For weeks, audiences have watched the love story between Gabby Windey and Erich Schwer unfold on The Bachelorette, and despite several obstacles, the duo managed to come away with an engagement. Their relationship started strong, with Erich meeting everyone’s favorite senior citizen, Gabby’s Grandpa John, during their first solo outing. It wasn’t until they approached the finish line that the wheels started to fall off. In the final episodes of the season, Erich expressed hesitation about getting engaged. But when it became clear that Erich was Gabby’s only option, the couple managed to persevere, and they left the show as an engaged couple.
However, the After the Final Rose special proved to be their biggest challenge yet. At the beginning of the Sept. 20 episode, host Jesse Palmer referenced text messages that had been made public — texts that Erich sent to a woman he had been dating days before leaving for the show.
The texts in question were made public by Erich’s ex-girlfriend, and included some pretty damning information in the wake of his engagement to Gabby. On March 10, he sent her a message that read, “I know this isn’t ideal, I wanted to do this to see if there was something else I could do with my life,” he wrote. “I didn’t think it would be a big deal but I understand how you feel, I’m sorry and I understand if you don’t want to see me anymore.”
His girlfriend, Amanda, responded by saying, “You just expected me to continue dating you while you go on a reality show to ‘find love,’” to which Erich responded, “It isn’t real,” adding, “I am really sorry I really didn’t think this all through… I thought we could get on the same page about this. I really didn’t mean for this to hurt you.”
According to another text exchange, Erich cited being miserable in his career and wanted a change, which is what led to his decision to go on the show. The show began filming on March 22, but shortly before he left to begin filming, he sent flowers to Amanda to make her “smile,” according to her, with a note that read “I’ll never stop thinking of you.”
On July 10, he reached out to Amanda again, stating “I am so sorry Amanda, what I did was terrible I don’t expect you to ever forgive me.” He allegedly continued, “I just want you to know I think about you all the time and you really deserve the best. I won’t ever forgive myself and I hope you find happiness and everything you deserve.”
On After The Final Rose, Erich admitted to having led on his ex-girlfriend. He went on to say that he handled the situation poorly, and used his appearance on the show as a way to end his courtship with Amanda. He also stated that despite the controversy, he “wouldn’t change anything,” since it led to his relationship with Gabby.
Sitting on stage with Erich, Gabby said she’d already been made privy to the messages long before they were made public. “You were kind of an asshole to her,” she admitted. However, she added that committing to someone for life isn’t easy. Ultimately, Erich’s steps to take responsibility for his actions were what mattered. “He’s gracious, and he’s honest, and I do believe what he says.”
On Twitter, users were also ready forgive Erich for the sake of Gabby’s happiness.
Others were surprised that producers projected actual screenshots of the texts during the live special.