“Let’s all be mindful and extend a little bit of compassion and grace towards the leads of the show,” the 26-year-old pilot tweeted on Tuesday, February 21.
Zach, also 26, referenced his romance with Rachel during the Monday, February 20, episode of the ABC series during his one-on-one date with Gabi Elnicki.
“Last season, I thought that I knew someone and then I learned that I didn’t,” the sales rep said.
This isn’t the first time Zach has brought up Rachel on season 27 of The Bachelor since its debut last month. The twosome split after discovering compatibility issues — which they haven’t shared publicly — when the cameras turned off in the fantasy suites.
“There was a lot of question marks and a lot of guessing. And when it came down to last season with Rachel, a lot of stuff came to fruition and a lot of big question marks and surprises and that leads to shock,” Zach said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast in January after speaking about his and Rachel’s “lack of communication” on the premiere. “And for me, one thing that I pride myself on is the fact of having communication throughout [my time as the Bachelor]. So I even told all the women on night one, like, good or bad, please tell me how you’re feeling. Because I will. I know what I want out of this and I know what it takes to have that healthy relationship … communication. And that lacked with Rachel and I last season.”
During an interview on the “Almost Famous” podcast, he acknowledged that his comments implied Rachel was “acting” when the cameras were rolling.
“My mind went [in] so many different directions because it was like, ‘OK, if this is you, then who was I with on this entire journey?’ This is my fear for this season — people putting it on for the camera,” he said. “Like, are you here for, like, the followers or Instagram and this and that or to be famous? Or are you actually open at the idea of finding love and, like, being open to that? And I went through that with Rachel thinking about that afterward. I was like, ‘Wait, which one was it?’ And for this season, I carried that on. I’m just being like, ‘Hey, we’re communicating everything good or bad, let me know who you are or it’s going to come out.’”
Rachel, for her part, was surprised to hear any negative feedback from Zach after she believed the exes made amends at After the Final Rose last fall.
“I’m actually shocked at kind of the things I have heard — not only what I heard on your podcast, and mainly that — but even [what] I heard night one,” she said during her own chat with Ashley Iaconetti earlier this month. “All this talk about, ‘I want someone who’s authentic on and off camera,’ as if me choosing or feeling stronger feelings for other people somehow made me not authentic or if us not aligning on certain important views, makes him wrong.”
After filming the season finale, Rachel was briefly engaged to Tino Franco, but the twosome split while the show was airing.
“[I] very obviously wasn’t [acting]. People watched me, time after time, send people home on the spot when I knew it wasn’t right. And I genuinely cared about Zach so much that I wanted to give him this time. And I wanted to see if we can align,” Rachel concluded. “And when you get behind closed doors, you’re like, ‘OK, let’s honestly have a conversation.’ … Even after an apology, it’s still being painted like this, it just really is so hurtful.”
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The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.