Spoiler alert: If you have not watched the season 3 finale and reunion special of Love Is Blind, proceed with caution.
Zanab previously rejected her fiancé, Cole Barnett, at the altar, in a tense speech where she declared that Cole had “shattered” her self-confidence.
She doubled down in the reunion, claiming that many things were said by her ex both on and off camera that led to her struggling with her own body image and even to her dangerous eating habits. She claimed that the show had unaired footage of Cole telling her she shouldn’t be eating two Cutie oranges. Netflix chose to air that footage at the end of the reunion, sparking polarizing opinions online by many who felt Zanab had blown the situation out of proportion.
The online hate led the 32-year-old realtor to pen an open letter both to Cole and to her online critics on Instagram on Thursday.
“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.”
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.”
Colleen also shared Zanab’s post to her Instagram Story, adding, “Forever standing with you, Zae.”
And Raven added Zanab’s post to her Instagram Story as well.
The women also defended Zanab during the reunion special, calling out Cole for his alleged behavior on and off screen.
“I think so many things happened off camera. He’s like likable when you’re watching it and just knowing what I know, I don’t know, it’s just, it’s hard because I think Zae is just an incredible, incredible, incredible woman,” Alexa said during the special.
Raven added, “I’ll just say it, it was the tangerine thing. It was where he got a girl’s number at the bachelor party and all of that. And they even talked about that. There was plenty of things. There was the body shaming that we saw on TV.”
As for her altar speech, Zanab is standing by her words.
“I stand by everything I said,” Zanab later 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, 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.”
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