In the fourth and final season of Teen Mom viewers were finally introduced to Ryan Edwards’ girlfriend of more than a year now, Dalis Connell. Although her and Ryan’s relationship was a major part of Maci Bookout’s story line this season, Dalis got very little screen time, and as a result, she still remains a bit of a mystery to Teen Mom viewers.
We profiled Dalis way back in August of 2011, just after she and Ryan made their relationship public, so we know this now 20-year-old sometimes blonde, sometimes brunette beauty is a full-time college student and scholarship track star at Tennessee Tech University where she is pursuing her degree in Pre-Physical Therapy and Personal Training. In addition to being a college student and athlete, Dalis also works as a waitress and part-time model, all while maintaining her relationship with Ryan.
But there are still many unanswered questions surrounding this workout-obsessed young woman who seems to have had quite the maturing effect on Ryan Edwards with their relatively lengthy (and stable) relationship, not to mention winning the adoration of the family’s real star, Bentley. She received some backlash recently after a scene on Teen Mom where she said “good” after Maci told Ryan “I’m not talking to you anymore” after an argument in front of Dalis and Bentley.
Thankfully, Dalis has agreed to tackle some of these unanswered questions for us, just in time for part two of the Teen Mom Season 4 Finale Special with Dr. Drew airing Tuesday night, during which she confronts Maci Bookout on camera for the first time! (Watch an excerpt of their heated exchange in a preview clip here!)
STARCASM: When you first met Ryan, did you know he was on a reality show?
DALIS: When I first met him and started talking to him I had no idea he was “Ryan from Teen Mom.” (haha) We exchanged numbers and planned on hanging out the next night, then one of my girlfriends saw us talking and grabbed me afterwards and was freaking out. I never actually watched Teen Mom or 16 & Pregnant, except for maybe a couple episodes, so I had no idea what to expect. After we hung out that next night, we hit it off, and thats how all this started!
How long after you began dating Ryan did you first get to meet Bentley?
We had probably been dating around a month or so.
Is Bentley really as easy-going (and awesome) as he seems on TV?
Yes! He is absolutely hilarious and precious. Maci & Ryan have raised an amazingly SMART and sweet child.
From what we saw this season on Teen Mom, it appeared that Maci liked you (albeit reluctantly) after meeting you at the beach. Did you get that impression early on, and was the feeling mutual?
I had no idea how she felt about me in the beginning, but yeah, I’ve always liked her.
When (and why) did things begin to change between you and Maci?
For a few months it just got rocky because of some things she had said to Ryan, AND what I had “heard” she had said to a couple of our mutual friends about me. I didn’t know where all the negative comments were coming from, so it frustrated me. It finally got to a point where Maci AND I both new we needed to talk about it and air it all out, which we did, and found out we were both hearing things from “friends” which weren’t true. Ever since then we have been getting along!
So what’s the real deal with the infamous text message from Maci about things potentially being better between her and Ryan if you weren’t in the picture?
It’s obviously not a big deal at all, especially any more, but it was just a text she sent to Ryan before we went to the beach about how he shouldn’t bring me and how he would have a better time with her.
I have to say that I was a little surprised watching the preview clip at the amount of tension between you and Maci because it seems she has only had nice things to say about you recently, and vice versa. How long ago was the reunion show taped and has your relationship with Maci gotten better (or worse) since?
The reunion show was filmed a little over 5 months ago and it’s gotten a ton better. There’s no drama and we get along fine now. We actually text about the show sometimes. She has definitely helped me a lot with telling me not to listen or pay attention to the haters. She said there’s no way these people actually know you so what they say shouldnt get to you. It’s always in the back of my mind when I read some of the crazy things people send me.
Maci has a devout fan base online, and you were caught in their crosshairs after the now infamous “good” comment at the conclusion of Ryan and Maci’s argument over Bentley’s third birthday party. Can you talk a little bit about the whole Bentley birthday debacle?
I don’t really want to comment on their fight because of course they are going to have disagreements, but they are doing a great job. I absolutely HATE when Ryan yells at Maci, especially in front of Bentley. I really do. My parents are divorced and I had to go through all of that and it really does hurt a child to see their parents fighting. Maci did do the right thing when she was trying to shut the door. My “good” comment wasn’t directed towards Maci. It was towards Ryan because he already said he wasn’t going to argue with her in front of Bentley, but of course Ryan has a bit of a temper and it all came out. I was talking to Ryan when I said “good” and it was a good like “glad the argument is done,” but editing made it look otherwise.
And of course the big question that has followed Maci since her episode of 16 & Pregnant is whether or not she still has romantic feelings for Ryan. What’s your take on that? Do you sense that perhaps there is still some part of her that thinks she and Ryan will get back together?
Not answering that because I have no idea and wont speak for anyone. (haha)
You are currently in college and working as a waitress while also pursuing a modeling career and maintaining a stringent workout regimen. How in the world do you manage to find the time to get all of that done?
I get this question all the time haha! I put college and track before everything. I work when I get school breaks and sometimes on my free weekends. With modeling, I’m not really worried about it right now. I won’t be until I get out of college. If someone calls me about a modeling job that I like, I will do it, but otherwise I’m not really pursuing it right now. Luckily my college is only an hour and a half away, so it’s easy for Ryan to come up on the days he doesn’t have Bentley and for me to come down on some weekends.
You shared some disheartening news with your Twitter followers in August, announcing that your mother has been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Can you give us an update on how she’s doing?
Yeah, it’s been rough. My mother and I have a lot of history which makes this whole situation even harder, but I won’t get into all that. She’s lives in California, so that also makes it harder. She’s not doing well at all right now and actually can’t get treatment right now because of a money issue, but she’s doing everything she can to get that worked out. All I can do is pray and ask others to pray as well.
With Teen Mom wrapping up, what are your and Ryan’s plans for the immediate future? You’ve been dating for more than a year now — are there any talks of moving in together and could there be wedding bells any time soon?
We talk about it all the time actually! We’re definitely not going to do anything until I get out of school, but after that there are plans to do both of those We will see!
We want to thank Dalis so much for taking the time to talk with us. We were a big fan of hers already (based on her always positive attitude online and the perceptively positive effect she has had on Ryan) and now we like her even more! (ARGHGH!! Where is Teen Mom Season 5?!?) It’s wonderful to hear that she and Maci have buried the hearsa hatchet and moved on, and we wish Dalis, Ryan, Bentley, Maci, and Kyle all the best in the world as they move forward with what seems to have turned out to be an almost ideal co-parenting situation.
UPDATE - On Saturday Dalis tweeted more news about her mother’s condition: “my mom got put in the hospital yesterday! Prayers please! #fightcancer #staystrong” On Sunday she added, “just talked to my moms nurse & she’s fighting to hang on.. pray harder please ” We are doing exactly that Dalis. #staystrong!