Bachelor in Paradise star Blake Horstmann claimed on Instagram on Tuesday that he never ghosted Caelynn Miller-Keyes or asked her to lie about their Stagecoach hookup. However, a source close to the situation tells ET that Blake -- who clearly didn't want his trysts with Caelynn and Kristina Schulman revealed on Paradise -- may have had a motivation for keeping the hookups a secret. According to the source, Blake may have been playing a long game to being cast as the Bachelor.
"He saw how it worked out for Colton Underwood," ET's source said of Blake's hopes to get the Bachelor gig after his stint on Paradise. "So, he was thinking that he could maybe try and become the Bachelor. He was keeping his options open."
Blake and Caelynn's drama started on Monday night's season premiere of Paradise, when Caelynn told the camera that she thought she and Blake were in an exclusive relationship earlier this year, and that they slept together at Stagecoach in April. She said after they hooked up, Blake told her that the night before, he had slept with Kristina Schulman. She also said that while she was still in his bed, Blake was talking about pursuing Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin. And to top it off, Caelynn claimed Blake called their hookup a "mistake" and said he asked her to lie about it ever taking place.
On Tuesday night's episode, Kristina first confronted Blake for sleeping with her and Caelynn back-to-back. Then, Caelynn hit Blake with her side of the story, to which he looked visibly shocked and upset. While the episode was airing, he fought back against Caelynn's claims on Instagram, writing, "I NEVER 'sweet talked' her at Stagecoach. Caelynn and I were NEVER in a relationship. I NEVER ghosted Caelynn, I NEVER called her a mistake and I absolutely NEVER EVER EVER silenced Caelynn.'"
Blake also posted alleged text messages between him and Caelynn from what he said was Stagecoach. In the messages, Caelynn allegedly said she "only" wanted sex with Blake, worried about who found out about their hookup and considered whether to be honest about the situation. Blake later deleted the screenshots, explaining he didn't want Caelynn to get hate from fans. She has so far stayed silent on social media.
Kristina, Jason Tartick, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Chase McNary, Ben Zorn, Adam Gottschalk and more expressed support for Blake on Instagram, while Dean Unglert criticized him on Twitter, writing, "calling it childish would be disrespectful to children everywhere."
Nick Viall also appeared to disapprove of Blake sharing the texts. "I haven’t always loved my portrayal on TV. During that time I had text conversations that could have changed people’s opinions of my intentions. However, it could have potentially come at the price of others. I didn’t share. I took my beating. I moved on. I'm better for it," he tweeted.
According to ET's source, Blake and Caelynn's friends feel at this point, after the episodes and Blake releasing the texts, the two need to communicate. "They're grown adults, and there's nothing wrong with hooking up. Just don't hide it. They need to talk to each other in private and figure this out. They need to come to an agreement because this type of drama -- the lying -- doesn't do anyone any good. You don't beat the system [of the show] and it just discourages the forming of real relationships," the source says.
"Now it's created massive confusion, and things will only get messier. Yes, they texted, but they also had some conversations over the phone where other things were said," ET's source continues.
A second source close to Blake tells ET: "He's in a tough place. He's had a rough few months and he feels so bad about everything that's gone on."
As for his Bachelor chances, host Chris Harrison admitted Stagecaoch was a "disaster" for Blake, but said that they're waiting to announce the next Bachelor for a reason. See more in the video below.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Join ET's Bachelor Nation Facebook group here.