Bachelor in Paradise's September 6 episode appeared to catch Brendan using Natasha for roses while waiting for Pieper -- whom he apparently dated for about two months "without labels" before Season 7 of the spinoff began filming -- to arrive on the beach.
Brendan admitted to Pieper he had downplayed the extent of their pre-Paradise relationship in order to "navigate" the Paradise process, and Natasha called Brendan "a liar" and clout-chaser for stringing her along and insisting he just had a "super casual" fling with Pieper before the show.
As Natasha struggled to mend her broken heart, Brendan and Pieper laughed about having incriminated themselves and were shown discussing their thousands of Instagram followers, which have since plummeted.
"I didn't go into Paradise with the intention of hurting anyone, nor would I ever want to be the reason why someone had a bad experience," Pieper, 24, toldUs Weekly in a recent statement.
"I went in excited to see a guy that I had connected with and liked before the show started filming, and was looking forward to seeing if that connection would grow into something more."
But before the shocking and controversial episode aired, Pieper posted pictures of herself on Instagram and wrote, "All's fair in love and war," after Brendan joked about having appeared on Bachelor in Paradise for "the wrong reasons."
Pieper went on to explain in her statement, "I had a friendship with Natasha before the show and had spoken to her about me and Brendan talking. With that said, I am truly sorry for any hurt that I caused her and hope that I get the opportunity to speak to her soon and make things right."
Shortly after the September 6 broadcast, Pieper addressed all the backlash from Bachelor in Paradise fans on her Instagram Stories.
"Just a gentle reminder that reality TV isn't real. An edited, produced and cut down show isn't going to show you every single thing said and done. An edited and produced show can't show you conversations that happened before filming between friends," Pieper wrote in part.
"I make light of this show because it's a light hearted show... Viewers are shown what makes the best television."
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When Us asked Pieper about the Instagram Stories posting, Pieper said, "I'm not an extension of Brendan and his actions, and I don't condone dishonest behavior."
"I got caught up in the moment while I was with Brendan in Paradise, and while I don't fully blame editing, it doesn't always tell the whole story."
Around the same time Pieper made these statements, Natasha addressed the scandal on the September 9 episode of her Click Bait with Bachelor Nation podcast.
Natasha claimed she had never met Brendan before filming Bachelor in Paradise and she and Pieper had only met one time.
Natasha said Pieper had hinted about "talking" to a new guy at the time but when a photo of Pieper and Brendan together surfaced on the Internet, she and the rest of the Bachelor in Paradise cast were "already in quarantine" in Mexico and had their phones taken away.
"I did not see that [picture]. I had no idea about [Brendan and Pieper]. Of course I would have asked him about that," Natasha 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 [I made] to believe him. I was like, 'Well, Pieper is not here. He's here and this show is about dating.'"
Natasha also insisted Brendan's betrayal was devastating and she had no part in the scheming.
Natasha said it would make no sense for her to pretend to get her heartbroken on TV for the sake of entertainment, Instagram followers or anything else.
It's unclear if Pieper was aware of Natasha's podcast comments and responding to them on Thursday in her statement to Us.
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."
Brendan 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," he concluded.
"I am completely at fault. A full statement and apology will follow."
Brendan competed for Tayshia Adams' heart on The Bachelorette's sixteenth season last year and quit before their Fantasy Suite date because he said he wasn't ready to get engaged again after going through a divorce.
Natasha was one of the bachelorettes on Peter Weber's The Bachelor season.