Putting the real in reality TV? While eagle-eyed Bachelor fans shared their theories about potential production tricks to keep the identities of Clayton Echard’s final contestants under wraps, Katie Thurston is adding her two cents to the conversation.
Katie, 30, replied to a fan’s TikTok post on Thursday, February 3, in which a social media user speculated that the ABC producers have attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of viewers while teasing the remained of season 26.
“The Bachelor is manipulating you,” TikTok user @gillydeee claimed in her video, to which the season 17 Bachelorette lead replied, “Manipulation? Noooo. This is ✨ reality ✨ TV.”
In the rest of the TikTok, the fan points out, “They’re making you think [the woman in the black dress] is Shanae [Ankney] and Genevieve [Parisi], but look, black dress [and] red dress. Genevieve is not wearing a red dress, one, Shanae has, like, jewels. They try to make you think Shanae is crying but look at the bitch crying, she doesn’t have the jewels on the front!”
The social media revelation came after rewatching a December 2021 sneak peek of an upcoming episode, in which the former football player, 28, told two women he was intimate with both of them.
While the end of Clayton’s journey remains to be seen, Katie’s turn as Bachelorette didn’t skimp on the drama.
The Washington native previously competed on season 25 of The Bachelor before being named The Bachelorette last year. Amid Katie’s onscreen journey to find love, she fell for finalists Greg Grippo (whom she alleged gaslit her), Michael Allio and eventual winner Blake Moynes. While the former bank marketing manager nearly quit her overwhelming journey, she stuck it out and eventually accepted a proposal from the 31-year-old Canada native.
“At that moment, I was at my lowest and really wanted to leave,” Katie previously told Us Weekly ahead June 2021 premiere, noting she was unsure whether she would find her happy ending on the show. “And if it wasn’t for the amazing women who have been Bachelorettes before helping me navigate that, I probably would have. And so, I’m so thankful for all of them.”
She continued at the time: “I think I was just, like, so overwhelmed. You see [me], like, crying of relief and happiness and excitement to have [cohosts Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams] there to help me. … I’m excited. I’m anxious [and] I’m scared, you know, reliving those connections or heartbreak, that’s going to be tough.”
Katie and Blake called it quits on their romance in October 2021, three months after the season 17 finale aired. Since then, she’s moved on with former contestant John Hersey, who she sent home during the second week of her journey.
The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.