Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Monday, February 17, episode of The Bachelor.
During Victoria Fuller‘s hometown date, Merissa approached Peter Weber. The pair had dated for five months in 2012 and ended on a good note — as friends. However, she had also been friends with Victoria, 24, and wasn’t so sure that she was on the show for the right reasons.
“Our first encounter was that she told me she was going to slash my tires because I was hanging out with one of her ex-boyfriends,” the former Miss Teen Virginia said, but since they had so many mutual friends and lived in a small town, they were cordial and ran in the same circles. However, once Victoria was cast on the show, “she just became a very self-centered person and we were all out for our friend’s birthday and she was just acting crazy — just wanting all the attention and it was very distasteful. She was like, ‘Do you know who I am?'”
Once the series began filming, she briefly spoke with producers with the information she had, but it never got anywhere.
“I knew who Victoria was, as far as her reputation, but I honestly didn’t know that she had done as much damage as she had done to our hometown,” Merissa said to Us, claiming that Victoria had broken up four marriages. “It kind of started becoming a trend. … I felt like she was a little more entitled or felt that way at least. And so just leading up to that, I felt like, all these people out here aren’t going to say anything? I had a totally different stance than everybody because I knew Peter, I know his family and I know what type of person he is. So I just felt like, if anyone were to say something, I felt like he probably would listen to me vs some random girl.”
The model claims that the producers then reached out the Sunday before the show and said they wanted “to have a conversation” about possibly appearing on the show.
“I talked to them for about an hour. They said they’d call me back. They didn’t call me back until about 9:30 [p.m.] and they were like, ‘Hey, we don’t feel like we’ve vetted the situation enough to bring you on the show.’ I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a bummer, but I wish him the best and I totally understand.’ So I was kinda just like mulling over how I could still make it work,” she explained to Us, adding that she called a producer the next day asking if she could watch filming and “maybe talk to Peter” after his date. The producer agreed and texted her 30 minutes before she needed to be there.
“I ended up going, I signed paperwork just like everybody else. I wasn’t mic’d up or anything,” she said. Merissa stayed and watched the day of production before calling out to Peter, 28. “I noticed that Peter and Victoria were separated and so I was like, ‘OK, well I guess if I’m going to do something, I need to do it now,’ because I knew going into it, I had prepped myself to not use slander words, like, I’m only going to be forthcoming if it’s invitational.”
With that, she and the pilot talked for about 7 minutes, the marketing coordinator explained. During their talk, she claimed that Victoria had broken up four marriages. “He was definitely upset. Everybody could kind of tell the mood shifted,” she added, noting that Peter told her he trusted her when they parted ways.
Overall, Merissa is happy she decided to come on the show; she claims many women who had been hurt by Victoria didn’t feel comfortable going on the show, but she “didn’t have anything to lose” by speaking up.
“One of the other wives actually confronted me when I was at a bar in Virginia Beach and I didn’t know that that’s who she was until after the fact. And she was like, ‘I just want to thank you so much. You took on a huge burden that a lot of us couldn’t take on because of other reasons,'” Merissa said. “It’s definitely been crazy. I definitely lost friends because everybody hopped on the fame train, which is fine. They’ll figure it out one way or another. But I never got, the only two hate mail messages were from two people from our hometown that quickly jumped to her side. But other than that, everyone’s like, ‘Thank you for doing that.'”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe