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Love Is Blind’s Cole Barnett Finally Addresses Ex Zanab Jaffrey & Controversial ‘Cuties’ Scene

Love Is Blind’s Cole Barnett Addresses Ex Zanab Jaffrey & Controversial ‘Cuties’ Scene

Cole Barnett is sharing his side of the story about what went down on season three of Love Is Blind with his ex-fiancée Zanab Jaffrey – including that controversial “cuties” scene!

For those who haven’t seen the WILD season, the former couple got engaged on the Netflix show after they fell in love in the pods. But their love story quickly came crashing down once they stepped back into reality. At the altar, Zanab broke up with Cole with an explosive speech, claiming the 27-year-old had critiqued her body and completely “shattered” her self-confidence. Yikes…

Related: SK Denies Cheating On Raven — Claims Relationship ‘Was Never Formal!’

During the reunion, the pair talked about their relationship troubles. Zanab accused Cole of controlling what she ate and body shaming her to the point where she “was eating like a banana and a teaspoon of peanut butter just so I wouldn’t pass out on the long days we were filming.” The 32-year-old and her other female co-stars specifically pointed to an unaired scene of Cole calling her out about eating two clementines before dinner. Following the dramatic reunion, Netflix showed the interaction in question. The scene divided the internet at the time, with some fans slamming Zanab, saying she was overreacting. She later addressed the backlash in a lengthy Instagram message, saying:

“I’m sorry you weren’t in that relationship. I’m sorry you didn’t feel what I felt. I’m sorry we don’t have the same triggers. I’m sorry me standing up for myself offended you so greatly. I’m sorry you didn’t see all the reasons for what I said. I’m sorry you didn’t live that with me. I’m sorry that you don’t know me.”

Now, it is Cole’s turn to fully open up about the infamous “cuties” scene for the first time since the reunion episode dropped. Speaking on the Lauren Interviews podcast, he maintained that he was not trying to body shame his ex and only wanted to remind her that they were going to eat a big dinner later:

“To me, I’m just so thankful that they played the Cuties scene, because I don’t know why you’d say I was body shaming you as well. I wasn’t body shaming you. I was just asking and saying, ‘Hey, we planned this big dinner.’ I was just speaking to it and being myself. I was trying to keep things light. And the reason that I’m using the word ‘appetito’ instead of appetite and speaking like a normal human is because I knew how sensitive things were with Zay on everything.”

Can you blame her for her feelings? Before the “cuties” scene, this guy confessed to being attracted to their co-star Colleen Reed and compared her to Zanab, saying his partner was a nine out of ten while Colleen was a ten out of ten. An icky move. And later he asked Zanab if she was “bipolar” during an argument before their wedding. A person can be a good guy in general and still be inconsiderate and insulting in relationship dynamics. (Because it does seem like he’s a good guy overall. It just doesn’t seem like they were a good match!)

The real estate agent then said he was always “walking on eggshells” during their relationship:

“I was walking on eggshells because I knew there’s just trip wires everywhere. The moment I say one thing that hits her wrong, I’m now the worst. I was just trying to figure out how to even speak without saying something wrong.”

As for Zanab’s wedding speech? Cole claimed he felt she “played” him at the altar, recalling:

“She played me, 100 percent she played me. She told me that there was a chance that we were getting married. She said she was 100 or 1,000 percent ready to marry me at that last date and then we talked off-camera and I let her know I wasn’t ready to get married.”

He claimed the twosome talked about staying together after not getting married and seeing if they would last without having the pressure of the show:

“She verbatim told me, ‘I don’t want any drama at the wedding,’ and then she did what she did at the wedding. So yeah, I got totally played and it was scripted. And it’s just a lie for her at the reunion to say that she was still trying to decide on wedding day whether or not she was ready to marry me. It’s like, ‘Yo, if that was true then how the hell do you say what you said about me?’ That would make you all sorts of messed up if you felt that way about someone and you were trying to decide if you wanted to marry them that day.”

While Cole noted the series was edited at times, he insisted that producers never pushed for Zanab’s speech at their wedding:

“The producers do not put words in your mouth. They do not coordinate things like that. That was 100 percent Zanab’s decision. It was equally as shocking to production as it was to me.”

When asked if he would have become engaged to Zanab after knowing what happened between them, he made it clear that while they had “a lot of awesome moments,” his answer would be:

“Hell no.”

Whoa! Cole then noted that what was shown in the series felt “like it was a fair portrayal of who I am.” Has Cole and Zanab spoken to each other since the reunion? Cole said he sent her a message and she “just liked it,” adding:

“She doesn’t want to talk, obviously.”

The reality star also mentioned that none of the other female cast members offered an apology to him after the reunion:

“They’re gonna believe their girl, right? Even after the reunion they told me, Raven [Ross] told me, she was like, ‘Look, I just stand up for my girls.’ So I get it. No, they’re not in a hurry to do that. They’re gonna ride or die for each other, and that’s fine. That’s OK. That’s what good friends kinda do.”

In Raven’s defense for not reaching out, she’s been dealing with her own relationship drama over the past couple of weeks…

As for his relationship status following the end of his engagement to Zanab? Cole shared he has not been on a date since Love Is Blind finished filming in 2021:

“I am open to dating. I will go on dates. I just haven’t yet. I have not dated.”

Since the show ended, instead, Cole previously revealed on the ‘gram that he was getting some “much needed therapy.” Here’s hoping he will take the time to work through the error of his ways on the show, because he can say what he wants about Zanab, but it’s clear he wasn’t a saint, either! There’s a reason she became so guarded, right??

Wishing them both the best as they heal and move forward. Relationships are messy! Especially when they’re under TV stress!

Reactions to Cole’s interview, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF in the comments below!

[Image via Love Is Blind/Netflix]

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Dec 07, 2022 10:45am PDT