Danielle Maltby Addresses Paulie Calafiore and Cara Maria Sorbello's Romance
Speaking with PEOPLE exclusively, The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise alum, 33, says she is sharing her pain “not to hurt anyone” but to tell her side of the story. “I’ve struggled with whether to speak publicly about this for months. In light of Paulie’s recent statement and events, I don’t feel like I can remain quiet anymore. It’s not fair to either of us,” says Maltby, who vied for Nick Viall‘s heart on the ABC dating franchise in 2017.
After she posted a lengthy message about her painful split from Calafiore on Instagram Thursday, he told PEOPLE in a statement that he thought keeping in contact with her was “helping her through everything that had happened” amid their drama.
“I know it’s easy to believe Paulie because I believed everything he said when things were aired about his last relationship. He’s charming, endearing, vulnerable and attentive, he’s very lovable and says all the right things to make you want to believe him,” Maltby shares. “I wanted to tell the truth but was also embarrassed and didn’t want to bring attention to how I had been deceived and manipulated. I am not saying this to hurt him either, though I know it will. I know how reactive he is. I am saying this because you deserve the respect of the truth. I am not proud of everything in this message. I loved him and wanted to believe him.”
Maltby and Calafiore made their relationship Instagram official in January 2018, but their relationship was rocked when cheating allegations were made public in June. Addressing MTVstar Sorbello, Maltby says, “Paulie has been lying to me about you since he cheated on me with you. I’m fairly certain he’s lying to you about me.”
Vendettas champion Sorbello and Ex on the Beach/Big Brother alum Calafiore met during the Challenge season Final Reckoning.
“When he got his phone back in May when you were done filming, he told me he loved me, had bought my engagement ring and when he got home to me and we were going to make a baby. He told me … he stopped it before it went all the way with you,” Maltby says, speaking to Sorbello.
“When he came to Nashville, he was very sick and I stayed with him in the hospital. We talked through everything, he told me he loved me and we were working through it. We were planning a vacation for July when he left and he was coming to my cousin’s wedding that next weekend,” Maltby continues. “Then I started seeing the flirtatious comments you were making on his photos and I called him out on it. We got in a fight and I told him to take the weekend to think through things. He told me he loved me and hung up the phone. That night, I got pictures sent to me of him with you in New York and I saw the things you were posting that weekend. It killed me. That’s when you could say the relationship had ended.”
Maltby adds, “He continued to tell me he loved me, that he was working on fixing this, that I was the end goal and honestly, you were nothing. That he had to play this out for the show. I believed him because I couldn’t believe that the man, who had professed to love me and couldn’t wait to marry me, was able to hurt me. People mess up.”
To work on their relationship, Maltby recalls going to Mexico with Calafiore in July. “He told me he’s never letting go of me or of us. That [Sorbello] knew exactly what the relationship was and wasn’t. [Sorbello] knew it was only for the show. He was trying to work on himself and that we had to let this time play out so that he could change the media’s perception of himself so that we could be together,” she says.
In November, Sorbello and Calafiore appeared on MTV’s How Far Is Tattoo Far? where they chose tattoos for one another and exchanged “I love you” for the first time. When they sat together a few weeks later at the Final Reckoning reunion, things were going strong. When asked, they defined their relationship as open, but have recently been referring to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend in social media posts.
Speaking to Sorbello, Maltby says, “When you love someone, you want to believe them. He came to Nashville for Labor Day. We talked and fought and he told me about the tattoo and how angry he was about it. I would repeatedly ask him if he was being honest with you because I could see that you loved him. You looked at him like I looked at him. I begged him to be honest and let this all go because I could see how you felt about him and he said you were selfish and it’s just for the show. That you were just as calculating. He said you overstayed your welcome and nothing was happening with you. That a relationship would never work with you.”
According to Maltby, Calafiore had plans for their future away from the cameras.
“He was not going to get stuck in the MTV world, he had an exit strategy and my response was, ‘So you are using her, that’s not okay, Paulie.’ To which he would reply, ‘She’s using me too, she’s only in the game. A relationship would never work with her in the real world.’ He had a plan of how things were going to end on the show with you when you went to film the next season,” she says. “He stayed with me in Los Angeles the night before you all flew out for filming. He told me he loved me, that he wanted everything back with me, that he was going to fix it. It was a sick cycle, and I admit that freely. I wanted to be strong enough to tell him to f— off and at that point, I wasn’t.”
However, the “sick cycle” did not end there.
“The second he got his phone back from filming this past season, he started blowing up my phone. I didn’t answer anything for a while but Paulie is reactive and his messages were getting more desperate,” Maltby says.
Speaking to Sorbello, Maltby states: “He told me you two went your separate ways on the show and it was done. That you brought nothing positive into his life, again it was all game related. Anything on social media wasn’t real. I have tried too long to help him see what he is doing. I blocked him after I saw what you commented on his first post being back. He was very upset in the emails. Asking for me to unblock him because, ‘I promised I wouldn’t block him,’ and he said, ‘I’ve been sick physically and internally this week’ while you were at Disney together.”
In his statement to PEOPLE, Calafiore said, “I had no idea I was blocked by Danielle until I received an email from her, Paul explains. “I didn’t beg to be unblocked, I asked why I was blocked when we could just talk like adults.”
Overall, Maltby says she is looking to move forward.
“I’m just tired. [Sorbello] deserved the respect of my truth. I have no reason or any gain in lying to her,” she says. “Opening up about my truth in light of these recent statements and continuous lies is the closure I needed to move forward and close this chapter in my life.”
A rep for Sorbello did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.