she says, because there were issues he and Krambeer needed to work out, including their living arrangements. Golden says it took Krambeer "a good month or two" to move out once the estranged couple returned to Texas.
"She was sleeping in one of the extra bedrooms," Golden says. "I was really turned off by that. I let him know that this isn't going to work for me. That's bizarre — your ex still lives with you. It drove a wedge in our relationship."
Now that the series has aired its last episode, Golden says she and Thurmond are free to explore their initial chemistry.
"There's still a possibility something could come of it," she says. "I think now that he can visit, if he falls in love with Nashville, he would move."
Golden says she'll miss watching the events of the show play out each week, even though she knew how it would all end. She watched the first couple of episodes with friends, but eventually decided she preferred watching "alone with no distractions" so that she didn't have to keep her emotions in check.
"It's the end of a life-changing chapter in my life," she says. "It's very bittersweet. I'm ready for the drama of the show to be done, but I'm sad that my 'Temptation Tuesdays' are over."
Would she consider another reality show?
Maybe. But not for a while. And not a dating show. And certainly not a shoot that takes her away from her family for five weeks.
"I'm a Southern girl," she says. "I need to see my mama."
Contact Lisa Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6281.