Eating his words? Love Is Blind‘s Cole Barnett took ex-fiancée Zanab Jaffrey‘s claims about her self-worth to heart.
The twosome got engaged in the pods during season 3, but their journey didn’t have a happy ending. On their wedding day, Zanab, 32, rejected the real estate mogul, 27, claiming he “single-handedly shattered [her] self-confidence” with critiques and insults.
Looking back on what could have been, Cole exclusively told Us Weekly he had some regrets. “I sure hope I didn’t shatter her self-confidence,” he said before the dramatic reunion special hit Netflix on Wednesday, November 9. “But, for sure, I see where she’s coming from and … why she would’ve felt that way.”
According to Cole, the former couple have not been in touch since their breakup. Zanab, for her part, told Us she doesn’t expect to hear from her ex, who claimed he was “blindsided” when she left him at the altar.
“I think if he has questions he could definitely pick up the phone and ask,” she explained. “I would love to clear up anything for him. I tried to be very clear at the altar [about] exactly why I was leaving and why it was a no.”
Zanab pointed out that she “tried to bring up those concerns” to Cole “multiple times” before their wedding day, but she was “dismissed.” The flight attendant noted: “It was deflected to me having a bad attitude and not being sweet enough and not having fun conversations, [being] passive aggressive. My mental health was questioned. So, I definitely did try [to tell him].”
As they prepared to walk down the aisle, the duo faced a number of bumps in the road. After leaving the pods, Cole told Zanab that she wasn’t the type of girl he was usually more drawn to, adding that he would rate her as a “9 out of 10.” Fellow contestant Colleen Reed, however, was a “10 out of 10” in his eyes. (The ballet dancer, 26, married Matt Bolton on finale day.)
Watching the season back was “really hard” for Cole, who told Us he wasn’t proud of comparing the two women. “Everything that just feels out of character for me and that I’m like, ‘I didn’t feel that way. I don’t know why it came across that way.’ I mean, the rating women thing was really ridiculous to watch. I thought that was very disgusting to even be rating people. Like, that’s just ridiculous.”
Zanab didn’t hold back when she broke up with Cole — and she went even further during the bombshell season 3 reunion. “The pushing food away from me, the asking me if I’m going to eat that, trying to get me to order a salad, the daily comments about my face and my body were not used,” she claimed, telling hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey that it was a “saving grace” that not everything Cole said made the final cut. “And that’s great because it really did protect you and you are now denying it and calling me a liar in front of all these people.”
She went on to allege that her then-fiancé tried to “control” her meals, confessing that she “stopped eating” during filming. Cole denied her claims, arguing, “That’s hilarious, I never once cared about what you ate.”
After their ups and downs made waves with viewers, Zanab and Cole addressed the reunion drama via their respective social media accounts. While Cole briefly thanked his followers for their support, Zanab penned a lengthier reflection.
“An apology for the internet: I am sorry. I’m sorry you weren’t in that relationship. I’m sorry you didn’t feel what I felt. I’m sorry we don’t have the same triggers. I’m sorry me standing up for myself, offended you so greatly. I’m sorry you didn’t see all the reasons for what I said,” she captioned an Instagram post. “I’m sorry you didn’t live that with me. I’m sorry that you don’t know me. I’m sorry your insecurities are different than my own. I’m sorry your online hate says so much more of you than it ever will of me. … One thing about me, I choose my words carefully and I stand by everything I said.”
Love Is Blind season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi