The Bachelorette star Rachel Recchia has revealed she thinks it's "shocking" and "so hurtful" that Zach Shallcross continues to paint her in a "really negative" light in the media.

"It's just honestly really shocking to hear him still, kind of, paint me in this really negative light," Rachel lamented to Ashley Iaconetti during the February 6 episode of "The Ben and Ashley I: Almost Famous Podcast."


Zach was in love with Rachel and had pictured her as "the future Mrs. Shallcross" during The Bachelorette's nineteenth season last year, but then Zach found Rachel to be "inauthentic" in their Fantasy Suite and totally unlike herself.

Zach, who self-eliminated from Rachel's The Bachelorette season in third place, claimed on the January 20 episode of the "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.

"I'm actually shocked at the things I have heard," Rachel told Ashley, "not only what I heard on your podcast -- and mainly that -- but even what I heard on Night 1."

"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," she continued.

On The 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 said her heart was 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.


But Zach complained last month that Rachel had "blindsided" him and so he remained fearful of "people putting it on for the camera" when he filmed The Bachelor's 27th season.

"[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.'"

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."

"And I think those conversations do come up... You start asking those really important questions off-camera, and I mean, there were things we didn't align with," Rachel hinted.

"I'm not saying that me and [The Bachelorette 19 winner Tino Franco] or [The Bachelorette 19 runner-up Aven Jones] aligned on everything, but our views, I think, and the way we want to raise families and the way we want to live life just aligned better, if that makes sense."

Rachel also insisted the purpose of the Fantasy Suites on The Bachelor franchise is to ask "those hard questions" and dig deeper.

"[If not], then what are you even doing? This is an engagement and this is serious. And we've talked about it," Rachel said.

"I think maybe with Zach's situation, it felt maybe more like 'an interview' because we had these amazing dates but then behind the camera, I think we both just realized these amazing dates we were on, maybe that's where [our strong feelings were] coming from."


Rachel said once she and Zach got to talk in a private, intimate setting -- without 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,'" Rachel recalled.

"Did we say that out loud? No. Because I think Zach did deserve every single second he got off-camera, because we did have an incredible relationship, and I did want to give him that time. It really didn't matter what I was feeling before that, but yeah [the Fantasy Suite] solidified it for me."

Rachel explained she's particularly bothered by Zach's claims she's "a different person off-camera" and was "inauthentic" and "acting" for the cameras during her The Bachelorette season.

"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 expressed that while being the Bachelorette is fun, cute and playful for a while, it's time to "have a conversation" in the Fantasy Suites.

"And so 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. "So that's kind of my main issue."

The Bachelorette Season 18 star, Michelle Young -- who also appeared on the February 6 episode of the "Almost Famous Podcast" -- had her friend's back.

Michelle explained how not everything can be "lovey dovey" in a relationship and two partners must talk about finances, politics and religion fairly early on.

"Just because you don't like how someone [believes or stands for something], it doesn't make them a fraud," Michelle said, adding how it was necessary for Rachel and Zach to really "break down" those heavy topics.

Michelle therefore said she's had "an issue with what's being implied" as "a character deficit" in Rachel when "in reality, it's an unalignment."

Michelle also said it's "frustrating" when people walk into Fantasy Suites "expecting intimacy."

Michelle -- seemingly suggesting Zach had been expecting to be intimate with Rachel -- continued, "You can't walk in and just expect physical contact, that it has to or should take place... Just because you made it to this point doesn't mean you're granted access to anything."

Michelle laughed and then Rachel chimed in, "Yeah! She said it! She said it! I mean, I think that says it all right there!"

"Sh-t, I'll say it!" Michelle exclaimed.

Rachel, who split from Tino shortly after her The Bachelorette finale filmed last year, and Michelle, who announced her split from The Bachelorette 18 winner Nayte Olukoya in June 2022, are both currently single.

Meanwhile, Zach's The Bachelor journey is currently airing Monday nights at 8PM ET/PT on ABC, and Zach has teased that he's very happy with the way things turned out.


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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.