On the May 6 episode of The Challenge: Total Madness, Jenna Compono nearly left the show after fighting with her boyfriend (now fiance) — fellow Challenge star, Zach Nichols — over video chat. Zach was not happy about something he saw in Jenna’s Instagram Direct Messages from when they were broken up two years ago, and he began avoiding Jenna’s phone calls. It wasn’t until she spoke to a friend that she found out why he was so angry with her.
“He was only dodging my calls because he knows how this works and he knows that our drama will be aired, so he was trying to save me from that,” Jenna explained to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “I’m usually the only one who gets affected by it when people watch it. But I needed to figure out what was going on right then and there, so I kept calling and calling. That’s when the drama happened, which they aired, and I could have easily avoided if I just chilled out for a second.”
Zach asked Jenna to leave the show and come home so they could talk things out off-camera, and although she considered doing so at first, she eventually decided to stay. “Me and Zach go back and forth with this drama, and we usually get over it, but in the moment, it’s so magnified,” Jenna said. “People need to realize — I’m not a drama person, so they obviously magnify my relationship drama. I just decided to stay because I feel like I’ve been through this so many times and I wanted to stay for me. I wanted to be there. It’s just a really good chance that not many people get and I was really lucky to be part of it.”
Of course, it helped that one of Jenna’s closest friends, Nany Gonzalez, was also on the show, so she was able to get some words of wisdom. “Nany’s the type of person who tells me how it is, and I’m happy I did have her there,” Jenna admitted. “Realistically, I think if she wasn’t there, and no one was talking me into staying, I probably would’ve left right then and there. But she knows me, and she was like — you’re going to regret this as soon as you decide to leave. And she was right.”
On whether Nany’s reaction to the drama affected their friendship at all: Nany has known Zach longer than I have, so she knows how he works. It didn’t affect me and Nany’s relationship at all. She knows how Zach is and how he has anxiety and he can’t really help it. She understands that part. She told me, ‘You’re going to be hurting more if you leave because of what everyone’s going to say,’ because [she knows] I take that stuff to heart.
On whether she ever found out what Zach found in her DMs that made him so mad: I didn’t know what Zach was talking about. He said I answered DMs and this and that. If I did — it was just pure, harmless. Probably, like, ‘Oh, thank you so much.’ I don’t know. I still don’t know to this day.
On whether the drama affected how she was in the game: I could never just throw a challenge. I didn’t quit, even though I said I would. I always just try my hardest. I never give it up to anyone. It’s just not in me. As much as I say I want to go home, I say so many things that I don’t do. It’s just me venting at that point.
On whether she & Zach would ever do the show separately again: We thought doing it separately would be better because we’re both more focused on the game that way. I think Zach takes it a lot harder when I’m away. He has really bad anxiety and not talking to me stresses him out. Do I see one of us going on without the other right now? Probably not, but I don’t know. He probably has a better chance of winning if he’s on by himself, but if he wants to keep the relationship, we’d probably have to go on together.
On what she wants to make sure people about her relationship with Zach: We’re in a stressful environment and everyone’s judging our relationship off a ten minute phone call. I know we had other drama too, but we don’t have that at home! We separate The Challenge and real life. We only get one phone call a week for ten minutes. If we’re fighting and we don’t finish the phone call, I have to wait until the next week to continue that fight. I know how it is to be there, I know how it is to be at home, and it just all sucks. It’s stressful. But is this a real life situation that we deal with every day? No. Absolutely not.