Blake Horstmann Says It Wouldn't Feel 'Right' to Go on Bachelor in Paradise Again: 'Not for Me'
The Bachelor franchise alum endured a drama-filled summer on Paradise in 2019
During a Instagram Story Q&A session with fans on Thursday, Horstmann responded to a query about ultimately not returning to the summer spinoff, though he was "close" to joining.
"I went through some testing etc. But at the end of the day, I didn't feel it was right for me," wrote Horstmann, 32. "I am in a good place in my life. Personally, professionally and mentally."
"I didn't want to put my life in the hands of people that don't really have your best interest in mind. It's like having a life coach who pushes you to do the wrong things," the former Bachelorette contestant continued. "I decided my mental health was more important than some followers and engagement. But I absolutely do not think there is anything wrong with people who do go on the show. It's just not for me."
Responding to another fan's question about whether it's "hard being yourself" after appearing on Bachelor shows, Horstmann said that "it's a lot harder than people think."
"Everyone wants you to be the person you were on the show and that's not always the case," he said. "I often say you kind of become who you were edited be. There are alot [sic] of people that want to take advantage of who you are now and that's hard. You have to keep your old friends close and pick the right new friends."
Still, Horstmann said the show and some of the people he met along the way "will always hold a special place in my heart."
"I'll always be grateful [for] what the show has allowed me to do," he said. "But I also don't want to be defined by the show. I hope years from now, people won't say 'Blake from Bachelorette'...just Blake."
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Fans were first introduced to Horstmann on The Bachelorette, where he ended up as the runner-up on Becca Kufrin's season in 2018. He then appeared on Bachelor in Paradise's sixth season in 2019, during which he quit part-way through after a drama-filled summer.
As viewers recall, Horstmann's escapades at Stagecoach that year became a focal point on Paradise, when it was revealed that he had hooked up with Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Kristina Schulman, two of his fellow future contestants, on back-to-back nights. Drama subsequently unfolded both on and off-screen, with Horstmann catching heat amongst viewers.
"To say paradise was rough for me is an understatement," he wrote on Instagram at the time. "I have no one to blame but myself for that. It's not easy putting yourself and all of your mistakes out there for the world to see. ... Never forget that we are all human and not characters on television."
For the upcoming season, celebrities including David Spade, Lance Bass and Tituss Burgess are set to guest-host. The news comes after Chris Harrison exited his longtime role as Bachelor host following controversial comments he made in defense of Bachelor alum Rachael Kirkconnell, who came under fire for past racist behavior.
Bachelor in Paradise season 7 premieres Aug. 16. on ABC.