Michelle Young Says She Never 'Foresaw' Breakup with Nayte Olukoya in First Interview Since Split

Former Bachelorette couple Michelle Young and Nayte Olukoya announced that they were parting ways in June

Michelle Young, Nayte Olukoya
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty

Michelle Young is looking back at her breakup with former fiancé Nayte Olukoya.

The former lead of The Bachelorette addressed the split for the first time on the latest episode of The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast Tuesday, after she and Olukoya announced they had ended their engagement in June.

"I will say that this is not something that I foresaw and I'll leave it there," Young, 29, told hosts Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti, adding that she was leaning on her family and friends during this time.

Young and Olukoya, 27, got engaged at the end of The Bachelorette's 18th season, which finished airing in December 2021 — and even received a surprise $200,00 down payment for a home from the series. At the time, Olukoya planned to move from Austin to Young's home state of Minnesota.

When asked about how the money will be used in the wake of the breakup, Young noted that the "money was gifted to both of us" and said it's still "going to be decided how that's going to be utilized, going forward."

Michelle Young, Nayte Olukoya
Jon Kopaloff/Getty

"I haven't officially decided, but I have started putting down some different things in place to give back, to build an organization, or just promote the change that I've been talking about," the fifth grade teacher said. "I think that'd be something that I'd feel really good about."

Through tears, Young added that she had been "crying on the phone with one of the producers," asking if she could give the money to "somebody else."

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"I know that's been the million dollar question, no pun intended," she said. "Yeah, it's been a lot."

Young and Olukoya made history as the first couple of color to get engaged on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette in the franchise's near 20-year run. Six months later, the pair publicly announced the end of their engagement in separate Instagram Stories on June 17, with Young noting at the time that having her relationship in the public eye "has not been easy."

Craig Sjodin/ABC

Olukoya took to Instagram once again on June 27 to say he didn't cheat on Young before they called it quits. In a since-expired Instagram Q&A, Olukoya noted that "not every breakup needs to have someone to blame."

"Yes, the pressures were insane for both of us. We tried. It didn't work," he wrote at the time. "We're sad about it. We all grieve differently."

When the pair initially got engaged at the end of The Bachelorette's season, Young told PEOPLE she was certain that Olukoya was "her person."

"I fall more in love every day," Young said in December. "I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family with a healthy marriage and I thought, I'm not going to give up until I have that. He's my person. And I didn't know I could love at this level."

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