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Brendan Morais has a lot to say. The Bachelor in Paradisestar took to Instagram on Thursday to share a seven-minute-long apology video, after he and Pieper James drew criticism for their pre-show relationship, and were accused of going on the show to gain popularity.
"I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to lead you on. I truthfully and honestly enjoyed spending time with you," he said, before adding that he and Natasha "didn't have that romantic spark."
"Just knowing you for a handful of days, I never could've imagined the heartbreak I've caused you, and I'm very, very sorry for that," he added.
Brendan next addressed his pre-show relationship with Pieper, admitting that they hung out prior to filming, but insisting they "were not in an exclusive relationship" and that he "never asked her to be my girlfriend."
"I told her straight up, 'I would love to see you in Paradise. If you could go, that'd be amazing.' She didn't know if she could go. She didn't know if she wanted to go," he said. "I absolutely went to Paradise a single man... If I met a female that swept me off my feet, I would've absolutely pursued that."
After Pieper's arrival on the beach, many suggested that Brendan and Pieper had planned to be exclusive with each other in Mexico, in the hopes that their relationship would play out on TV, gaining followers and popularity for them both.
Brendan claimed "that's just not the case," adding, "I feel like it would've gone just a little bit better than it did if we had this plan."
As for the suggestion that he and Pieper just wanted to be on TV, Brendan called that claim "ironic and silly," stating, "We all know we're going to be on TV. It's a TV show, so we have a good understanding of that."
Brendan's protestations, though, don't line up with a scene that aired on BiP, which showed him discussing his then-growing follower count and tabloid coverage with Pieper. Since then, Brendan has lost more than 100,000 followers, while Pieper is down more than 9,000. Natasha, meanwhile, has gained upward of 375,000 followers.
Brendan called this part of the controversy "the follower narrative," and insisted that gaining followers was not his goal.
"I wanted to be on the beach, get a month with a beautiful person, and get to know them more in the beaches of Mexico and spend 20-plus hours a day with them, and potentially fall in love," he said. "If I wanted the max amount of followers, I would not have pursued Pieper or Natasha. I would've went after a girl with a million followers."
In addition to discussing follower counts, Brendan and Pieper also had some things to say about Natasha on BiP, one of which was that she had "zero other prospects" on the beach.
"Saying Natasha didn't have any prospects was very immature of me to say, very rude of me to say," Brendan said. "My point was Natasha didn't have any other guys talking to her, and she wasn't talking to any other guys. I had no prospects as well. I wasn't talking to any other girls, and no other girls were talking to me."
He also referred to Natasha as "annoying" at one point, which he said in his video was "super immature of me" and "super uncalled for."
"To explain that, I thought I was being clear in the way I felt about her, saying there was something missing, there was that romantic aspect missing," he said. "Me trying to slowly pull away from her, and I was getting frustrated because I didn't think her and I were on the same page, and clearly we weren't. That's my mistake."
All of the drama, Brendan said, can be boiled down to one major problem: his "inability to communicate in the way that I think I am."
"I try to sugarcoat things... but in turn I make the matter way worse. I hurt people," he said. "... I'm not communicating in the way that I need to. I'm saying one thing and it's being received as something else. I need to be concerned about how it's being received and react accordingly."
Brendan, who eventually left the beach with Pieper after being confronted about their pre-Paradise relationship by other contestants, concluded his lengthy video by admitting that he "went wrong in so many different ways."
"You're an amazing, beautiful person, who deserves amazing things in life. The fact that I tarnished your experience in Paradise is something that I feel awful about," he said of Natasha. "... I need to continue to work on myself as a man and learn and try to be a better person."
Prior to Brendan's second apology, ET spoke to Natasha about the situation, and she said that, at this point, any apology from Brendan or Pieper would seem disingenuous.
"I saw his apology on his page, and the numerous attempts that she has said for press, and all these different things. It's like, 'Guys, hi. Again, the person who you're disregarding. Call me, text me, DM me.' They don't care about me," she said. "This happened in June. If they cared anything about me, they would've reached out before. I know that now. Again, it's a hard pill to swallow, because I cared about him a lot."
"It sucks when you're a super trusting person, you can't fathom people being this way, and being dishonest," Natasha added. "... This is what it seems like to me. 'I'm losing followers, I'm losing this, I'm losing that. I should say something now.'"
At the end of the day, Natasha said, once she "realized how toxic" Brendan was, she decided to stop engaging with him.
"If they would've just posted a picture together, like, 'Hey, I know this episode sucked. We're sorry, but we are in love, and we love each other, and we wish Natasha the best.' Boom. I would've been right there. Like, 'Go ahead, y'all,'" she said. "Yeah, it sucked. It was awful. But, feeding into the villain role, just everything that they did, it was like, 'Y'all really don't care that I was the casualty in this. They did not care."