Bachelor in Paradise's September 6 episode appeared to catch Brendan using Natasha as a placeholder, waiting for Pieper -- whom he apparently dated for about two months "without labels" before Season 7 of the spin off began filming -- to arrive in Paradise.
"The intent to go somewhere to bamboozle someone, to lie, to scheme, to whatever for an actual following, that's not dumb, it's malicious. It's ridiculous! It's like, 'What world are you living on?'" Natasha shared on Thursday's episode of her Click Bait with Bachelor Nation podcast.
Natasha continued, "The most hurtful thing to hear is that after watching Monday's episode, people [are] saying things like, 'Natasha's not saying the full truth,' and 'Natasha was in on it.' But Brendan and I had never met before [filming]."
"People are literally saying that I planned this with Brendan and Pieper," she added, "[Pieper], a person I've met once in my life, and [Brendan], a person I've never met who are in a relationship -- who did me so wrong."
Natasha said she wouldn't gain a thing from pretending to be hurt and betrayed.
"Why would I create my own heartbreak?" Natasha reasoned, adding how fans can't help but always question the show's authenticity due to some people having questionable motives in the past.
"When people say things like, 'Oh, I'm a producer plant,' because these are my actual real feelings and I don't just break down and go in a corner and cry. I lean into things. Like, don't say that to me, these are my real feelings!"
Reports swirled in June that Brendan and Pieper were dating and spending time together in the real world.
Natasha recalled of meeting Pieper, "There was a big weekend in New York when a bunch of people from [Tayshia Adams]' season came [to New York City] and a bunch of the girls from Matt James' season that live here," Natasha explained to Tayshia and Joe Amabile on the podcast.
Natasha said Pieper, at the time, hinted about how she had just begun talking to someone but photos of Pieper and Brendan together didn't surface until Bachelor in Paradise's cast was "already in quarantine" in Mexico and they had their phones taken away.
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"I did not see that [picture]. I had no idea about [Brendan and Pieper]. Of course I would have asked him about that," the event planner explained.
Once Natasha got to the beach and talk of Brendan and Pieper dating came up, Natasha said, "It was like, 'Brendan's in a relationship with Pieper.' Well, what are you doing here if you're not in a relationship?... [He said], 'Oh, we're not in a relationship. We only met a few times.'"
Natasha continued, "When he said to me that it was casual [and] they only hung out twice... I believed him. That was a choice to believe him. I was like, 'Well, Pieper is not here. He's here and this show is about dating."
Natasha said just because two people meet or hang out, it doesn't automatically mean they're dating.
Natasha therefore can't believe fans have been accusing her of being "in on" the drama.
"Don't say, 'Oh, Natasha was brought in to bring Pieper and Brendan down.' All these things. I'm watching this and I'm reliving this and I cried for two weeks on that f-cking beach," Natasha said, breaking down into tears.
"I want to focus on the positive, because there's so much positive, but to know what they did and the lies that he said. The things that we shared and it was all just fake to him and it was all for this other reason."
Natasha then pointed out how it was also hurtful to hear Brendan tell Pieper that he found Natasha "annoying."
"The whole time I was on that beach, I was trying to make him feel comfortable because I believed him," Natasha said. "It's been very hard to watch this back... [Being trusting] backfired on national television for me."
Natasha said she had "justified" Brendan moving slowly in their relationship in Paradise because he had opened up about having been married and divorced before. She felt he was just "guarded" because of his tumultuous past.
But Brendan, while covering his microphone on the beach, admitted to "incriminating" himself by essentially admitting to Pieper he had downplayed their pre-Paradise romance to other cast members and had to do "certain things" in the Paradise process to ensure he'd receive a rose so they could be on the beach at the same time.
Natasha, who developed strong feelings for Brendan along the way, called the bachelor "a liar" and clout-chaser considering Brendan had insisted he and Pieper just had a "super casual" fling back home and had only hung out twice -- when, in reality, he and Pieper had enjoyed about 10 dates.
Natasha said on Click Bait it was probably "naive" of her to trust Brendan and assume everyone in Paradise had joined the cast with the same pure intentions as her own.
While Tayshia noted it seemed like Brendan and Pieper wanted to gain more Instagram followers, Joe suggested maybe the pair just wanted a free, romantic couples' vacation.
Brendan's follower count on Instagram has since dropped drastically, and Pieper also lost thousands of followers while Natasha's count continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
As shown on Bachelor in Paradise, Pieper immediately asked Brendan out on a date once she entered the resort.
"There were certain things that had to be done and certain ways I navigated this to bring us to this particular moment," Brendan explained to Pieper during their date.
"I can't have a girlfriend entering this whole journey, like, if you have a full girlfriend going into Paradise... it's not a good look. So if I tell everyone, 'Hey, Pieper might be coming, so nobody talk to me,' what would happen is I would go home."
Pieper replied with a smile, "And then I would be here just twiddling my thumbs."
Brendan continued, "Obviously I was just navigating this in a way to allow myself to potentially, hopefully be here while you're here."
Pieper said, "I get it. Thanks for playing the game."
Once Pieper and Brendan returned to the beach from their date, Pieper called Brendan her "boyfriend" and they didn't hide their feelings and affection for one another.
At the sight of them, Natasha lamented, "I feel like a casualty in [Brendan]'s convoluted plan."
Natasha let the cameras know that she felt "played" and "swindled" by "a con artist" who had "lied" and "manipulated" her.
When Natasha confronted Brendan about having lied about the extent of his pre-show relationship with Pieper, Brendan accused Natasha of having had "selective hearing" when they'd talk about their connection, which he ultimately dubbed just "a friendship."
Brendan was also later shown bragging to Pieper about how Natasha didn't have any other "prospects" and so he essentially did her a favor by giving her a rose so she could stay in Paradise longer.
Natasha therefore accused Brendan of "gaslighting" her and being disrespectful on Twitter.
Pieper said of Natasha during the episode, "I think you did the heavylifting for me so I could just swoop in."
"I paved the way," Brendan confirmed with pride.
The majority of Bachelor Nation appeared shocked and disgusted by Brendan and Pieper's apparent ploy for fame, and so the pair faced major backlash online.
"After taking time to begin to process the events that unfolded over the past few days, I have realized I was wrong on so many different levels," Brendan subsequently wrote on his Instagram Stories on Wednesday.
Brendan admitted he had been "completely insensitive" by poking fun of the situation on Instagram, and he added, "I apologize to you, Natasha. I hurt you. I am deeply sorry for doing so. I understand that the damage is already done and all I can do going forward is acknowledge the error of my ways."
The 31-year-old commercial roofer from the Boston area added, "For those of you that felt my actions triggered certain feelings and emotions I am truly sorry."
"Lastly, despite the fact that Pieper and I had misunderstandings going into paradise (and I can't stress this enough) -- If you feel the need to express disdain for the situation, please do so at my expense," Brendan concluded.
"I am completely at fault. A full statement and apology will follow."
Prior to appearing on Bachelor in Paradise, Brendan competed for Tayshia's heart on The Bachelorette's sixteenth season and Natasha was one of the bachelorettes on Peter Weber's The Bachelor season.
Pieper competed for Matt James' heart on The Bachelor earlier this year.