Jed Wyatt came under fire after PEOPLE exclusively reported that he had a girlfriend when he started filming the show
WARNING: This post contains spoilers from Tuesday’s season finale of The Bachelorette.
Jed Wyatt is finally telling his side of the story.
Wyatt took the hot seat on Tuesday’s live After the Final Rose special to break his silence on the controversial Bachelorette finale. Viewers had just finished watching Hannah Brown accept a proposal from the musician — only to call it off weeks later after PEOPLE exclusively reported that he had a girlfriend when he started filming the show.
Before Wyatt, 25, stepped on stage, Brown, 24, was asked by host Chris Harrison how she was holding up after ending her engagement.
“I guess as good as could be expected,” she said. “I’m okay. I can’t believe this is the way this conversation is going.”
Hannah then revealed how she first discovered the secrets her fiancé was keeping from her.
“The first news I had of anything was really the day after we got engaged,” she explained. “But it was just that he wanted to let me know that if there was anything said, there was a girl he was hanging out with, and I was just like, ‘Okay, what does that mean? And did you end it?’ I can’t expect for every guy for six months not to have gone on dates. But ultimately, he told me, and I was like, ‘You know what happened the first night, so was it a week, a month, what was it?’ He told me it was a week, he ended it a week before, it wasn’t a girlfriend, he was just hanging out with her, so I was like, ‘Well I can get through that,’ but it was so disappointing that I had to find out the day after I got engaged.”
Continued Brown, “But then I found out about the PEOPLE article coming out the night before we were actually together, and I just thought it was really strange for information that I knew, that a PEOPLE article would come out. So, I was like, ‘Is there anything you need to tell me?’ And he was like, ‘No, she wasn’t my girlfriend.’ And then I was just like, ‘Did you ever tell her you love her? Why does she think it’s so different than you?’ And then he said, ‘Yeah I did,’ and I was like, ‘Well, no wonder Jed.’ And then he said it was one time, and I was like, ‘Did you say it again after that?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, a few times,’ but that’s all he really said, and that was me questioning it, and asking him questions. And then I got the PEOPLE magazine article sent to me, and it’s really sad when you have to circle things in an article and send them to your fiancé.”
When asked by Harrison how the past few weeks have been for her, she explained, “They have been really difficult. I think I have sobbed on the floor, I felt like my whole life just caved in and everything I thought was true and real wasn’t. I have been mad as hell. And just questioning what happened, but I have gotten a lot stronger through it.”
Brown then earned a huge round of applause from the audience when she confirmed that her relationship with Wyatt was over indefinitely.
“I am not with Jed anymore,” she said. “The engagement is over, we are not together. That is not what I said yes to. When I said those things, the things that I said to him on my engagement date, I thought that was my day, and I feel like that was taken from me and how special that was, and it’s been really hard to gravel with that, but I know that what I got is not what I ever wanted for a life partner and love that is not built on a foundation of trust and honestly. I have grown so much, and I know I deserved more than that.”
After a commercial break, it was Wyatt’s time to finally give his side of the story.
After being welcomed on stage by Harrison, Wyatt walked past a silent studio audience and sat beside his former fiancée.
“There’s a lot I would like to say,” the country singer began. “First and foremost, from the bottom of my heart, how genuinely I’m sorry. I know apparently they have shown where I have apologized, but especially in hindsight now that I have had time to review myself and my past and my behaviors towards not only you but other people, I fully see that I wasn’t the best I could be, and in turns, my lacking details to you and things that you deserve, and things that you wanted, it kinda…not kinda, it ruined what we found here, in a place that I never would’ve expected to find love like this, with someone that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and I know you felt the same, and I’m sorry I took away that experience from you, and I’m sorry this has hurt your family, your friends, Bachelor nation, everyone, my family, I am sorry, I am responsible for this, I will own up to it all day.”
“When I was reached out to about doing the show, I just never would’ve dreamed that I would meet the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with on a reality TV show, I never would’ve fathomed it,” Wyatt added. “I wish I would’ve known more about it when I showed up, but I didn’t. I never would’ve dreamed we would’ve been there, and again, I am sorry.”
Explaining why he hid his former relationship from Brown, Wyatt said, “I was acting out of fear, instead of out of love and respect for you, I was scared to lose you, I wasn’t sure how any of it would be taken. Though I feel like I had closure on my part, I can now see there wasn’t on other people’s parts, that’s also my fault. But, I held out because I was scared to lose you.”
Brown then took a moment and struggled to get out words as she responded to Wyatt.
“It’s just sad,” she began. “I appreciate your apology and I know that it’s hurt me a lot but I know that this has not been easy for you and your family and I know critics can be hard, I have some too, and what you did was not right. And not good. But I did fall in love with you and I know that that person’s in there and I just hope that from this, you’ll be honest and learn and grow into the man that I do believe you can be for whoever in your future.”
Harrison then asked Wyatt how he felt about Brown now. “The same that I felt since I got down on one knee,” Wyatt 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.”
Before departing the stage, he added, “Again I just want you to know that I do love you. 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’s explanation of his alleged relationship had been a long time coming, and although he was not allowed to comment on it until the finale, he did allude to the drama in a message posted to his Instagram, in which he asked viewers to “reserve judgment” until he could “speak openly.”
According to Wyatt’s ex, fellow musician Haley Stevens, they were four months into their relationship when he left to join the cast of The Bachelorette.
“We spent the night together the night before he headed to L.A.,” Stevens, 26, told PEOPLE exclusively. “He told me [the show] was just an obstacle and we’d be stronger on the other side because of it.”
Stevens said Wyatt was unequivocal about his motives for going on the reality series, which he applied to before they started dating.
“He wanted a platform,” she continued. “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.”