'The Bachelor: The Women Tell All' recap: Victoria cries, Pieper admits she was "in love" with Matt, Serena P. gets emotional, and Matt attempts to give women closure
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/02/2021
The Bachelor: The Women Tell All, which featured Matt James and most of the bachelorettes he had denied roses to during The Bachelor's 2021 season, was controversial, explosive and heartwarming all at the same time.
Monday night's The Women Tell All special for Matt's season was hosted by Chris Harrison, and ABC pointed out in an onscreen graphic the special was pre-recorded on February 4.
The broadcast featured loads of drama as the women faced off against each other and were put on the spot about bullying and mean-girl behavior over the course of the season.
Both Abigail Heringer and Pieper James took the hot seat and opened up about how their feelings for Matt were stronger than they had let on, and Katie Thurston shared how she is now the prime version of herself and ready to find true love.
Serena Pitt also confessed how she still cares deeply for Matt.
And when Matt sat in the hot seat, he was a bit overwhelmed to see his ex-girlfriends all in one room but was able to give a couple of bachelorettes the closure they needed.
Matt was open about the fact he's not a perfect person but certainly learned a lot through the dating experience and became a better person because of each and every woman he got to know on The Bachelor's 25th season.
Below are the highlights fromThe Bachelor: The Women Tell All broadcast.
Jessenia said MJ made the women uncomfortable and wouldn't own up to her behavior with Matt.
MJ insisted she took responsibility for her actions on the two-on-one date with Matt, which was the first time she had been able to address the drama and talk about. MJ said she had acknowledged and apologized for injecting humor into uncomfortable situations that was taken out of context.
"I would say those accusations [of me lying] were a bit of a stretch because I owned it and apologized for it," MJ said.
Mari told Jessenia that MJ was certainly not fake, and MJ admitted it was hard to be singled out.
"I do have a strong personality, and that should not be misconstrued as 'mean,'" MJ said.
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Jessenia said she just "tells it like it is" and felt the need to be honest with Matt.
Ryan Claytor said entering the game late was awkward and the new women were greeted with a lot of disrespect.
Mari said there are many sides to Victoria and while she's a funny "girls' girl," she sometimes made jokes at the expense of others and took things too far -- like calling a woman "disgusting" or a "slore."
"It's hard to hear yourself being called 'a ho' on national television," Ryan admitted.
Ryan said dancers are not hoes and being a member of the arts community means so much more than physical appearance. Ryan called Victoria's comments "super hurtful."
Victoria questioned if Ryan was just "an emotional person" because she was subjected to some bullying and jokes made at her expense as well. For example, Victoria said memes were created to make fun of her swollen eye or bra straps showing in dresses.
"I think that anybody can be emotional in a situation when they're called a ho, an idiot or a shady b-tch. So I'm sorry that affects me," Ryan said with attitude.
Ryan essentially suggested that Victoria deserves the hate and backlash she's been receiving because she chose to do and say whatever she wanted.
Victoria accused Ryan of "holding onto emotional anger," and Kit said Ryan had every right to hold onto her pain. Chelsea Vaughn agreed it wasn't right for Victoria to call Ryan sensitive, but Victoria explained that she's able to brush things off.
"I was called a bully on TV," Victoria said.
"But maybe you were!" Ryan noted, pointed out that she wasn't actually a "ho."
Katie said it was hard to watch the season back because people tolerated Victoria's behavior and that's not something she could do.
Victoria said her name-calling was "unacceptable" but the show was "a learning experience" for her. Victoria apologized to Katie, who said she accepted the apology.
Katie said Victoria's backlash was "karma" and she just hoped to move on from the drama.
"I didn't appreciate Katie saying that it's all karma coming back to us. Everyone doesn't deserve the attacking they're getting online," Chelsea said.
Katie pointed out that death threats and body shaming are never acceptable and the house did have some great women -- some of whom got eliminated too early.
"Some of the drama took away from some of the great women who were here. But you are friends with a lot of girls who were the problem, and so I do see why you are blind to it," Katie told Chelsea.
Chelsea said the house was not toxic until Katie made the house toxic by bringing the situation up to Matt and then "causing a Domino affect" that led to more drama.
Mari accused Katie of going the hardest at Sarah and then flipping a switch the next day by preaching to the girls about doing better because she had learned Sarah's personal story.
Mari called Katie's actions "fake as hell," but Katie argued, "It's called learning; it's called growing."
Katie said she is outspoken and felt she had owed it to Matt and the environment to make her opinions known. Serena Chew said Katie just wanted to "start a fire," but Jessenia disagreed and said Katie's intentions were not to improve her relationship with Matt.
