The reality star's shocking altar moment and 'Cuties video' were the subject of much discussion on the show's reunion special.
Spoiler alert: If you have not watched the season 3 finale and reunion special of Love Is Blind, proceed with caution.
Love Is Blind star Zanab Jaffrey is addressing her ex-fiancé, Cole Barnett, as well as her online haters. On Wednesday, Netflix dropped the wedding-packed finale episode of season 3 as well as the subsequent reunion special.
At Zanab and Cole's wedding, the 32-year-old realtor shut down her groom at the altar, telling him that he "single-handedly shattered my self-confidence," before walking away from him.
Then at the reunion, Zanab accused Cole of making numerous comments on her weight and appearance, causing her to strictly diet, saying, "I stopped eating. I was eating like a banana and a teaspoon of peanut butter just so I wouldn't pass out on the long days we were filming."
One major topic of conversation was the "Cuties video," which Zanab said that Cole asked if she was going to eat two Cutie clementines before dinner in unaired footage. Netflix aired the footage at the end of the episode with many on the internet saying that Zanab had blown the situation out of proportion in an attempt to get her 15 minutes of fame. They also claimed she was trying to imitate an altar moment from season 2 contestant Deepti Vempati, who famously declared "I choose myself" in her wedding to Love Is Blind villain Shake Chatterjee.
On Thursday, Zanab took to Instagram to both address her ex, who got visibly emotional during the reunion special, and to respond to her online critics.
"Cole, I fought for us until I couldn’t anymore. I know you know that. I know you know why I said what I said," she captioned a slideshow of candid shots of them together. "I know you know what you did. It’s ok if you aren’t ready to talk about that yet."
Zanab then went on to pen an "apology for the internet."
"I’m sorry you weren’t in that relationship. I’m sorry you didn’t feel what I felt. I’m sorry we don’t have the same triggers," she wrote. "I’m sorry me standing up for myself, offended you so greatly. I’m sorry you didn’t see all the reasons for what I said. I’m sorry you didn’t live that with me. I’m sorry that you don’t know me."
She went on to directly address the claims that she was trying to have her own Deepti moment, writing, "I’m sorry Deepti’s wedding was a week before mine, long before you or I knew her story."
She also seemingly shut down claims that she was acting during her time on the show.
"I’m sorry I’m not a paid actress. I’m sorry I can’t cry on demand," she wrote. "I’m sorry you feel manipulated, gaslit and played. I’m sorry I’m your villain. I’m sorry I’m your bad guy - I promise you I’m not."
She concluded her post by saying, "I stand by everything I said."
The reality star got some love from several of her co-stars including Nancy Rodriguez, Colleen Reed, Brennon Lemieux, Alexa Alfia, and Raven Ross, who all liked her post. Comments were turned off on the post.
Alexa also took to her own Instagram Stories sharing Zanab's post and writing, "There will be no apology from me. There are multiple reasons why we stuck by her. We spent almost everyday together so I will not take advice from anyone who was not there. There are two sides to the story and I still stand by what I said. The clementine story is irrelevant. I don't like bullies and I will always stand for those who are in the right. It's truly heartbreaking to see how low and disgusting the internet can be. I hope you feel better after commenting such vile things."
Shortly after the episodes dropped, Cole took to his own Instagram Stories, writing, "Thank you everyone for all the messages and comments! I can't express how much your support means to me."
Zanab reiterated her stance when she spoke with ET after filming for the show wrapped.
"I stand by everything I said," Zanab told ET. "Everything I said had a meaning, a reason why I said it. I didn’t do it to humiliate him. It was more so just to be factual and hope that he would be a changed man for his next healthy relationship that I hope he has."
Cole, however, initially did feel that Zanab intended to humiliate him, previously telling ET, "I really just felt duped. I felt fooled because we hadn't spoken about those things. We had argued a lot, but she had never brought up the points that she made at the altar, which is why it just felt like it was more about her trying to hurt me than it was about just the no itself."
He added that talking with his ex after the fact cleared that up, telling ET, "Since talking with her, it wasn't her intention at all. It was like how she was really feeling, so we worked through all that."