HomeTV and MoviesMark From 'Love Is Blind' Dishes on His Relationship With Jessica Now
Mark From 'Love Is Blind' Dishes on His Relationship With Jessica Now
Warning: Love Is Blind spoilers ahead.
One of the most tumultuous couples on Netflix's reality show, Love Is Blind, was, hands down, Mark Anthony Cuevas and Jessica Batten. The two seemed to hit it off in the pods—where they first met, talking for hours but never seeing each other—but when they came face to face, things started to unravel. The newly-engaged couple was whisked away on a romantic vacation, then moved in together and met each other's families. Quickly, their problems arose. Even though she claimed not to have a problem with it in the pods, Jessica was clearly turned off by her and Mark's 10-year age difference (he was 24, she 34). She also, for whatever reason, constantly had a wandering eye for Matt Barnett (a.k.a Barnett), even though he was also in his twenties and nowhere near as mature as Mark.
It was an interesting relationship: Mark seemed to be all the things Jessica wanted on paper, but she still had second thoughts. Ultimately, the two ended up not getting married. Jessica couldn't go through with it, leaving Mark visibly heartbroken.
So what is Jess and Mark's current status? Love Is Blind was filmed in 2018, and the two have kept their distance since then. They'll come together for Netflix's reunion special, which premieres on March 5. Below, Mark tells us all about his relationship with Jessica, what went wrong, and where things stand today.
Glamour: Has this just been the craziest time for you?
Mark Anthony Cuevas: For sure, for sure. It's definitely an adjustment, I would say, because it's… Don't get me wrong: I was myself through the whole experience, but now it's just kind of like everyone's seen it. So it's really cool to see the reaction of everyone either running up to me and taking a picture to social media and I'm just kind of like… It's been a lot. So I'm still adjusting a little bit.
What do you remember first responding to with Jessica when you were talking to her in the pods?
Mark: So what's kind of funny is that my first two dates were a little awkward and uncomfortable. And it was funny. I was thinking, "If the rest of my dates are going to be like this, this is not going to be pretty good." And not that they were bad girls. It was just… There was no connection. And then she was my third date, and the second I heard her voice, the second we started talking about Chicago—Where are you from?" "Chicago"—we lit up. And that was the initial connection, but throughout the pods, we connected over so many different things, like family values, religion, and everything. So there was a lot more to that whole story and everything that helped us connect, not just being from Chicago.
Obviously, there was that drama where she had feelings for Barnett and broke things off with you to try things out with him, but then ultimately ended up asking you to forgive her and try it again. What made you decide to give it another shot with her, even though she did do that?
Mark: My mantra has always been…What my mom always taught me is: If you love something, you let it go, and if it comes back, it was for you. If it doesn't, then it was never for you. And again, with the whole experience, I think it goes deeper than that whole saying, but I kept it. So when she did essentially come back and we talked it out, I told her. I was upfront, and I was like, "Hey, I can go home today and I've learned everything I needed to learn, but if you're with me, you're with me." And I think that her coming back to me initially showed me that she wanted to be with me.
Barnett on Love Is Blind.
When did you first begin to notice that maybe things were a bit off with the situation, or weren't going as well as you had hoped?
Mark: Because the experience is so intense, right, and it's so fast-forward, I think once we got to Mexico and got to spend time with each other, I think things got a little different. It's just the whole adjustment, right? You're used to this person. The thing about the pods is it takes away this pre-judgment of another person, and you really become vulnerable and be yourself. And I think we're the first people to do this, right? When we did get to finally see each other and spend time with each other, I think it was just an adjustment to everything because of how intense the whole experience was.
What did you find most frustrating about the situation when you were out of the pods?
Mark: I think the intensity and everything, and not necessarily frustrating. I don't think that I was frustrated at… I think it's more, like, we were just trying to figure it out. And I think, like any situation—whether that's finances, whether you're talking about schools, picking schools, anything— everything is amplified. So it's day-to-day problems, but it was just amplified, and I think we were just trying to figure it out.
When you guys were having those conversations, it did feel like Jessica would be like, "Well, I need X, Y, Z," and you would be like, "Well, I am X, Y, Z," and it still wasn't enough. Did you see that dynamic when you watched the series? I'm sure maybe in the moment you didn't feel it, but did you pick up on that at all when you went back and watched it?
Jessica on Love Is Blind.
Mark: The entire time, I was 100% authentic to myself. I felt what I felt. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know that might be obvious, but I was just myself. And there was no ill will towards Jessica. I was 24 at the time, and I fell hard. And when you fall hard, you fight for it, you know?
The thing with Barnett did come up again, out of the pods. It still felt like he was on her mind a little bit, low-key. What did you make of that as it was happening?
Mark: I think things get amplified. Jess and I, we communicate and stuff. And during the experience, when I look back at it and really think about it, me and Barnett were always really, really close. We were really good friends, and I think, no matter what was said and what was done, you can't control the outcome once the show comes out, but I think it really wasn't as prevalent of an issue as it was portrayed.
Have your thoughts about anything (Jessica, Barnett, or otherwise) changed now that you've gotten to watch the show?
Mark: Think about it: It's 10 days, you propose to somebody, and then next thing you know, you go on a vacation, and then you're back, and now you have to plan a wedding. And so everything, I think, was so there, and it was so real and so just, "Oh my gosh" that at the end of it… I look back at it, and it's, like, we all did what we had to do.
Do you see any warning signs or red flags about the relationship now that you've gotten to step out of it?
Mark: No. I think what this whole entire experience has taught me is how to be a better communicator. I'm a better man, a better brother, son. For me, no matter what, moving forward, this whole experience has taught me so much, and it literally is worth the price in gold. All the lessons and the things that I learned about myself. So I would never take anything back from it, and it was just something that really applies to my future relationships and friendships that I applied to really become a really good communicator and just a really good person.
Mark: Jessica and I… We went our separate ways after the whole experience and everything for a while—a year and a half. And next week is the reunion, so everybody will be able to tune in and find out where we are now. But we've talked, and we were two people, like I said, trying to figure it out with the entire experience. And she'll always have a special place in my heart because we both… This is the first time anyone's ever done this, and so, if anything, all I can say is I have to thank her because I'm, through all of that, just a better person and a better communicator through it all.
One last question for you: Did you, at any point, have a "second choice," quote, unquote? Was there another woman in the pods that you had a connection with that may not have been as strong as Jessica's but was kind of strong?
Mark: You know what's funny? And I really did try with every girl that I dated in the experience, but I think I made a lot of really good friends through that. And I think with Jess, the initial connection was what led us to be where we were at, at that point. Don't get me wrong: They're all beautiful. I've talked to all of them after the fact. They're all beautiful people, I wish them nothing but the best, but there's nothing… I think everybody ended up with whoever they were supposed to. Or didn't, per se, but everything happened the way it was supposed to.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer at Glamour. Follow him on Instagram @chris.rosa92.