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Joey Graziadei Says Maria Georgas Is ‘Misunderstood’ on ‘The Bachelor’ (Exclusive)

Even Joey Graziadei doesn’t completely understand what went down with Maria Georgas and her fellow Bachelor season 28 contestants.

“I don’t have any idea what happened. You guys are seeing as much as I’m seeing,” the 28-year-old tennis pro admitted to Us Weekly when asked about Maria’s various feuds in the mansion. “Because every conversation I had with them was one-on-one. I didn’t get to see the group settings. I think that Maria can sometimes be misunderstood. I get that she explained that herself — that she’s a little rough around the edges and was surprised that she didn’t get along with a lot of the women in the house.”

Things got confusing for Bachelor Nation when Madina Alam accused Maria of dismissing her concerns about being the oldest woman on the season. Sydney Gordon’s attempts to defend Madina backfired and led to Sydney accusing Maria of being toxic and saying several things to the other women that didn’t air on the series. Maria denied Sydney’s claims, and Joey picked Maria over Sydney on a two-on-one date. Lea Cayanan subsequently took over the anti-Maria campaign, but Joey continued to stand by the Canadian, who secured a spot in his top six.

“I think what I always go back to, though, is that she had a strong connection with me and I always in this situation was trying to focus on the connections,” Joey told Us of Maria. “I can’t control what goes on in the house. All I can control is the opportunity to get to know these women the best that I can from what I see and what we talk through. So the reason why Maria stayed, the reason why she’s still around, is because we have a connection that was building and I wanted to see it through. So yeah, it’s hard to speak on that stuff because I still haven’t seen all of it and America still hasn’t seen all of it. That’s always how it’s going to be.”

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With the drama going mostly unresolved, it’s likely that the upcoming Women Tell All will focus a lot on age-gate.

Feature Joey Graziadei Says Maria Georgas Was Misunderstood on The Bachelor
Joey Graziadei and Maria Georgas Disney/John Fleenor

“I will be there,” Joey confirmed to Us. “Obviously, I don’t know if anyone’s ready for that, but it will be what it’s supposed to be and I will obviously be there to add any conversation that I need to. … I have nothing but appreciation for each of the women, the ones that have left [and] the ones that are still here. I think everyone should continue to lead with kindness and realize that this is a very tough situation that we get put into.”

In addition to Maria, Joey’s remaining contestants are Daisy Kent, Kelsey Anderson, Kelsey Toussant, Rachel Nance and Jenn Tran. While Daisy has appeared to be a front-runner since receiving the first one-on-one date of the season, a new theory suggests that Joey and Kelsey A. spoiled the ending by posting photos from similar backgrounds in recent weeks.

Joey Graziadei Says Maria Georgas Was Misunderstood on The Bachelor 2
Joey Graziadei and Maria Georgas Disney/Jan Thijs

“Obviously anything that comes out like that, I can’t really speak on it. I know people are really trying to figure out what’s going on,” he said of the speculation. “Yeah, I can’t speak to anything that’s sent because it’s not really something that I’m paying attention to.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. For more from Joey, listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.

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