Interview by Rebecca White. Written by Meranda Yslas.

Without a doubt, there’s something fascinating about reality TV that makes us tune in and catch the latest episode each week. Lifetime’s newest scripted series UnREAL exposes the manipulation that goes on behind-the-scenes to keep the drama alive on a popular dating show. In our exclusive celebrity interview, actor Josh Kelly not only reveals the truth about reality TV but also opens up about relationships and love.

Exclusive Celebrity Interview with UnREAL’s Josh Kelly

Contestants on shows like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette sometime act in ways that make our jaws drop in disbelief. Although we say we would never do half the things we see on television, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge: Kelly explains that people often undergo a psychological change when placed in front of a camera. “It was pretty fascinating because, before I auditioned for the show, I was taking a psychology class. I had become friends with a reality TV person, and she told me all these things, and I was flabbergasted,” he says. “So I rewrote my thesis paper to show how reality TV shows would be illegal if they were done in psychological experiments. All you have to do is throw cameras at people, and they pretty much do anything. I was really happy when the show came around because it was exactly what I was talking about.”

Although having cameras present makes people act a little differently, a big part of why reality TV shows are full of so much drama is the manipulation by the producers and directors. UnREAL showcases just how much deceit is put into making a show a hit. It may seem a bit overboard, but the 33-year-old actor insists that it’s true. “UnREAL is exaggerated to tell the storyline with the characters, but as far as what goes on, from what I’ve heard, it’s not exaggerated at all,” the actor says. “If anything, it’s almost held back and toned down.”

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Jeremy, Kelly’s character, is the cameraman and a past lover of one of the producers, Rachel, played by Shiri Appleby. Although the two have a complicated past, fans can’t help but hope they end up back together. “If you want to be with someone and it’s not working out, then you have to ask yourself if you should be with them,” he says. “I guess that’s the question for most exes. With Jeremy and Rachel, I don’t know. I think they both want it to work out, but they’ve both done some bad stuff.”

Without giving too much away, he does hint that more is going to happen between the exes. “It gets crazier and crazier,” the One Life to Live star adds. “Jeremy and Rachel try to deal with their issues.”

While Jeremy may be struggling with a lingering old relationship and love, Kelly knows how to deal with an ex. His relationship advice is to be honest with your former flame and with your new partner. “Don’t try to hide anything, and don’t try to keep either side a secret,” he says.

He also shares a piece of love advice for current couples: “If you’re really in love, try and love the person more than you think they love you. As long as they’re doing that as well, then you guys are good.”

Finding Love on Reality TV

Even though it’s clear that what happens on reality TV isn’t always authentic, that doesn’t mean dating shows can’t be successful. Still, regardless of cameras, “finding love is the hardest thing to do,” Kelly believes. He also points out that shows like Married at First Sight have helped people find their soul mate. “Doug Hehner and Jamie Otis — they’re still making it. They’re one of the reality show couples that my girlfriend and I have become friends with, and they’re very happy,” he shares.

Related Link: ‘Married at First Sight’ Couple Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner Share Love Advice: “A Strong Foundation is Key” 

A big departure from his role on UnREAL, with parts in films like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, Kelly is no stranger to being in war-style movies. Ironically, he has a military background and admits that being a past solider and then playing one on set can be a bit aggravating. “A lot of people have a preconceived notion of who soldiers are and why they act like they do,” he says. “They think of them as mechanical and not human. On television, they’re often supposed to be like robots.”

“It can be very constricting if you’re an actor and you’re trying to play the character, and the writers and producers are like, ‘Well, you know, soldiers don’t really get nervous,'” he elaborates. “We do. I can promise you that.” Although at times frustrating, “it’s also really fun to get back in the uniform and play.”

With that thought in mind, his latest project is a short film entitled Prisoner of War, which was directed by a friend and fellow Army Ranger, Matthew Sanders. “It’s probably the most intense role I’ve ever played,” the actor admits. The storyline involves solider suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, which he feels are “really important” topics.

Whether his character is a solider in battlefield or a cameraman for a reality TV show, Kelly thanks his military background for influencing his acting. “It has helped me in many, many ways,” he shares. “I learned a lot about hard work, and I’m really happy for it.”

For more from Josh, follow him on Twitter @JustJokingJK and Tune in for UnREAL on Lifetime on Mondays at 10/9c!