The Bachelor Drama Between Maria, Sydney, and Lea: Everything You Need to Know

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What did Maria do to deserve all this aggression from the other girls on Joey Graziadei’s season of The Bachelor?

That’s the question that appears to be boggling the minds of Bachelor Nation since Sydney Gordon’s vendetta against Maria Georgas erupted earlier this season. Now with Sydney out of the picture, it feels as if Lea Cayanan is actively petitioning for this season’s VillainTM by picking up where Sydney left off. That is, if Jess Edwards doesn’t beat her to it….

So, what is going on in the House of Joey? Well, here’s a full explainer of what’s gone down on the show so far, as well as each of these women’s social media accounts. Has Sydney responded to all the controversy? Did Maria tell Lea to stfu? And what exactly did Jess say on that couch? Here’s everything you need to know—and the questions we still have.

How did the drama start?

Early in the season, contestant Madina Alam expressed insecurities over being the eldest woman in the group at 31 years old. Maria, however, thought her age was no big deal “Madina, you are 31. Own it. Joey probably loves it,” Maria told other women in the house, per Us Weekly. “I’m old too.” (Maria is 29 years old.)

However, Maria’s words were misconstrued by Sydney, who told Madina that Maria was making fun of her. Madina then told Joey that she felt “bullied” by one of the women in the house, though she didn’t mention Maria by name. Sydney did, though! The 28-year-old later told Joey that Maria had “verbally attacked her” and called her names, which Maria denied during her own conversation with the Bachelor.

Sydney and Joey talk in episode three.


Sydney and Joey talk in episode three.
John Fleenor/ABC

After the episodes aired, Madina took to Instagram to set the record straight. “I’m gonna make this short and sweet. Do I regret using the word ‘bully’? Yes,” she said in a video on February 9. “Will I always use the right words at the right times, especially when I’m feeling a lot of different emotions? Absolutely not.”

She continued, “[What] I will never ever regret, even if it gives me backlash, is opening up and being vulnerable.”

Sydney and Maria’s two-on-one date gets heated.

Things came to a head during episode four, when the pair faced off in a two-on-one date with Joey in Malta. During some one-on-one time, Sydney told Joey that Maria was “disrespectful” to other women in the house and even told Lea to “shut the fuck up.” However, when confronted by Joey, Maria denied the exchange with Lea ever happened. “Absolutely not. I would never say that,” Maria said. “First of all, that’s so vulgar. No. It’s such a lie. It’s crazy to me.”

Maria then addressed the issue with Sydney directly. “You’ve made up some BS this entire time, but like, I told Lea to shut the fuck up?” Maria asks. “Yeah, you know we’re on camera the entire time, right?”

Though Sydney commits to her side of the story, Joey ultimately sent her home, much to the delight of a majority of fans on social media.

How is Lea involved?

Lea started the season as somewhat of a fan favorite after receiving the first-impression rose and setting fire to a date-stealing card, but once Sydney was sent home, fans felt that a whole new person came forward. Many viewers were surprised to see Lea complain to Joey about Maria and even confront other women in the house for not being loyal enough to Sydney.

When Maria expressed through tears that she wanted to go home due to the drama, Lea told producers that she’s a “drama queen crybaby” and implied that if she wanted to leave after “a little bit of conflict,” she wasn’t here for Joey.

“Tell me why she’s becoming the villain of the season so fast,” TikTok user Kama Stauffer said in one video about the situation.

Since the episode aired, Sydney’s and Lea’s comments sections on social media have been swarmed with questions and accusations about their “mean girl” behavior.

What is the deal with Jess?

But Lea’s not the only woman left in the house who had a problem with Maria. Seemingly upset that Maria spoke to Joey ahead of the rose ceremony after receiving a date rose, she confronted Maria in front of the other women. “Pretty early convo for someone with a rose,” she seemingly said to Maria before calling her “disrespectful” multiple times.

However, fans were quick to point out that Jess had no problem spending extra time with Joey during a previous episode, saying, “He’s worth anyone feeling any kind of animosity.”

Following backlash, Jess apologized on her Instagram Stories, saying she was upset about “losing time on multiple occasions due to drama” but that “apologies were made immediately.”

“Although it’s no excuse, I let built up emotions and anger get the best of me & I do regret that whole heartedly,” she wrote, per one TikTok video. “I do not condone bullying, name calling, etc. and apologies were made immediately. We are watching this back for the first time and it’s very hard to see things not play out to their full extent. Please remember that there are many conversations during and after filming that only we are aware of. We are more than just characters on your screens, we are humans with real emotions and feelings.”

