Zach and Rachel have been candid -- and sometimes brutally honest -- when commenting on the demise of their relationship ever since their breakup aired onThe Bachelorette's nineteenth season last year.
Zach, who self-eliminated from Rachel's The Bachelorette season in third place, claimed on the January 20 episode of "The Ben & Ashley I: Almost Famous Podcast" that Rachel had treated him like "a complete stranger" and was "interviewing" him behind closed doors.
Zach said none of his answers were "good enough" for Rachel in their Fantasy Suite, and he complained that Rachel had "blindsided" him -- which left him fearful of "people putting it on for the camera" when he subsequently filmedThe Bachelor.
"[I worried as the star], 'Are you here for the followers or Instagram or this and that -- to be famous -- or are you actually open to the idea of finding love and being open to that?'" Zach said.
"And I went through that with Rachel thinking about it afterwards, 'Wait, which one was it?' After [Rachel]'s season, I carried that on of being like, 'Hey, we're communicating everything, good or bad. Let me know who you are or it's going to come out.'"
Zach also told Us last month that he and Rachel had a "lack of communication," which led to "a lot of question marks and a lot of guessing" and resulted in "shock" on his part.
During the February 6 episode of "The Ben and Ashley I: Almost Famous Podcast," Rachel said it was "shocking" and "so hurtful" Zach continued to paint her in a "really negative" light in the media after her season ended.
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"I'm actually shocked at the things I have heard... There was all of this talk of, 'I want someone authentic on and off camera,' as if me choosing or feeling stronger feelings for other people somehow made me not authentic," Rachel said.
OnThe Bachelorette: After the Final Rose for Season 19 that aired in September, Zach apologized to Rachel for questioning her character on television, and the exes seemed very understanding of each other's viewpoint.
Rachel even admitted that her heart had been leading her in a different direction during Fantasy Suites and so Zach had every right to feel rejected or doubtful of their connection at that point in their journey.
"I thought at our After the Final Rose, we did make up," Rachel said.
When asked what exactly went down in the Fantasy Suite, from her perspective, Rachel shared, "We definitely talked about what a life would look like if we raised kids."
She elaborated, "You start asking those really important questions off-camera, and I mean, there were things we didn't align with... the way we want to raise families and the way we want to live life."
Rachel said she believes the whole point of the Fantasy Suites is to ask "hard questions" given an engagement "is serious."
And Rachel explained that once she and Zach got to talk in an intimate setting -- without cameras or the bells and whistles of a Bachelorette-style date -- they began to see they're not really compatible.
"I thought we were both on the same page of, 'Maybe we're not [right for each other]. Maybe this kind of isn't going to work.' Did we say that out loud? No... [But the Fantasy Suite] solidified it for me," Rachel recalled.
Rachel also shot down Zach's claim she was "inauthentic" and "acting" during her The Bachelorette season. Rachel didn't think she was "a different person off-camera" at all.
"It very obviously wasn't [acting]," Rachel argued.
"People watched me time after time send people home on the spot when I knew it wasn't right, and I genuinely cared about Zach so much that I wanted to give him his time and I wanted to see if we could align."
Rachel went on to reveal her "main issue" with Zach throwing shade at her in the media.
"Because it didn't go his way -- I mean, even after [my] apology, it's still being painted like this. It's really just so hurtful," Rachel noted.
Zach, once again, alluded to his romance with Rachel during his one-on-one date with Gabi Elnicki that aired on The Bachelor's February 20 broadcast.
"Last season, I thought that I knew someone and then I learned that I didn't," Zach told the account executive from Vermont.
"It was devastating to me, and I want something real. Like, I want that long-lasting love that's so hard to find... The little things are huge."
Rachel then apparently took the high road when she tweeted on February 21, "Let's all be mindful and extend a little bit of compassion and grace towards the leads of the show."