EXCLUSIVE: Rachel Lindsay Responds to Danielle Lombard's Reddit AMA, Reveals What Vanessa Grimaldi Called Her
By Lauren Zima
Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise star Danielle Lombard lit up the internet on Tuesday with a Reddit AMA seemingly revealing secrets from Nick Viall's season of The Bachelor. One comment in particular had Bachelor Nation holding our collective breath: It's long been rumored that Rachel Lindsay (who placed third on Viall's season) and Vanessa Grimaldi (Viall's former fiancee) didn't get along during their time on the show, though little-to-no drama was shown between them in episodes.
Lombard addressed the chatter in her AMA, telling one user, "Vanessa called Rachel something that was extremely derogatory. From what I heard it was bad. Vanessa had to be separated for the rest of the show."
ET spoke with Lindsay herself by phone on Wednesday to clear things up.
"One thing I know about Danielle [Lombard] is that she's not a liar," she tells ET. "But I do want to set the record straight on what happened between Vanessa and I."
So, how did it all start? On Reddit, Lombard claimed Vanessa "stabbed me in the back ... Then she tried to do something similar to Rachel later on."
Lindsay agrees. "Being in the Bachelor mansion is a true test of your character," she says. "It's a high-stress, low-sleep situation, and I learned all I needed to know about Vanessa during that time." Lindsay says she distanced herself from Grimaldi to avoid any drama and that they were interacting very little, but one day, Grimaldi pulled her aside.
"Vanessa told me that I used 'aggressive' tones with her, and I was very upset by that," she says. "There are so many stereotypes placed on African-American women."
As for the "derogatory word," Lindsay explains, "She called me a 'bully', and for her to use that phrase was offensive to me. She had no examples to match it. ... I also felt as a special education teacher who works with children, she was using the word frivolously."
Lindsay says she explained to Grimaldi why she felt uncomfortable around her in the house and gave her the opportunity to retract her statements or apologize. Grimaldi allegedly refused, and Lindsay says she's never received an apology. "She told me, 'No, you're a bully, and I told Nick that.'"
The Dallas attorney confirms she asked producers to keep her and Vanessa separated. "This was an assassination on my character," she says. "After I've faced uphill battles for my entire life and worked to prove myself in my career." She says did speak with Viall about what happened, but chose to let things go. "I told Nick, 'I'm going to let bygones be bygones.'"
Ultimately, Lindsay says she decided not to get into the details of what happened until now because Grimaldi and Viall went on to get engaged, and she, of course, became the Bachelorette. She isn't sure why the conversation between her and Grimaldi was never shown on air. "Maybe because at the end, the show is more about relationships than any drama, or because they didn't know how the audience would take each side of things. What Vanessa said was offensive."
Viall and Grimaldi ended their engagement in August. Since the Bachelorette finale, Lindsay is continuing her job as an attorney, happily splitting her time between Dallas and Miami to be with her fiance, Bryan Abasolo.