Bachelorette Katie Thurston Defends Suitor Hunter Montgomery as He Reveals Tourette Syndrome
Katie Thurston said that she wants "everyone to think twice before commenting negative things" about her contestants
Following Monday's episode, Thurston defended Montgomery after viewers criticized him for appearing to clear his throat and sinuses multiple times on camera, revealing that he has Tourette syndrome.
"Remember you only get to see a portion of who these men are," Thurston, 30, wrote. "For example, you probably didn't know Hunter has #Tourettes."
She added, "So I encourage everyone to think twice before commenting negative things about these men. #TheBachelorette."
According to Mayo Clinic, Tourette's is a neurological disorder that can cause sudden, repetitive, rapid and involuntary movements or vocal sounds.
Montgomery also addressed his diagnosis on his Instagram Story Monday.
"Just to be clear. The snorting and sniffling is due to minor Tourette's, which I've had my entire life," he wrote. "Thx."
And last week, Montogmery also revealed that he is 14 years sober after suffering from a "fatal drug addiction." In a lengthy Instagram post, the contestant shared a photo of his Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) chip and encouraged those who are "struggling" to seek help as he shared his own recovery experience.
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"This morning, millions of tortured souls woke up with only one thing on their mind — finding the medicine to cure their sickness. And that can look a lot of different ways," Montgomery, 34, wrote on July 1. "A drug addict stealing to score their next fix. An anorexic waiting to see a lower number. A gambler putting in a new set of lineups. An alcoholic, like clockwork, making their way down to the corner liquor store for today's bottle of Whiskey. Every, single, day. Every single hour. Every waking minute is devoted to temporarily unlocking the chains that bind them ... their disease."
"At the end of that day — we will lose many of these to overdose and death. And others, if they are lucky, may end up in prison. But it doesn't have to be this way. I am here to tell you, and to shout from the rooftops, that there is a way out. There is a solution! You don't have to live this way," he continued.
Montgomery then revealed that he reached a milestone in his sobriety journey in March.
"I celebrated 14 years of sobriety from a fatal drug addiction to opiates. I was as hopeless and tortured as they come," he continued. "I am blessed to have had an incredible program, a stellar support system, and one damn good higher power that allowed me to be pulled from the black hole that is addiction, and go on to live an incredible life."
The reality star also advised those who are battling with addiction to "not give up" and "reach out" if they need help. He added, "We all have a purpose in this life. If I can do it, so can you. We've all got a whole lotta' living left to do. I love you all."
Previously speaking to PEOPLE, Thurston raved about her group of contenders on The Bachelorette. "They're all such great guys," she said in June. "And that's what made [my journey] exciting and hard at the same time."
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.