'Love Is Blind' 's Cole Barnett Says He Was 'Walking on Eggshells' with Ex Zanab Jaffrey
The reality star admitted that he was "trying to figure out how to even speak without saying something wrong" to his ex Zanab Jaffrey
The Love Is Blind star, 27, revealed he was grateful that the Cuties scene was shown during the reunion — in which he was seen discouraging his ex from snacking on a Mandarin orange — and responded to Jaffrey's accusations that he body-shamed her while filming the Netflix reality show.
"To me, I'm just so thankful that they played the Cuties scene, because I don't know why you'd say I was body shaming you as well. I wasn't body-shaming you," he explained on the Lauren Interviews podcast. "I was just asking and saying, 'Hey, we planned this big dinner.' I was just speaking to it and being myself."
"I was trying to keep things light. And the reason that I'm using the word 'appetito' instead of appetite and speaking like a normal human is because I knew how sensitive things were with Zay on everything," he told host Lauren Conlin. "I was walking on eggshells because I knew there's just trip wires everywhere. The moment I say one thing that hits her wrong, I'm now the worst. I was just trying to figure out how to even speak without saying something wrong."
The reality star also shared that he felt misled after Jaffrey left him at the altar on the show's season 3 finale.
"She played me, 100 percent she played me," Barnett shared. "She told me that there was a chance that we were getting married. She said she was 100 or 1,000 percent ready to marry me at that last date and then we talked off-camera and I let her know I wasn't ready to get married."
Barnett revealed that he and Jaffrey had agreed to not tie the knot during the final take the relationship at "slower pace" without "the pressure" of marriage.
"She verbatim told me, 'I don't want any drama at the wedding,' and then she did what she did at the wedding. So yeah, I got totally played and it was scripted," he claimed. "And it's just a lie for her at the reunion to say that she was still trying to decide on wedding day whether or not she was ready to marry me. It's like, 'Yo, if that was true then how the hell do you say what you said about me?'"
He continued, "That would make you all sorts of messed up if you felt that way about someone and you were trying to decide if you wanted to marry them that day."
Barnett said he doesn't blame Netflix producers for Jaffrey's shocking altar speech when she told him she told him that he "single-handedly shattered my self-confidence."
"The producers do not put words in your mouth. They do not coordinate things like that. That was 100 percent Zanab's decision," he said. "It was equally as shocking to production as it was to me."
When asked if he would pick Zanab again, he replied, "Hell no. Not after what I know now."
"I can't change what is done. There were a lot of awesome moments with Zanab during our experience and I love her for what we did together," he explained, "but ... now, I see how things end. It's, like, gross. That was just a horrible experience."
In a Q&A with his fans on Instagram last month, Barnett previously opened up about being in therapy following the show.
"I've been flipping houses, representing buyers, and working on starting a podcast," he said. "Oh and some much needed therapy."
Barnett went on to detail why he has found therapy beneficial while replying to another fan's question.
"The best thing I've gotten from therapy so far is honestly just how helpful it is to talk about the things that have impacted you or hurt you or were traumatizing," he said.
"It's not that there's some grand thing that you need to learn, necessarily, there's a lot of things you can learn," Barnett noted. "But sometimes as a guy you just don't ever talk about emotions and feelings, you never do, and so just sitting with someone and talking about those things in and of itself is freeing and liberating."
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Season 3 of Love Is Blind is now available to stream in full on Netflix.