Appearing on PeopleTV’s Reality Check on Wednesday alongside girlfriend Astrid Loch (whom he met last season in Paradise), Wendt revealed that he was actually with Horstmann “just the day before” he released his text messages with Miller-Keyes.
When host Lyndsey Rodrigues asked if he thinks Horstmann, 30, did something wrong or was just trying to clear his name, Wendt replied, “I think it’s both.”
“At the start, he said, ‘I don’t want to do it, I know there is a line between the reality show and bringing in that,'” said Wendt, 35. “You shouldn’t be hanging out before the show anyway, and he knew that. He knew it’s against our contract, you’re not supposed to be mingling with everybody, you are supposed to wait until the beach.”
“But once he kind of crossed that line, and they had that relationship prior to, he was trying to go to the beach fresh, and say, ‘Let’s just start fresh,’ and she obviously didn’t think that way,” Wendt added. “She was very [hurt] about what had happened before. And I think once he saw the reaction, like, Twitter can be very intimidating when you start hearing your name being thrown around as the worst person, compared to all the other villains. He got really, I guess anxiety, and the crazy panic attack he had.”
“Whether it is right or wrong, I can’t say,” Wendt said, adding that he isn’t on “either side” of the dispute between Horstmann and Miller-Keyes, 24.
“I think it’s hard to say he did the right thing, but in his mind, that made the most sense,” the he added. “I feel like even now, he’s a little happy. I feel like it did a little bit of relief to him, because he felt like he was being attacked for not everything that was fully true. “
“Even though he is guilty in a lot of ways and definitely not proud of his actions, he definitely feels like he was misrepresented by her interviews on the show,” Wendt said.
Loch, who moved to Canada in December to be with Wendt, added her input on all the drama unfolding.
“I think it would definitely be mortifying to have those kinds of texts out in public, especially for your parents or your siblings to read,” she said. “I think it’s just a different era of dating, too, though, to where the lines are blurred a lot of times. One person might think it’s exclusive, another person doesn’t feel that same way.”
“I don’t think anyone would have believed him if he had just come out and did an interview or did a podcast or said something on Instagram,” she added of Horstmann’s decision. “I think that was the only way to sort of clear his name. I don’t know if I would have done it. But I understand where he came from.”
“He just felt completely alone and felt that nobody believed him,” Wendt said, adding that Horstmann’s actions were “more about saving his own name, than trashing hers.”
“He just needed people to know that he’s not this womanizing player that everyone was painting him out to be,” Wendt said.
The former Bachelorette contestant also pointed out that the texts showed that they were talking a week prior to filming, and that in one message, Horstmann even asked Miller-Keyes how she was doing.
“So he wasn’t ghosting her and all that,” Wendt said.
During Paradise‘s two-night premiere last week, Horstmann initally caught flak after Miller-Keyes revealed he’d hooked up with her one day after sleeping with Kristina Schulman at the Stagecoach Festival in April. Miller-Keyes tearfully told cameras he’d called their night together a “mistake” and begged her to keep the tryst a secret. The audience was on her side, especially as Horstmann pursued two other women in Paradise: Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin. But as the episodes aired, Horstmann posted their text messages on his Instagram Story. Their conversation seemed to debunk her story, suggesting she sought him out for sex and was just as concerned about people finding out.
Horstmann has since deleted the screenshots, apologized for what went down at the music festival and said he was not trying to “attack” Miller-Keyes. She issued her own statement on Instagram, insisting “the 5 am text exchange that Blake chose to share is not an accurate representation of our past relationship” and that she “did not go on a show to ruin someone’s character.”
“I am absolutely mortified our private texts were put out there for the world to see and judge by someone who I trusted and consider a friend nonetheless,” she wrote last Wednesday. “It’s clear to me that Blake and I had different ideas of what our ‘relationship’ was.”
The scandal has divided Bachelor Nation. Many franchise stars supported Horstmann on Instagram, but others defended Miller-Keyes. BiP‘s Dean Unglert, who sources have said is dating Miller-Keyes, slammed him for “slut-shaming” her.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.