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The Bachelor Joey Graziadei Welcomes the Trauma Sharing in His One-on-Ones: 'It's the Time to Do It'

Graziadei also spoke on whether Maria was unfairly called a bully

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Kat Moon

It's almost time for hometowns. Six women remain on The Bachelor, and only four will have the opportunity to introduce Joey Graziadei to their families. Daisy, Jenn, Kelsey A., Kelsey T., Maria, and Rachel have each had a coveted one-on-one date with the 28-year-old tennis professional. And looking at the strengths of their connections made with Joey throughout the season, hearts are bound to be broken this week.

But there are plenty of moments to unpack before The Bachelor Episode 7. Last week, Joey started his time in Montreal sharing his greatest worries about the process — that he might not be accepted for who he is. "When I think about letting multiple women in knowing that it might not work out, it holds me back," he said. Viewers also commented online about the bachelor appearing more visibly tired throughout the episode. And Joey's one-on-one with Kelsey T. prompted discussions about the trauma that women have shared so far in his season. 

In Episode 6, Kelsey T. recounted her dad cutting off contact when she was younger for not holding the same religious beliefs. It's not the first time that one of Joey's romantic interests opened up about a serious life event on a one-on-one date. In his first one with Daisy, she shared about her hearing loss as a result of developing Ménière's disease. And Lexi, who left the process in Episode 6, talked to Joey in their earlier one-on-one about having surgery after being diagnosed with stage 5 endometriosis.

Vulnerable sharing is nothing new for the dinner portion of individual dates on The Bachelor. But this season has featured a larger number of heavy conversations than most. TV Guide spoke to Joey about the women opening up about these experiences and the bachelor's fears that surfaced more in Montreal. We also had to ask about the drama between Maria and Sydney — the latter of whom Joey sent home last week.

Joey Graziadei, Kelsey T, The Bachelor

Joey Graziadei, Kelsey T, The Bachelor

ABC

TV Guide: Episode 6 started with you sharing your fears about the journey not working out. Did something happen to prompt those feelings to be front of mind? 
Joey Graziadei:
I think it was things that happened through my entire life coming from before this — having two serious relationships outside of the show that didn't work. I had pieces to that and started to question, is there something that's wrong with me that's making this happen? Whether that's through communication, understanding love languages, whatever that is. And if I'm being honest, it's coming off of The Bachelorette too, and knowing I gave everything I could and wasn't chosen. I think that will get to anyone at the end of the day. So what prompted it was the real emotions starting to come out but also me being honest that I started to question if it was ever going to work out. It was a tough week, but I'm glad I was at least honest and transparent with how my feelings were. 

You also talked in that confessional about being your harshest critic. What is being the bachelor like when you are your harshest critic?
Graziadei:
Difficult, I definitely started to feel it from time to time. You have enough people every day looking at what you're doing and assessing what you're doing. But when you're your toughest critic, it can heighten all of that too. It's difficult but I signed up for it, I knew what I was getting myself into, in some ways. So I accept it and know it was going to be part of the process.

There was a lot of discussion after Episode 6 about your one-on-one dates and how so far this season, there's been a lot of traumatic events shared in those conversations. We know producers try to encourage deeper sharing in the dinner portion, but how do you find the balance between wanting vulnerability from your date and at the same time making sure you're emotionally OK from having multiple heavy conversations in a short period of time?
Graziadei:
As much as it felt like everyone was always dumping things on me during that time, it's the time to do it. It's the time to get your safe space to share how you're feeling about something and know that there's not going to be the chance of another woman coming in to interrupt it. It can be heavy, I think people have seen that, but I always welcomed it with open arms and would have continued to do it through the whole process because they should feel comfortable to share those things if there's a serious thing like an engagement at the end of it.

Was this level of sharing about traumatic events what you expected when you signed up to be the bachelor?
Graziadei:
I don't think anyone can prep themselves for that because you don't know what the women are going to be comfortable to share. And obviously you don't know the stories that they have. I think what's really interesting about this season is how these women have had a lot of things happen to them and have shaped them into the amazing women that they are.

Can you share about the kinds of mental health resources available during filming?
Graziadei:
We are very lucky through this experience to have people that are there to talk to, we do have doctors that help with mental health and they're special people that are always in our corner. So whenever you felt like you had the need to chat with someone and to check in on your own mental health, the show gave us that ability which I think is really important and I think should always be there during an experience like this.

When you looked back at Episode 6, did you notice yourself being more tired? How were you feeling at that point of the journey?
Graziadei:
I think everyone has commented and can see that — of course, I was more tired. It'd be crazy not to be. We had a long travel before getting to Montreal, there was a little bit of jet lag there. Listen, I love my sleep. I love to be able to take time to myself, it's always how I've been. I like to have things even be a little slower from time to time especially from living in Hawaii, that's a natural way of of attacking your own life. You don't get that chance on the show. All the producers knew that coming in. They knew that about me, they expected to see some times where I was a little bit more sluggish and tired. But what I think people can see and understand is as much as you can maybe see me be tired, my brain was always there and I was ready for every conversation because the women deserve that.

Joey Graziadei, Maria, The Bachelor

Joey Graziadei, Maria, The Bachelor

ABC

I also wanted to ask, having seen the episodes so far, how do you view the conflict between Sydney and Maria now?
Graziadei:
What I still talk about and see [is,] I didn't see everything, America hasn't seen everything. And both of those women I think have made videos on their own to express that they know it didn't need to get to the level that it did and they wish they could take some things back. But how America views it, it's how America views it. I think what's most important is I was focusing on the connections and my connection with Maria was stronger, and that's the only thing I can control in my position.

Would you say that the comments about Maria being a bully were unfair?
Graziadei:
I don't know if they would be unfair. I don't really like to ever be in a position where I say what people see is correct or incorrect. I know that I never focused on what the other women were saying unless it was something that I could see because it's hard to get to the truth in this position that I'm in. And I explained in the two-on-one to Maria, I'm not here to try to have them all get along I know that's almost impossible in the situation they're in. What's most important is to get back to what is the purpose which is to create a connection with me and that's all I was trying to do. So I'm not gonna say anyone was unfairly accused, I still haven't seen everything. I just know that it didn't need to get to that level and I think the women agree to that.

The Bachelor airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. EST and is available to stream on Hulu.