Ben Higgins is opening up about Jed Wyatt's The Bachelorette scandal. The beloved Bachelor alum gave his two cents on the drama surrounding the current season of the dating series' frontrunner, with reports claiming Wyatt had a girlfriend when he arrived to participate in filming.
Nashville musician Haley Stevens previously revealed in June that she was in a relationship with Wyatt when he left for filming in March. She claimed Wyatt only intended to make it to the top five to build buzz for his music career and planned to get back with her after filming ended.
Wyatt has not been able to comment on the controversy publicly because of his contract with the ABC series, but asked fans on Instagram Monday to stop attacking his family over the drama.
Speaking with Entertainment Tonight, Higgins said he can't let go of the allegations, especially after seeing Wyatt's hometown date on Monday night's episode.
"I wonder at what point Jed started to forget about the girl back home and started to really focus on Hannah [Brown], or if that was ever something that happened in his head," he told the outlet. "We've had Jed right away speaking at the beginning of the season about how he came on this show to be famous, to get known. And then all of a sudden, he's liking this girl. Well, that could be a product of your environment."
"And I also don't know now, looking back on that conversation, if I respected that conversation at all, because I think at some level, he was being a mastermind to protect what would ultimately come out at the end, which was that he wanted to play music a lot. So he's protecting himself," Higgins said.
Wyatt famously told Brown in an early episode of the season that he had initially entered the show as a way to promote is music but meeting her and becoming infatuated with her led him to pursue a real relationship with her. He still performs with his guitar several times, irking many fans of the show after the allegations of his previous relationship surfaced.
The Nashville native's family also seemed to be the most hesitant during Monday's episode. His mother and sister even said they don't think he is ready to get engaged and should be focusing on his career.
"You have to understand that Jed literally went on a trip with this other girl right before this show started. They knew about it. They had seen it," Higgins said, referring to Wyatt's February trip with Stevens. "They probably talked to him about it. In their minds, he's still with this girl, then he goes on the show and comes back with a new girl. I know my parents, they would not be thrilled with this scenario. It would not make sense to them. They would probably be super confused and really upset with me as a man if that's the behavior I was having."
The former Bachelor said he was "frustrated" by the situation, especially seeing how far Wyatt has made it on the ABC series.
"It also gives a really bad look at the show. I know that Hannah has invested her heart into this whole thing. I know there's hundreds of people that work on this show to make this thing happen. And you have guys like Jed coming on, making it super far towards the end, and it ends up discrediting the whole story that's happened through this whole season," Higgins added.0comments
"And that, for me, I take offense to, because this show has been really good to me, and it's really good to a lot of people," Higgins added.
Despite his family's reservations, Brown chose to keep Wyatt and controversial contestant Luke Parker for another week on the show. What will happen next? The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
HOLD ON! Subscribe to GroupChat, PopCulture.com's official Reality TV podcast! Check it out by clicking here or listen below.
Hit play to listen to GroupChat's new Episode 11! We're talking 'RHOA' and a major return, new Jenelle and David split updates, Kardashian Halloween costumes and what is going on with 'DWTS' voting? Don't miss a minute and hit that subscribe button!