The musician's ex told PEOPLE that the two were still dating when he left to film the show
WARNING: This post contains spoilers from Tuesday’s season finale of The Bachelorette.
On Monday and Tuesday’s season finale, fans watched as Brown eliminated Tyler Cameron and Peter Weber, choosing Wyatt as her husband-to-be. Wyatt proposed, and the smitten fiancés left Greece hand-in-hand.
But the finale was filmed long before Brown, 24, would find out about Wyatt’s betrayal. In June, the 25-year-old Nashville-based musician came under fire after his ex-girlfriend, singer-songwriter Haley Stevens, told PEOPLE that they were four months into a relationship when he flew to Los Angeles to compete on Brown’s season.
The revelation ultimately led Brown to call off the engagement and break up with Wyatt on-camera.
So just how serious were Wyatt and Stevens? According to her, they began dating last November, after he had applied to be a contestant. (Wyatt corroborated the fall timing while speaking to Brown on Tuesday’s episode, but claimed Stevens was never his girlfriend and that whatever they had ended once he landed in L.A. to film the show.)
“He told me [early on] that he had applied,” Stevens previously told PEOPLE. “He said, ‘It’s probably not going to happen, but it’s a huge opportunity. I’m only doing this for my music.’ He only did it for his career.”
“He wanted a platform,” Steven continued to PEOPLE. “He kept telling me, ‘I don’t want my dad to have to help me pay rent anymore.’ He said he only wanted to be top five … to be a major player so that it would be beneficial.”
Indeed, Wyatt himself admitted during one of his early one-on-one dates with Brown that he signed up for the show because it could be “a huge platform.” But Wyatt told Brown that his mindset changed after meeting her: “Every moment that we’ve had has taken that away and shown me that now more than anything I want to be with you,” he promised.
According to Stevens, Wyatt — who got the call in February that he had officially been cast — made her a very different promise.
“He told me [the show] was just an obstacle and we’d be stronger on the other side because of it,” she said. “We spent the night together the night before he headed to L.A. He called me when he landed. He said, ‘I love you, and I’ll call you when I get back.’ “
Wyatt told also Brown he still loved her during Tuesday’s After the Final Rose. “I just want you to know that I do love you,” he said. “I’m sorry that your feelings have changed due to my actions and you deserve the world and you deserve to be happy and I’ve always wanted that for you whether it was me or someone else. I’ve told you this. I hate that it’s not me but I hope that God bestows a super happy life for you and that you continue to be the amazing woman that I know you are, that your friends know you are and that America knows you are. And I’ll be there for you in any way that I can.”
Wyatt additionally claimed that he didn’t know much about The Bachelorette before becoming a contestant.
“When I was reached out to about doing this show I never would have dreamed that I would meet the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with on a reality TV show,” he told Brown and host Chris Harrison on After the Final Rose. “I never would’ve fathomed it. I wish I would’ve known more about it when I showed up but I didn’t. I never would’ve dreamed that you would’ve been there and again, I’m sorry.”
Stevens also provided PEOPLE with a letter she says Wyatt wrote to her the night before he left for the show.
“Haley, you’re truly an amazing person,” the note reads. “Someday we will be thankful for all of this. You know where my heart will be. See you at the dock, J.”
Like all contestants, Wyatt had to surrender his phone during filming, so Stevens had no idea what was happening — and grew increasingly anxious. Her worst fear came true when she learned that Wyatt had returned home to Nashville without calling her. She confronted him when she ran into him at a music venue in early June and said Wyatt offered little explanation as to what happened.
“He said, ‘Hey how have you been?’ and I said, ‘How do you think I’ve been?’ ” she said. “I asked him, ‘You didn’t think I deserved a phone call?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t know what to say.’ “
“The hardest part is that he ghosted me. He loved me, but he didn’t have enough respect for me to have that tough conversation,” she continued. “Everything in me wants to believe that he meant everything he said and got caught up in [the show].”
“I don’t believe he’s a terrible person, but it’s a terrible situation,” she admitted. “And part of me thinks I was the backup plan and he wanted me to be here in case it didn’t work out. I feel 100 percent betrayed.”
Contestants are traditionally barred from speaking publicly about their time on the show until the episode in which they are eliminated airs, so Wyatt was unable to address Stevens’ claims at the time. But he did allude to the drama on Instagram earlier this month, asking viewers to reserve judgment until he could “speak openly.”
“Hi y’all. Several of you have reached out with messages and questions. Please know I’m not able to answer right now, but as soon as I’m able to, I will,” he wrote. “Until then, I ask that you please understand how much the actions being taken towards myself, my family, the men on the show, and above all, Hannah, are affecting all of our mental and physical health.”
“It goes beyond what is said online,” he continued. “Threatening letters and phone calls have been sent to our homes. My parents and sister are being verbally attacked in public. I beg you to remember what seems like a harmless action is damaging to real people. I want to thank all of you who have reached out or reserved judgement until I am able to speak openly and I can only ask for your patience and kindness until then.”
On After the Final Rose, he apologized multiple times to Brown.
“I never fathomed failing in love there and I never fathomed it being on the level that it was,” he said. “It’s something I never felt in my life to actually be able to see myself with someone forever, forever. To be married, to have a family, to discuss that kind of thing, I never had that level of relationship and that came with you so naturally and again it’s another reason that I regret all of this so much, regret my decisions and I wish it was different and I wish that I could change the past but I can’t. But my love for you, I don’t think it will ever leave me, it is just something that is there to stay.”