Jess then clarified in the comments section of a TikTok video that she has apologized to Maria directly. “The post was to acknowledge that my apology was already made to Maria in person immediately after the tiff,” she commented. “And to acknowledge that I 100% regret my actions regardless of why i was upset then❤️.”

Meanwhile, Madina may be the true winner here.

Once Maria returned from the two-on-one date, Lea was upset that Maria didn’t face more pushback from Madina. “Maria knows that Sydney and I are close. I don’t have to be mean to Maria because Sydney was my friend,” Madina explained when confronted, adding, “I’m trying to navigate the situation the best I can.”

Fans largely praised Madina’s mature outlook, especially after Madina seemed to subtly address the situation on TikTok. “You ate up Lea. [Everything] you said [was] spot on and mature. Handled it so well,” one user commented on one of Madina’s TikTok videos. Although Madina was sent home during episode four’s rose ceremony, her good standing with the fandom could make her a contender for Bachelor in Paradise or even The Bachelorette.

Sydney says she’s been harassed since the season began airing.

After episode four aired, Sydney took to Instagram to share a series of hateful messages she’s been receiving since her time on the show. “I didn’t know I could feel this low my entire life. Every time I open up Instagram, TikTok, I’m constantly reminded of all the insecurities it took so long to overcome,” she said in the video. “To hear, ‘You’re ugly. You look like a man,’ it almost feels like I went back to square one.”

She continued, “I was told I’d be better off dead. People struggle with suicide ideation. That is something that should not be taken lightly. That is not something that we should be joking about. We as a society need to be better. We need to do better. We deserve better. It’s important to be aware that words you use, they pierce very deeply. When you are sending hate to me or another cast member, you may hate the character that was created on the show but who’s actually receiving that hate is a real human being.

Sydney did not mention nor apologize to Maria in the video, but she did acknowledge the controversy in a subtle way. “I can’t speak of details about the show, but I can say there are certain things that I wish I did differently and things I wish I didn’t say,” Sydney admitted. “I will be keeping my comments off to protect my peace, my family and friends’ peace as well. Thank you for listening.”

Bachelor Nation alums have thoughts.

When the drama first began, Bachelor Nation’s Ashley Iaconetti came to her friend Sydney’s defense on her Almost Famous podcast, which she cohosts with former Bachelor Ben Higgins. “I think there’s a lot of context missing, and that’s what I’ll say,” Iaconetti said. “I’m not using it as an excuse because I’m saying based on what I see on TV, it seems like an argument about nothing. And I’m sure it’s not an argument about nothing.”

Jared Haibon also defended Sydney, saying, “I do think that Sydney was trying to do the right thing by sticking up for her friends. I’m sure Maria has been mean to some girls.” Even so, Haibon wished Sydney wouldn’t continue to “harp on it,” adding that the entire situation was “just annoying.”

Iaconetti agreed, saying Sydney’s behavior was “annoying and cringy but I don’t think she’s mean.”

On his own podcast, Bachelor alum Nick Viall said Maria was definitely not in the wrong for taking time with Joey despite having a rose. “It’s not about getting to next week, it’s about building a connection,” he said on The Viall Files.

Maria breaks her silence.

So what does Maria have to say about everything? Well, after episode four aired, Maria asked fans to refrain from coming for the other women on social media. “We are all watching together at the same time,” she wrote over a photo of the group, per ScreenRant. “Things I’m seeing are new to me as well and are hard to watch but please during this time, don’t send any hate to anyone. Things will come to light as soon as they can I promise you that so just remember PEACE LOVE AND POSITIVITY.”

On February 18 she got even more candid in a TikTok video, telling viewers that “heightened” emotions got the best of everyone, including herself. “I’m not innocent in this,” she said, adding, “I like to say that I am a woman who speaks her mind and will defend herself at all costs. That’s just how I was raised. But if I could go back, honestly, I would do things differently, especially when whatever you’re gonna say or do is just not gonna make the other person happy. So next time, I’m just gonna zip it.”

She continued, “I didn’t go into that house looking for trouble. I really didn’t. I wanted to make friends, make memories, and then make a love connection. That’s literally it.” Once again, Maria asked her followers to “spread positivity” and promised that more things will come to light, adding that she knew “being filmed 24/7” would “come in handy at some point.”

Despite telling fans that “nobody’s perfect, including myself,” viewers in her replies remain staunchly Team Maria. “Maria for Bachelorette,” one fan wrote in response to the video. That comment has already received over 49,000 likes.

This post may be updated.

Originally Appeared on Glamour