The Bachelorette alum, 27, shared a lengthy letter via Reddit on Friday, November 26, noting that it was “the first and likely only time” he would ever speak directly to the fans on the thread. He began by thanking those who have supported him and Thurston, 30, noting that not all the comments have been positive.
While he agreed that everyone should be allowed to voice their opinions, he divulged in the post that it “hurts” him to see “so many of you build assumptions and throw around accusations” about their new romance.
“Katie and I developed an incredible and deep friendship over the last half year or so. The circumstances by which this friendship formed was a series of crazy, random and coincidental events, that I’m sure you will all hear about at a later time,” Hersey wrote. “My point for now is that we were ALWAYS platonic. Even during my short stint on the season, we never had a chance to foster anything romantic (read as: John blew his chance and left the next day hahaha). The boundaries of our friendship with respect to her ongoing relationship never even required addressing, because it was never a thought in our minds that we would ever be anything more.”
The bartender then stressed how seriously he and Thurston took her engagement to Moynes, 31. “You guys — she was engaged. It is apparent that many of you misjudge how both her and I view that commitment,” he continued. “Neither Katie nor I would ever cheat, push someone to cheat or be involved in cheating. It is not in our nature. It is not acceptable. It is not OK. On second thought, maybe this message deserves its own paragraph: There was no wrongdoing prior to the end of their engagement.”
Hersey acknowledged the rapid pace at which he and the former bank marketing manager moved after her breakup. “Furthermore, I understand that the timeline seems fast and messy. But I urge you to put yourselves in our shoes,” he shared. “Once Katie and I realized there was a romantic connection that we were interested in exploring, we were not starting from scratch; we were building off of the foundation of a close friendship through which we had already gotten to know each other so well. The speed at which I fell for this incredible, nurturing and genuinely caring human being was honestly terrifying. I was scared. But every step of the way felt so right.”
The California native pointed out that he and Thurston knew “the optics” would be “the only difficult part” of their relationship.
“To those of you that suggest we should have waited — I understand. I hear you,” he elaborated. “But try to understand what it’s like for me, a regular guy, falling helplessly for his best friend, not being able to take her out for dinner because photos would likely leak and everybody would assume we were trying to foster some sort of secret and scandalous relationship haha. Our decision to come out publicly was a decision to pursue happiness in the way we wanted.”
Hersey concluded by apologizing to fans who “have felt emotionally triggered by how our actions have been perceived.” He added: “I’m sorry if it looked as though either of us were taking advantage of anyone’s trust. I have tried to respond directly to those individuals that were affected.”
Thurston and Moynes got engaged during the season 17 finale of The Bachelorette, which aired in August. They announced their split on October 25 after six months together. The Washington native revealed her romance with Hersey — whom she sent home during week two of the show but became friends with after filming — on Tuesday, November 23.
The wildlife manager reacted to the news during the Wednesday, November 24, episode of the “Talking It Out With Bachelor Nation” podcast. “I really don’t think there was any physical cheating there, but there [was] clearly emotional [cheating] for it to transition so quickly as it did,” Moynes said, noting that his ex did not give him any warning that she was dating Hersey before sharing it publicly. “I feel stupid and foolish for allowing it to happen, to some degree.”
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