Brendan Morais and Pieper James are trying to make amends after their Bachelor in Paradise drama.
Since the start of Season 7, rumors had been swirling that the two were dating before the show. Brendan downplayed the seriousness of their relationship to Natasha Parker, who he’d been exploring a connection with, but when Pieper arrived in Mexico, the truth came out. The couple seemingly confirmed they’d planned to reunite in Paradise, with Brendan alluding to having to “play the game” until Pieper got there during their one-on-one date and Pieper referring to him as her boyfriend.
This incensed both the rest of cast and viewers at home, who decried Brendan and Pieper on social media. Initially, the two were pretty flippant about their behavior. Just before the episode in which Pieper arrived aired, Brendan shared a since-deleted picture of him in a pool on Instagram captioned, “Here for the wrong reasons,” while Pieper posted one of her on a cobbled street with the caption, “All’s fair in love and war” (but later removed the caption). Pieper also uploaded a since-deleted TikTok video lip-syncing to Lizzo’s song “Rumors” with the message, “walking into Paradise like…” and a lengthy statement to her Instagram stories reminding her followers that “reality TV isn’t real” and “an edited, produced, and cut down show isn’t going to show you every single thing said and done.”
However, the two have since issued apologies walking back their initial responses. “After taking time to begin to process the events that unfolded over the past few days, I have realized I was wrong on so many different levels,” Brendan wrote on his Instagram stories in part. “First of all, I removed my last post from my feed. I posted it before the episode aired and had no idea the magnitude of hurt I caused. My approach to many things in life is sarcasm. In this instance with regard to my post, I was completely insensitive.”
He then apologized to Natasha. “I hurt you. I am deeply sorry for doing so. I understand that the damage is already done and all I can do going forward is acknowledge the error of my ways. For those of you that felt my actions triggered certain feelings and emotions I am truly sorry.”
Pieper, meanwhile, told Us Weekly that she had a friendship with Natasha and had spoken to her about her relationship with Brendan prior to the show, but was “truly sorry” for any hurt that she caused her and was hoping to get an opportunity to make things right. “I didn’t go into Paradise with the intention of hurting anyone, nor would I ever want to be the reason why someone had a bad experience. I went in excited to see a guy that I had connected with and liked before the show started filming, and was looking forward to seeing if that connection would grow into something more,” she said.
However, she claimed in another interview with Us Weekly that she had “no idea” Brendan would be in Paradise and that they had no pre-existing plan to meet up there, adding that she has “no regrets” about the situation. “What happened, happened, and I’ll deal with whatever happens next.”
During the Sept. 14 episode — in which she and Brendan decided to leave Paradise — Pieper issued one final point of clarification. “Amidst everything that’s been happening on and off screen, Brendan and I were not in an exclusive relationship in any capacity before filming,” she wrote on her Instagram stories.
As for where Brendan and Pieper’s relationship stands now, it’s unclear. They were spotted out together multiple times both before and after filming for Paradise; most recently, they were photographed in Miami on Aug. 22. But their recent comments suggest they may be on rockier ground after the controversy. Brendan referred to having “misunderstandings” heading into Paradise, while Pieper told Us Weekly, “I’m not an extension of Brendan and his actions, and I don’t condone dishonest behavior. I got caught up in the moment while I was with Brendan in Paradise, and while I don’t fully blame editing, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.”
In a Sept. 9 interview, Pieper gave Us Weekly another update. “We’re working on things,” she told the publication. “This obviously isn’t something that’s super healthy for a relationship either, so it kind of is what it is. Every day, [we’re] taking it day by day.” She also dished further on the state of her bond with Brendan prior to Paradise, noting that she “had no idea” what she was walking into. “Obviously, [if] you like somebody, you hope that they’re waiting for you, but you don’t know the circumstances when you walk into Paradise. So, whatever he had to do beforehand, that had nothing to do with me. I didn’t tell him to do anything, so that was kind of what it was.”
In addition to not knowing Brendan would be in Paradise, Pieper told Us that she didn’t know she’d be on the show until “a week” before she flew to Mexico. “It was a very quick turnaround,” she detailed. “I was really following my heart, which is something that I’m not used to doing. That being a new territory for me was kind of what took the cake on everything.”
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