Tia Booth Sets the Record Straight About Her History with 'The Bachelorette' 's Colton Underwood

"If it had been different timing, it could have been something," Bachelor alum Tia Booth tells PEOPLE

Bachelor Nation gets smaller every day.

On this week’s episode of The Bachelorette, the “awkward” connection between current contestant Colton Underwood and former Bachelor contestant Tia Booth is revealed.

Booth, along with several other former contestants from Arie Luyendyk Jr.‘s season of The Bachelor, visits Becca Kufrin during one of her dates — and now, she’s opening up about her relationship history with Underwood. (Check out PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek at their reunion in the clip above.)

“We started talking before my season started airing,” says Booth, who has stayed close friends with Kufrin since the show. “Colton was in the casting process for The Bachelorette, and he followed me on Instagram.”

Continues Booth: “I DM’d him first and within a few days he told me he had applied to be on The Bachelorette. But he hadn’t gotten the final call so we thought, we get along well, we might as well just keep talking and doing whatever this is. The whole time I kept thinking, ‘What are the odds that he would get on the show?’ ”

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Paul Hebert/ABC; Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Booth and pro football player Underwood, who also dated Olympian Aly Raisman, met up in Los Angeles for a date, but a few weeks later, he learned that he had been selected to be a contestant.

Once he found out, “things came to a halt,” says Booth. “I knew he needed to do what he needed to do.”

RELATED VIDEO: Aly Raisman’s Ex-Boyfriend Is Competing for Becca Kufrin’s Heart on The Bachelorette

Booth tried to tell Kufrin about the relationship at the live After the Final Rose taping in March, but wasn’t able to do so.

“I just wanted to make sure they would give each other a chance,” she says. “I didn’t want Becca to see our friendship as the most important thing and not give him that chance.”

However, Booth admits that despite the nerves about seeing Underwood in person again, “it would have been more complicated if we were an exclusive couple. That was never a thing. We knew logistically it wasn’t really going to work.”

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And at the end of the day, “he’s such a great guy,” says Booth of Underwood. “I completely respect him. If it had been different timing, it could have been something. But everything happens for a reason!”

The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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