Ultimatum: Queer Love’s Vanessa Admits She Broke This Boundary With Xander

Ultimatum: Queer Love star Vanessa Papa told E! News her true thoughts on #fingergate, being accused of going on the show for the wrong reasons and the boundaries she set with Xander.

By Lindsay Weinberg May 27, 2023 1:00 PMTags
Watch: The Ultimatum: Queer Love's Vanessa on Being the VILLAIN & Fingergate

Warning: This story contains spoilers from The Ultimatum: Queer Love episodes one through four.

#Fingergate just got a little more complicated.

The Ultimatum: Queer Love contestants Vanessa Papa and Rae Cheung-Sutton sparked the season's biggest scandal so far by getting intimate during their trial marriage.

Making matters even more intense, Vanessa promised longtime partner Xander Boger—who issued an ultimatum to get engaged or break up—she wouldn't hook up with any new partners during the Netflix show

"If you're planning on potentially getting back together and getting married, you don't want to break that physical boundary," Vanessa exclusively told E! News. "So, that was where our boundaries lied, like, 'Don't do anything physical.'" 

However, they both deviated from the pact. "Neither of us did a good job of that," she quipped, referring to the implication that Xander and Yoly Rojas may have also crossed that line. "But, you know..."

The Ultimatum Status Check: Where Are They Now?

Vanessa and Rae's hookup sparked backlash from some castmates, with Rae (who came in with partner Lexi Goldberg) taking "a lot of the weight, as she should," Vanessa told E!. "We both interacted in this way together."

Their romantic night "could have been handled differently," she said, admitting she understands why it caused such a stir. "I think for Lexi, it was way easier to blame a stranger than to blame the partner she loves."


Ultimately, she's refuting claims (which came mostly from Lexi) that she was on the show just to get famous.

"I got called out, ‘You're not here for the right reasons,'" Vanessa recalled. "I would say, 'What did I go on the show for? I was in a four-year relationship. My partner wanted to be married. I didn't.'"

The drama played out in the first four episodes, with Rae calling Lexi to come clean about getting physical with Vanessa, which sent Lexi spiraling. Lexi later confronted Vanessa at a group dinner.

Simone Thompson/Netflix

As Vanessa tried explaining to the cast at the time, "We're trying to keep things as, I don't know, natural as they can and taking things slow."

To which a baffled Lexi remarked, "Which is, like, not what happened. Seems like the exact opposite. Is there a reason why you f--ked Rae? Oh, I'm sorry, Rae f--ked you? There was penetration." 

Simone Thompson/Netflix

When Vanessa confessed she wasn't sexually attracted to Rae, Lexi went off. "You end up being inside of the person I came here with and that I love," she snapped at Vanessa. "You have zero feelings for them."

Though Vanessa backtracked, saying she had friend feelings, she called their tryst an accident. "She led my hand into her vagina," she shared with the group. "And I said 'alright.'"

Keep reading to get to know more about The Ultimatum: Queer Love cast before new episodes drop May 31 on Netflix.

The Ultimatum: Queer Love

Netflix's latest reality dating experiment features five couples made up of women and non-binary people who will decide to marry or move on by the end of the season, which premieres May 24.

"One partner is ready for marriage, the other may have doubts," the streamer teased. "An ultimatum is issued. And in just over eight weeks, each couple will either get married, or get out, after they each choose new potential partners in a life-changing opportunity to get a glimpse of two different futures."


Xander Boger and Vanessa Papa

Xander, a 30-year-old who uses she/her/they pronouns and is ready to start a family, asked her partner of four years, Vanessa, 30, to sign up for the show. After meeting in high school because their respective boyfriends were best friend, the couple reconnected after they both came out and now live together in Hawaii. 

Yoly Rojas and Mal Wright

Having already been through a move to Seattle and a breakup and reconciliation, 34-year-old Yoly is asking her partner of three years Mal, 36 and uses she/her/they pronouns, to either get engaged or end their three-year relationship for good.

A major factor for Yoly is starting a family and having enough money to begin the process. "IVF is a very real possibility," she tells Mal in the trailer. "Are you starting to save for it?"

Lexi Goldberg and Rae Cheung-Sutton

The youngest members of the cast, Lexi, 25, issues the ultimatum to her girlfriend of over three years Rae, 27. The couple initially connected on Bumble, but began dating when they ran into each other during a night out in West Hollywood. While Lexi is ready to settle down, Rae's unsure if marriage is in her future.

Mildred Woody and Tiff Der

Mildred, a 33-year-old divorced mother to a teenage son, asked her partner Tiff, who is 32 and uses they/them pronouns, to do the experiment. 

"It's really hard to see a future with you," Tiff, who initiated their relationship by sliding into Mildred's DMs, tells their girlfriend in the trailer. 

Sam Mark and Aussie Chau

While 42-year-old Aussie is unsure if they see marriage in their future, their partner Sam, 31, is ready to get engaged by the end of this experiment after meeting in an online social group for LGBTQ+ people during the pandemic.


Host Change

The first season of The Ultimatum premiered on the streamer in April 2022 and featured six straight pairs. But the inclusion of queer couples isn't the only major change for the franchise's new installment.

Sweet Magnolias star JoAnna Garcia Swisher will be taking over hosting duties from Nick and Vanessa Lachey, who hosted the inaugural season of the series in addition to Love Is Blind.