Despite what “Bachelor” viewers saw, this season wasn’t all bullying and name-calling.
Monday’s “Women Tell All” special episode brought back the Season 25 contestants – excluding Matt James’ remaining three, Rachael Kirkconnell, Michelle Young and Bri Springs, who will all attend the “After the Final Rose” special. They rehashed a season of explosive drama: everything from the OGs vs. new girls debate and escort accusations to yes, Queen Victoria’s rocky reign.
Speaking with USA TODAY, contestant Chelsea Vaughn reflected on what she wished had made it into the show more: the women’s positive relationships with each other.
“We really did have great, amazing bonds and friendships and you didn’t get to see that — you only unfortunately got to see a lot of drama,” she said.
She recalled hanging out with the other women “together all day” while filming, painting each others’ nails, working out, taking walks and sitting together reading in “a little book club.” Vaughn read Liane Moriarty’s “The Husband’s Secret”; Abigail Heringer played “a lot of Sudoku.”
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“I think it’s easy for people to watch the show and just look at us and be like, ‘Oh, my God, these girls are mean.’ But it’s not,” Vaughn added. “Everyone isn’t seeing everything. … I think that people were seeing just a one-dimensional version and character of us, whereas people are very complex, complicated, three-dimensional people. So I just want people to keep that in mind when they’re thinking that everything and everyone is mean. That that just really wasn’t the case.”
Though the drama was fodder for much discussion among “Bachelor” fans, Vaughn noted that viewers “want to see the friendships,” too.
“Like the little moments … at the end of the episode, where you get to see Michelle doing push ups, or me finding a horseshoe at the goat farm: People want to hear (about) our personalities and people want to see us getting along,” she said. “I don’t think anyone wants to see some some of the drama that’s been shown.”
Many of those fun little moments that didn’t air during the season finally saw the light of day on Monday’s “Women Tell All,” which acknowledged the season’s drama, while also showing the women trading apologies and opening up about how they were negatively affected by actions on the show. Some highlights of the most notable quotes from the special:
Brittany on the aftermath of escort accusations
“Lookin back, it’s just kind of disappointing. You see me come in as this strong, confident, smiley girl, and in the first 24 hours, I was just completely torn down. I’ve never felt so low like that in my entire life. … That was just defeating. When I first got back, I didn’t even want to be around my family. … It’s embarrassing, because when you Google my name now, the first 20 results are ‘The Bachelor contestant Brittany Galvin accused of being an escort.’ Nothing wrong with that industry, but it’s not me.”
Anna responds to backlash over her comments
“Nothing I can say can justify what I did. Honestly, there is no reason ever to take down another woman. Without thinking of the consequences, especially in that moment, it was awful. After watching the aftermath, I am 100 times more sorry. … I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be you, and it just sucks that I did that to someone else. … Everything I did in the situation was wrong.”
Previous recap:Victoria, Anna’s mean girl behavior is unbearable to watch
Victoria on her… whole thing
“The name calling is completely unacceptable, but we’re all getting backlash for however we handled anything and I think it’s important to remember we all did the best we can do. Life is a learning experience, as is this journey, and we’re just getting to watch it back. So again, I’m just so sorry.”
Khaylah reflects on accusations of bullying in the house
“I’m not going to shout, like, ‘Oh my God, this is bullying and toxic’ if it doesn’t affect me. I’m going to take the cues from the women it actually affects. Yes, you can make space for people, but you have to uplift their voices first. We owed it a dialogue before saying ‘oh, it’s toxic.’ “
MJ on her two-on-one fight with Jessenia
“It’s hard when someone singles you out, because I’m not here to tear anyone down. I think we’re all here to lift each other up, but I do have a strong personality and that should not be misconstrued as mean.”
Katie on Victoria’s name-calling
“I do accept your apology. If that brings you peace … then I’m ready to move on from this experience. We all went through something really hard and I know some of you are experiencing backlash right now. … I really just want to move on and I wish the best for everybody. … The house actually did have some great women and unfortunately drama overshadowed it.”
Matt on watching the drama unfold on TV
“I’m a little surprised. I would expect a certain amount of that to be taking place jsut because there’s multiple people trying to date one person. I tried to be empathetic to the women and what they were going through because I hadn’t gone through it. … I don’t think anybody here is a bad person, because I know y’all’s hearts.”