Jessenia reminded everyone that at the time Katie spoke up, an awful rumor was going around the house. Jessenia was referring to Brittany Galvin and how Anna Redman had accused her of being a paid escort in the Chicago area.
Brittany said her time on the show was disappointed because she had been torn down by the other girls and never felt so low in her entire life. Brittany called the rumor shocking and "defeating."
Brittany said when she got back home, she didn't even want to be around her family or friends because she had been so embarrassed. Brittany said her name is next to the word "escort" in everyone's Google search.
"There's nothing wrong with that industry but it's not me... I didn't sign up to get bullied. I didn't sign up to get my name slandered," Brittany explained.
"I came here to find my person and this is forever going to be an association to my name, which is kind of unfair. It's just really f-cked I have to constantly defend my name from now on."
Brittany said although she had received an apology from Anna on the show, Anna never reached out to her after filming wrapped.
Anna said she had no justification for taking down another woman and not thinking about the consequences. Anna said what she did was "awful" and she's "100 times more sorry" after seeing the aftermath of her decision to start the rumor.
"Every thing I did in this situation was wrong, and I'm sorry. It sucks," Anna said with tears.
Brittany hoped Anna was being genuine because she said Anna had plenty of time to reach out to her one-on-one and hash things out. Anna said she no longer wants to be an angry person who lashes out and she had acted out of anger on The Bachelor.
Anna admitted she had been insecure on the show about herself, her time with Matt, and when comparing herself to the other amazing women in the house.
But Anna -- who claimed she didn't have a motive for starting the rumor -- said she had received messages from people who knew Brittany's ex-boyfriends or went to school with her.
"I know what I said can't be unsaid and the damage can't be undone, but I would like to repair some of that damage. I want you to know I am 100 percent sincere -- I am so, so sorry for that," Anna said.
Brittany said she accepted Anna's apology and reminded all the girls that words can really affect people. Because Anna had owned her mistakes, Brittany said she didn't want Anna to receive hate and everyone is deserving of love.
Brittany also noted people in the sex industry should not feel ashamed of their occupation.
Katie says she's in her prime and more confident than ever
After watching her The Bachelor experience back for the first time, Katie's eyes welled up with tears.
"Going through this was the hardest thing I've ever done, and what kept me going was Matt and our connection," Katie said.
Katie said she was convinced Matt was going to meet her family but she wasn't paying attention to Matt's relationships with other women.
Katie told Chris that she finally embraced who she is and was 110% herself with Matt. Katie admitted to hiding parts of her personality or changing herself to fit a man's needs in the past.
Katie said her dynamic with Matt was just "so easy" but after watching his connection with other bachelorettes, she understood why Matt had made the decision to let her go.
Katie didn't feel time was on her side, and she said she never stood a chance when comparing her relationship with Matt to what he had developed with several other bachelorettes.
Katie insisted she'll never stop pursuing love and she's the prime version of herself right now and totally confident in what she brings to the table. Katie said she's ready to meet her person and she just hopes he's still out there.
Abigail said meeting Matt was the closest she's ever felt to "love at first sight" and she was "on [her] way to falling in love."
Abigail wished for more time with Matt but still felt ready to introduce him to her family.
Abigail said she might've been "up there with the frontrunners" had she actually received a one-on-one date with Matt.
Abigail had opened up to Matt about how their children could be deaf if they start a family together one day, and Abigail said she just wanted to be transparent with Matt.
Abigail admitted she was scared to go on The Bachelor at first because of how people might perceive her but the reaction was good overall.
Abigail acknowledged it can be tricky because while she's profoundly deaf and cannot hear a thing without her cochlear implants, she can read lips and does not need sign language to communicate and so she's not technically a member of the "Deaf community" with a capital D.
Abigail shared that she's now a better version of herself and looks forward to meeting her perfect man.
Pieper said she was shocked in the moment of her elimination and never saw it coming. Pieper had a really "hard time" with Matt sending her home because she truly cared for him.
"Were you in love with Matt?" Chris asked Pieper.
"Yeah, I was definitely in love with Matt," Pieper explained.
"By [my one-on-one date with Matt], I think I was in love with him and I think for me, the easiest thing to vocalize was, 'I am falling in love with you,' because that still kept one wall up... like, 'You can't have all of my happiness.' But I was 100 percent in."
Pieper said she trusted Matt's feelings for her when they were together, but hindsight is 20/20 and she wonders now if Matt was 100 percent honest with her about his feelings since they seemed to be on different pages at different times.
