The drama on Love is Blind is usually around relationships, emotional connections, and occasionally there’s a vague conflict over physical attraction or lack thereof. Last season, Shake was really gross about trying to figure out the women’s sizes in the pods and was rude about Deepti, but whatever comments he made were supposedly offscreen to third parties and not to her directly. So I think this conversation might be a first for the series. At the reunion, Zanab Jaffrey says that her former fiancé, Cole Barnett, body shamed her repeatedly in cut scenes throughout the show. When she dumped him at the altar, Zanab told Cole he’d destroyed her self-confidence. And at the reunion she shared specifics.
Zanab Jaffrey of Love Is Blind is letting fans know what happened when cameras weren’t rolling.
After leaving Cole Barnett at the altar on the season 3 “Wedding Day” finale episode, Zanab Jaffrey said Wednesday on the Netflix show’s reunion that body shaming played a part in her decision and it was her ex’s “saving grace” that those scenes were cut from the show.
“Because so much of that stuff, the pushing food away from me, asking if I’m going to eat that, trying to get me to order a salad, the daily comments about my face and my body were not used [in the show],” Jaffrey, 32, explained. “And that’s great because it really did protect you and you are now denying it, and now calling me a liar in front of all these people.”
She went on to accuse him of “trying to control what I ate and changing my eating habits,” which Barnett, 27, called “hilarious,” claiming: “I never once cared about what you ate.”
“I stopped eating,” Jaffrey continued. “I was eating a banana and a teaspoon of peanut butter just so I wouldn’t pass out on the long days we were filming.”
Jaffrey also recalled an unaired incident in which she grabbed two Cuties clementines, during which Barnett discouraged her from snacking.
“He looked at me and he goes, ‘Are you gonna eat both of those?’” she recounted. “And I said, ‘Well, yeah. That’s a serving.’ And he goes, ‘Well, we’re going out to eat later. Maybe you should save your appetite.’”
As Barnett continued to dig in his heels, Jaffrey rebutted: “This is all working out so wonderfully in your favor because they did not use it.”
Barnett later offered Jaffrey and their costars an apology as married co-hosts Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey closed out the reunion.
“Zay, I came here. I fell in love with you. I really did wanna get married to you, and I’m sorry for hurting you on the way and everyone else who I’ve hurt,” Barnett said. “I’m sorry I’m working on it.”
Jaffrey previously said “I don’t” to Barnett during what would have been their wedding ceremony, telling him he “single-handedly shattered my self-confidence.” She’s since opened up to PEOPLE about the decision to call it off.
“I did not stand up there and say no to the Cole that everyone got to see,” Jaffrey explained. “There was a lot more. I stand by everything I said.”
I’ve never had a boyfriend that tried to monitor my food intake, but my friends have told me about those guys and they absolutely suck. Pushing food away from her, trying to get her to order a salad — all that stuff is awful. Making comments about her face is especially cruel. Even if Cole wasn’t doing it with the intention of hurting her and he was just thoughtless, think before you speak. Thoughtless little comments like that can be so insidious. Did production cut a bunch of that stuff to protect him? Including it would certainly counteract their supposed goals of making the show more welcoming and body diverse, especially after Vanessa Lachey stepped in it and Danielle Ruhl checked her. If memory serves, only thing they really left in were Cole’s comments after the pool party rating Zanab a 9 and someone else a 10. Which is sh-tty and also very immature.
Production did include the footage from the unaired clementine story at the end of the reunion and I actually don’t think Cole said anything wrong in that particular instance. They’re eating fruit together and he’s talking about their plans to have a big dinner later when Zanab goes for the clementines. She volunteers that she’d only eaten a banana that day and he says something like “Why would you do that? I offered you a poke bowl.” Production definitely could be protecting him and their show, but the clementine story seemed different than Zanab’s memory of it.
Photos courtesy of Netflix