Luke Pell has learned a lesson: Dating on reality television doesn’t make dating in reality easy.
The Bachelorette alum, 32, was slammed on Twitter Wednesday, April 4, after fashion blogger Airelle Snyder and Bachelor season 21 contestant Lauren Hussey opened up on YouTube about their romances with Pell.
In a video titled “The Almost Bachelor: Our Untold Story,” Snyder, who dates Bachelorette alum Jordan Rodgers’ brother Luke, and Hussey, who was sent packing by Nick Viall on night one, allege that Pell cheated and played them. (Refresher: He was set to star on the ABC series until producers pulled the plug in a last-minute switch-up.)
Now, the Nashville-based singer is sharing his side of the story exclusively with Us Weekly.
“They want to slash my character,” the Army vet says. “I’m respectful. If they want to take it in another direction, that’s their prerogative. I don’t approve of it, but that’s their choice.”
Pell says Hussey reached out to him in early October, after she was sent home from The Bachelor. “We kept our relationship quiet and got to know each other,” says Pell. “We didn’t know how to handle it, if we wanted to go public or stay private. I was trying to take it slow. There’s so much pressure and attention on social media. I didn’t want to make this harder than it had to be.” (Hussey, who was actually cast for Pell’s season, asserts otherwise. The romance “moved pretty quickly, faster than I was expecting,” the 30-year-old said in her 18-minute video with Snyder.)
The pair told each other they weren’t seeing other people and dated into the New Year. In January, Pell met her family while visiting their home in Colorado. There, according to Hussey, they even watched the premiere of Viall’s season: “Just the idea that we could have been on the show together made things a little strange because, I think, at times we were like, ‘Wow, we could be engaged right now.’”
As is the case with most romances, their flame fizzled. Florida-based Hussey moved to Nashville and “two weeks into January, I just knew it wasn’t going to work,” Pell says. “We had a breakup conversation.” But cutting ties wasn’t so simple. “We went through a phase where we still talked and still texted with each other,” he adds. “It was hard. But then we got past it. We stopped talking completely.” (Hussey, for her part, said she “found proof I wasn’t the only person” and that Pell admitted to it: “It seemed like nothing we had was special. Everything that was being said to me was being said to other people.”)
His experience with Snyder is a different story. Pell met the Nashville resident, who he had heard about through mutual friends, over the summer while he was still in contention to be The Bachelor. “She was possibly going to be on the show and I thought we would get to know each other better there,” he says. “We talked back and forth maybe three times at the most.”
When producers ultimately chose Viall to lead season 21 over Pell, he says Snyder continued to reach out. “I was over all dating conversations at that point and I wanted to move on,” he continues. “She was someone I talked to a few times, so this wasn’t a big deal. I just stopped talking to her. On that video, she made it seem liked I dated her, but there is no way I ever dated her! There was never a relationship to break up from. It was never at that level. It seems like she wants the social media attention of saying that she dated me, which has more weight than saying she talked to me a few times. Nobody cares about that. If it looks like I did her wrong and did her an injustice then she gets more attention.”
Snyder, however, tells Us it was Pell who persuaded her to try out for the show. “I care nothing about being famous as I never wanted to go on TV. I always wanted a normal relationship with him,” she says. “The video was meant to help women look for signs in their relationships to save them from heartbreak. Lauren’s story, which was shared on my YouTube channel, is meant to not only help women but to save these poor girls who may believe his story. What he is doing to women is unacceptable. No one should stand for such behavior. When he started name calling and attacking my current relationship it clearly made him look guilty. I truly hope he finds a way to make this right and publicly apologize for treating women so poorly.”
Today, Pell confirms he is definitely single. Though he previously told Us he was seeing Danielle Lombard, another season 21 contestant, Pell says they’re not dating. (Lombard echoed this in an April 4 tweet.) “Danielle and I have fun together,” says Pell. “We’re not exclusive. We haven’t opened up about our pasts because we’re not there. We’re just friends.”
And while he did tweet a meme — “haters gonna hate; trolls gonna troll” — on April 4, supposedly in response to fans calling him a “player” and a “douche,” Pell insists the backlash doesn’t phase him. “I am who I am and I don’t have time for people who sit in their basement and troll people on Twitter,” he tells Us. “Anybody I respect couldn’t care less.”