Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. Defends Krystal Nielson: ‘She Put Our Relationship First’

All things said and done, Krystal Nielson may actually be competing on The Bachelor season 22 for all the right reasons.

Fans have dubbed the 29-year-old fitness coach as this season’s villain, but Arie Luyendyk Jr. is coming to her defense. Though tensions escalated in their relationship on the Monday, January 22, episode, Luyendyk, 36, vows that Nielson has good intentions.

Recap: During the Monday night rose ceremony, the San Diego native pulled aside the race car driver even though he decided to forego the cocktail party.

“I don’t know actually know why she did that, to be honest, because that week wasn’t a hard week for us,” the real estate agent said on The Ben and Ashely I Almost Famous podcast earlier this week. “Our group date was really, really fun and she was on that little group with me during the hike. I just feel like she saw other relationships forming and she had that early one-on-one, so it’s probably hard for her to really adapt to being on these group dates.”

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Krystal and Arie Luyendyk Jr. Paul Hebert via Getty Images

The bearer of red roses also teased that he and Nielson will once again face challenges in their relationship in the upcoming Monday, January 29, episode. “It explodes, but that doesn’t mean you can get over that,” Luyendyk said. “I think sometimes, with a little conflict in the show, I will have to say it’s good if you can get through things together. I think, looking back on it, you’re seeing it from a different perspective. But our relationship, at this point in the show, is going really good.”

Luyendyk added: “We do have some conflict next week, but, you know, I know it’s so cliche to say, but she wasn’t there to make friends. She put our relationship first and that caused some conflict and I think that there is something to be said about somebody that fights for the time that you get together, because you do have such a limited time.”

The Scottsdale native also defended the Orange Theory instructor’s sultry voice, which has been the topic of much discussion and criticism this season. “I mean, I don’t think it’s that bad. I know you guys think it’s terrible, but I often found it to be sweet,” he gushed, later admitting that he found Nielson to be the best dressed on night one “because the red really popped out.”

As previously reported, Luyendyk brought Nielson to his hometown for their first date, a luxury typically reserved for the final two contestants. It was there that Nielson met Luyendyk’s family, watched his old home videos and toured his high school.

Arie and Krystal on The Bachelor
Arie and Krystal on The Bachelor

The romantic rendezvous left Nielson believing she was “emotionally ahead of the other women,” a source recently told Us. “She knows his family so he thinks she knows him best.”

However, Nielson’s confidence may lead to her downfall. A source tells Us that, on an upcoming group date, “Krystal gets mad when Arie invites all the women to an afterparty originally meant just for the winners. She calls him a liar, locks herself in her room and refuses to come downstairs.”

Luyendyk then comes to her rescue. “Arie gives in and goes to find her,” the insider adds. “Krystal wants Arie to seek her out in a crowd — she doesn’t care what the other women think of her.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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