Hannah Brown ended the engagement after she found out Jed Wyatt had been dishonest about having a girlfriend when he went on the show

By Aili Nahas
July 31, 2019 10:00 AM
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She was at the center of a very public controversy that ultimately saw the demise of Hannah Brown‘s engagement to Jed Wyatt on The Bachelorette — and now, Haley Stevens is speaking out about their breakup.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” says singer songwriter Stevens, whose exclusive interview with PEOPLE in June — in which revealed she was dating Wyatt when he went on the show — was the impetus for his split from Brown. “The hardest part is that there was this other woman involved who knew nothing about me. As hurt as I was, that was tough. I’m not the only person who had my heart ripped out.”

Stevens, who performs with best friend Julia Kate Snow as the duo Sweet Leah, began dating Wyatt, also a musician, in November 2018 after meeting at a music venue. Things progressed quickly, and within a month, they had taken a trip together and she had met his family.

“He told me how much he loved the way I fit in,” Stevens recalls.

Jed Wyatt and Haley Stevens
| Credit: Courtesy Haley Stevens

So smitten was she that when Wyatt told her that he had applied to go on The Bachelorette before they met, Stevens believed him when he said that he only wanted to go on the show for his music career. They continued to date seriously, exchanging I love you’s and taking a romantic vacation to the Bahamas even after Wyatt received the call in February that he had been cast. Stevens spent the night with him before he left for filming.

“He was always so reassuring,” Stevens told PEOPLE in June. “He told me the show was just an obstacle and we’d be stronger on the other side because of it.”

Haley Stevens and Julia Kate Snow
| Credit: Russell Harrington
Haley Stevens and Julia Kate Snow
| Credit: Russell Harrington

And so, Stevens, 26, was blindsided when Wyatt made no effort to get in touch with her after coming home from the show.

“The hardest part was that he ghosted me,” said Stevens, recalling how she ran into Wyatt at a music venue and he avoided her.

Unbeknownst to her, Wyatt was then engaged to Brown, to whom he had lied about the nature of his relationship with Stevens.

Brown, 24, ultimately found out the scope of Wyatt’s dishonesty when Stevens spoke exclusively to PEOPLE last month.

The Bachelorette was blindsided, telling PEOPLE in this week’s cover story that the revelation “felt like a sucker punch.”

Jed Wyatt and Hannah Brown
| Credit: Mark Bourdillon/ABC

For her part, Stevens now says she has “thought about Hannah every single day,” as she admits she has regret for her own role in the situation, by letting her boyfriend Wyatt go on the show knowing he’d be deceitful.

Says the singer: “It’s heartbreaking for her. And it makes me sad that this made her sad. I’ve had the opportunity to take ownership for what I did wrong. I should have had a higher standard for the things I wanted. And if I had known this would go so far, I would have said, this is unacceptable. This was supposed to be Hannah’s love story.”

“I don’t know if there is anyone in the country who can sympathize with her like I can,” she adds. “I know how it feels to be blindsided. And I will never be in that situation again.”

RELATED: Listen to a Sneak Peek of Stevens’ single, “RedNekkid”

Now, the Auburn University grad, whose single with Sweet Leah, “RedNekkid,” comes out Friday, is trying to move forward — and focus on her future.

“I will never be in that situation again,” says Stevens. “Let’s just say, we’ve all learned a lesson!”