Pieper claimed she "really went for it" and left the show "absolutely heartbroken and soul crushed."
However, Pieper said she was glad to go on The Bachelor because she's grown as a person and would never settle again. Pieper said she'd proud of how she expressed herself and now has a better vocabulary on how to do that going forward.
Serena Pitt appears to have lingering feelings for Matt
Chris admitted there were times in the process when he thought Serena was The One for Matt and would end up with him, and Serena acknowledged there were times when she thought the same thing.
Serena said she had been super hopeful about her relationship with Matt and their potential future together.
"I was really falling in love with him and I just really wanted that reassurance from my family," Serena explained, adding, "They did see how amazing Matt was, and they saw our chemistry, but I was hoping to hear them reaffirm everything I already knew."
Serena hoped her family's reaction would make things click for her, but instead, her family warned her to not make a mistake and get engaged too quickly -- which made Serena reflect on where the relationship was going.
Serena said talking to her mother brought her clarity but it was just not the clarity she wanted that day.
Serena confessed she was afraid to trust Matt but really wanted things to work with Matt.
"I wasn't sitting there 100 percent [sure] that Matt is my person and he's the one I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. They could tell something for me was off, and that seed of doubt really grew from hearing that," Serena said.
Chris asked Serena if any part of her was "conflicted" or thinks "maybe I made the wrong call" in leaving the show early.
Serena let out a nervous giggle and got emotional.
"I still care about him so much and the last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt him. And losing him was one thing, but knowing I could be hurting him in the process was just the cherry on top of it all in terms of me feeling hurt and guilty," Serena shared.
"As much as it was really hard though, I would've been doing a disservice to him by staying because as much as I deserve to be 100 percent on someone, he deserves to be with someone who's 100 percent on him -- and I couldn't give him that."
Serena said Matt deserved to explore his the three other relationships he had with "amazing" women and she only wishes the best for him and that he's happy.
Matt James addresses a room full of his ex-girlfriends
Matt joined Chris in the hotseat and admitted he was "a little surprised" by all the drama he watched back on TV.
While he expected a certain amount of tension in the house considering all the women were competing for one man, there were "a million different factors" to take into account and so he didn't want to hold the bachelorettes to "an unrealistic standard."
Matt said he had never been in the women's shoes on The Bachelorette before and so he didn't feel it was right to judge them or assume he would have acted differently in the same situation.
Serena Chew told Matt that she hoped he didn't view any of the women in a negative light after watching the show or think they're bad people, and Matt pointed out, "I am not a perfect person."
Matt said the women had to deal with emotions in real-time and he believes everyone is good to their core -- even Anna, who showed remorse in her conversation with Matt after throwing Brittany under the bus.
Matt called Anna starting a rumor "a lapse in judgment," and he even told Victoria, "I know your heart."
Victoria cried that being involved in drama was a real learning experience because she might've had more of a romance with Matt had she focused on their relationship.
Victoria said it was hard to hear Matt say that she needed to "self-reflect" and that he had "no words" for her because she was doing her best to open up.
"I have a tremendous fear of rejection, and that's why my exit was a little dramatic. I was going through levels of pain at that time," Victoria explained.
"When people ask me about you, I have nothing but good things to say about you," Matt shared.
Matt also apologized to Victoria if she felt offended by what he had said that night.
"I feel like I dropped the ball on our relationship because there's a lot more I could've done for you there that I didn't get the chance to," Matt explained to Victoria.
Katie admitted she was "caught offguard" when she was sent home after their one-on-one date but she thanked Matt for being so accepting of her and making her feel welcome.
Matt said he learned a lot about himself during the process and he'll be a better person for it.
Abigail thanked Matt for their entire experience together even though it "wasn't in the cards" for them, and Pieper said she's so grateful for her time with The Bachelor star and that he was able to pull her "into a new comfort zone" in which she can now express her feelings.
Pieper, however, asked what led to her elimination. Matt said he couldn't control how his relationships progressed and he developed strong connections with other women at the time of their one-on-one date.
"To have strung it out any longer wouldn't have been fair to you, so instead of bringing your family out there -- knowing I was on the fence about where we stood -- I just thought it was the best time to have that conversation," Matt explained.
On seeing Serena P. again, Matt said he was happy that the bachelorette had come to the conclusion he's not her "person" because he wants the best for her.
"But it was hard," Matt said, before Serena P. agreed letting him go was hard for her as well.
Serena P. told Matt that she hopes he's happy and found exactly what he's looking for, and Matt replied, "Thank you."