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‘Bachelorette’ Runner-Up Ben Smith Addresses Speculation He Sent Signs to Tayshia Adams on Instagram

After Bachelorette fans watched Ben Smith struggle to say the L-word to Tayshia Adams during season 16, some viewers thought he used Instagram to try to make it up to her as the show aired.

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Ben, 30, was initially sent home by Tayshia, also 30, during the December 15, 2020, episode. He returned during part one of the finale, which aired on December 21, to get another shot with the former phlebotomist. Before the finale aired, eagle-eyed fans noticed his Instagram bio read, “I love you lot.” Ben also signed several posts “I love you” and shared a selfie with the phrase written on the bottom-right-hand corner with a heart.

Bachelorette Ben Address Speculation He Sent Tayshia Signs Instagram
Ben Smith and Tayshia Adams. Courtesy Ben Smith/Instagram; ABC/Craig Sjodin

The Army vet addressed fan speculation for the first time during an appearance on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s “Off the Vine” podcast on Thursday, January 7.

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“It was never that,” he told Kaitlyn after the season 11 Bachelorette asked whether his social media activity was because he didn’t initially say “I love you” to Adams on the show.

Ben explained: “This is like me seeing other people where they’re at, and I understand that maybe other people don’t have as much love in their life as I happen to have now, so I’m gonna give it every chance that I can.”

The personal trainer also shot down fan chatter — and Rachel Lindsay’s suggestion — that he only returned to get a better shot at being the next Bachelor. “I never had any intentions of doing anything more,” he said, noting he agreed to go on the show because “something might happen that’s great.”

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During part two of the finale on December 22, Tayshia sent Ben home for the second time and accepted a proposal from Zac Clark.

Related: Everything You Would’ve Learned About Season 16 at ‘After the Final’ Rose

“When you love someone you let them grow, you let them go do what that thing that they need to do. So, I’m completely sincere in that I’m incredibly happy for her,” Ben said on the “Viall Files” podcast after the finale aired, noting that he’s grateful Tayshia sent him home before proposal day. ”I’m so thankful that she did it there and didn’t let me walk that fire hazard path into the woods to not get a rose at the end. I’m so thankful. She did an incredible job.”

Tayshia and Zac, meanwhile, opened up to Us Weekly about her decision to send Ben home early.

“I think you’ve seen it play out throughout my entire journey, like, the second I feel like, I am not there, where the other person’s heart is, I have to tell them,” the Bachelor in Paradise alum told Us post-finale. “I would hate to be strung along and be led on to believe that I have an opportunity or a chance to be with someone when they’ve already made their mind up. And that has happened to me in the past. I would never want to do that to somebody. So, I did what I had to do when I figured it out.”

Zac added, “I didn’t know that they typically send two guys up there! That’s borderline not nice.”

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