Hannah was ecstatic to land the “Bachelorette” gig, and at the beginning of Tuesday’s episode, she thought she found her true love: Jed Wyatt, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Nashville, who proposed via song: “Time stands still for us / It’s happened more than once / And every time we’re holding hands and dancing in the sun / Baby, time stands still for us.” He got down one knee and Hannah gleefully accepted; they kissed and twirled around, with the gorgeous scenery of Crete, Greece, in the background.
And then everything imploded.
Cut to: Hannah, a few weeks after the proposal, looking deeply distressed. Apparently, she had read a People magazine article in which Haley Stevens, a singer from Nashville, alleged she was Jed’s girlfriend until the day he left for “The Bachelorette” in March. Haley said that Jed told her he was just going on the show to promote his music career. They spent the night together before he left to start filming, Haley added; and as he boarded the plane, he texted her, “I love you! Don’t forget that. Everything is always working out.” (She provided the texts to multiple tabloids.)
Then, Haley said, Jed ghosted her and didn’t call when he got back home to Nashville. Eventually, she said, they ran into each other at a concert; when she asked what happened, he confessed, “I didn’t know what to say." They never spoke again.
Hannah was furious when she read these claims. Jed had acknowledged early in the season that he initially just saw “The Bachelorette” as a promotional platform for his music — but said everything changed when he started falling for Hannah. Then, after they got engaged, he admitted that he had been “hanging out” with another woman right before the show started — but said he broke it off a week prior to filming. Hannah wasn’t thrilled to hear that, although she figured she could put it behind her, given it didn’t sound like a serious relationship.
Now, that appeared to not be the case.
“I don't know if he understands the depth of how much this hurts me,” Hannah told the cameras, set up in a house in Los Angeles about a month ago. “This last week has been the hardest week of me either screaming, or crying, or falling to my knees, not knowing what to do. I don't know how I feel about Jed at this point.”
Then Jed knocked on the door, looking miserable, as the producers had obviously briefed him about what to expect. He launched into the excruciating conversation with his side of the story: Yes, he was with Haley the night before he left for the show, and yes, he told her he loved her — but he never mentioned this to Hannah because he truly didn’t think of Haley as his girlfriend.
“It never felt like a relationship to me,” he explained.
Hannah looked like her head was about to explode as Jed detailed what he considered “not a relationship”: They hung out frequently for four months; they had a romantic cabin weekend; she met his parents; she threw him a surprise birthday party; they went on a trip to the Bahamas. Oh, and he said “I love you” multiple times.
In an inexplicable defense, Jed said he didn’t consider the relationship exclusive because he still continued to date other women. (!) And when he first told Haley he loved her, he had been drinking, and knew right away it was “a mistake." (!!) He also claimed Haley was very excited for him when he got cast on “The Bachelorette.”
“You probably kept reassuring her, ‘It’s a music thing, you don't have to worry,’” Hannah fumed. “I know this is what happened.”
“Yeah. I told her it was. . .going to be a really good thing for music,” Jed said, adding that he seriously doubted he would actually find love on a reality dating show. However, then he did! Because Hannah changed his life. He tried to explain this to her, but she wasn’t having it, as she was in disbelief that Jed never actually broke up with Haley.
“I ended it in my heart and not verbally,” Jed said. Seriously.
Understandably, Hannah looked stunned with that excuse. “You said you loved her on a phone call! And a text the day of!” she pointed out. “What do those words mean to you?”
“I didn’t know til I met you,” Jed protested, even though no amount of smooth lines could save him.
Hannah grew angrier as she put more pieces together. Suddenly, Jed’s family’s odd behavior during their hometown visit made sense. Plus, in the season premiere, she expelled one of her suitors on the spot when it was revealed he had a girlfriend back home. So why didn’t Jed say anything then?
“I didn’t have a girlfriend, though. . .to me, that didn’t feel like it was a relationship,” Jed said again, and perhaps realizing that defense wasn’t getting him anywhere, switched tactics. “I should have said something right then and there, but I didn’t. I should have said something at the fantasy suite, but once this started happening and I started seeing how I was feeling about you, I couldn’t think of anything else."
He tried further to explain why he lied: “The reason I held back details that I did is because I was scared that if I told you, you would walk away from me. That’s the most coward thing to hear, I know. But that’s just the truth. And I’m so not proud of it.”
As it turned out, no amount of groveling would help. A few minutes later, Hannah appeared on the live after-show with Chris Harrison, and confirmed that she and Jed were officially done.
“I am not with Jed anymore. The engagement’s over. We are not together,” she said, as the audience roared their approval. Later, Jed dragged himself into the studio, and most of the crowd refused to applaud when he sat down onstage for a lengthy apology.
“Now that I’ve had time to review myself and my past and my behavior toward not only you but other people, I fully see that I wasn’t the best that I could be,” Jed said. “I’m sorry that this has hurt your family, your friends, Bachelor Nation, everyone, my family. I’m sorry. I’m responsible for this. I will own up to it.”
Hannah expressed disappointment for how everything turned out, though in the end, she said it was also a valuable learning experience. “I want a husband. I don’t need one,” she said. “I’m really, really proud of the woman that I’ve become through all this, because I am hella strong.”
As the episode concluded, her runner-up — Tyler Cameron, the 26-year-old general contractor from Florida and Internet favorite — also arrived for the after-show. Hannah admitted that despite the fact she rejected Tyler before he could propose, she still had feelings for him.
“You’re an incredible guy, and I’m a single girl,” she said slyly, as the audience members lost their minds with excitement. “I just thought maybe we could go for a drink and just hang out.”
“I would love to,” Tyler responded smoothly. “Just tell me when, I’m there.”