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Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia insist there was no ill intent behind the digs made at their mutual ex, Clayton Echard, during the “Bachelorette” Season 19 premiere.
“Of course, no one was ever using his name maliciously or to be mean or bully him,” Recchia, 26, said on Wednesday’s episode of Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.
That said, Recchia admitted she and Windey, 31, would have preferred that their contestants made “a little less” snide remarks about Echard, 29, when arriving at the “Bachelor” mansion in Monday’s episode.
“I’m sure he would’ve as well, but it was just all kind of in good fun in a way to try to connect with us since the only time [the contestants] ever saw us was on his season,” she explained.
Windey added that she and Recchia “understand” if Echard and his girlfriend, Susie Evans, found the comments inappropriate — because even the co-leads hoped the men would stop bringing up their ex.
“It was literally just a week prior that [‘The Bachelor’] had ended and everybody saw the ending at ‘After the Final Rose.’ So it’s still so fresh,” Windey reasoned.
“So I think watching it back this many months later … [people are like], ‘Why now?’ But you also have to remember when we were filming, it was really fresh.”
The ICU nurse then reiterated that the comments were not “slander” or “malicious.”
“I feel they were just trying to poke fun at it,” she said of her and the flight instructor’s contestants. “But we understand, definitely, where they’re coming from.”
During the premiere, multiple contestants took jabs at Echard for telling the current “Bachelorettes” that he loved them and sleeping with them during the fantasy suites of “The Bachelor” Season 26.
One contestant slammed the former “Bachelor” as a “piece of s–t,” while another brought a children’s choir to sing “Clayton Sucks.”
Following the episode, Evans, 28, revealed she did not appreciate the wisecracks, mainly because she was worried it would “open the floodgates back up of all the hate” that her boyfriend received when his season aired earlier this year.
“Clayton handled it better overall than I did. I was annoyed,” the videographer said on Tuesday’s episode of the “Off the Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe” podcast. “But Clayton definitely was going with the flow. … He was able to laugh.”
And yet, the former football player himself admitted he was not thrilled with the episode.
“Do I think that’s what should have been shown? I mean, no. I do think it was cyberbullying or an attack or it’s going to lead to cyberbullying,” he said on the podcast. “And so for that, I’m not the biggest fan of how that was shown, but it was and … it’s just the nature of the beast.”
“The Bachelorette” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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