The Love Is Blind season 3 reunion special aired on Nov. 9 and it has everyone talking! During the Netflix special, many stars of the dating series revealed shocking accusations, including Zanab Jaffrey. The 32-year-old beauty accused her 27-year-old ex-fiance Cole Barnett, whom she rejected at the altar during their wedding, of “body shaming” her and trying to “change” her “eating habits” during their romance. “I stopped eating. I was eating, like, a banana and a scoop of peanut butter so I wouldn’t pass out on the long days we were filming,” she said on the reunion, according to Variety.
Cole didn’t hold back and responded to her claims right away. “That’s hilarious, I never once cared about what you ate,” he said.
Zanab and Cole’s wedding was shown on episode 11 of the third season of Love Is Blind, and although Zanab said that she did love Cole, she didn’t hesitate to explain why she decided not to marry him. “You have disrespected me. You have insulted me. You have critiqued me. And, for what it is worth, you have single-handedly shattered my self confidence,” she said.
The former couple seemed to hit it off at the beginning when they bonded over their faith, but things started to get rocky after Cole told Zanab she was a “nine out of 10” while calling contestants Raven Ross and Colleen Reed perfect “10s.” Tension increased further when Cole made it known that he wasn’t normally attracted to women that looked like Zanab. “I proposed to a girl named Zanab,” he told her. “You think I thought Zanab looked more like the girls I dated in the past that were named like, Lily?”
In her first interview, Zanab recently told Variety that she interpreted Cole’s comments to mean he only dated white women. “Everyone heard it. Even watching it back, I was like, wow, I really didn’t hear that like everyone else heard it,” she explained to the outlet. “I’ve gotten hundreds of messages like what you just said: ‘He’s saying this.’ In the heat of that moment, I didn’t necessarily hear it. But we’d had conversations about women he previously dated. There were many conversations about how to I did not look like it or live up to it.”
She also elaborated further on how her eating habits changed when she was involved with Cole. “The things he was saying to me did hurt. I was somehow trying to make myself desirable to him, whether it be skinnier, or… [pauses and takes a deep breath] I’ve never had someone speak to me that way about my body or eating,” she said. “That was very real for me. I did change what I was eating. I was just eating a banana. I did lose weight by the wedding day. It had nothing to do with fitting into my wedding dress.”
Despite the drama and tough times, Zanab insisted she has no regrets about meeting Cole and getting involved with him when she did on the show. “Cole was the only one for me in that experiment. Our reveal, I loved. It was so genuine. I was so happy, and I thought I had met my person,” she shared. “The context of what I was trying to say was that I would do it again and choose him again knowing the outcome. It did send me on a journey. It forced me to dig deeper within myself. I learned so much about myself.”
“Would I repetitively do it again? No,” she continued. “But I don’t regret Cole coming into my life. I don’t ever regret being that happy and in love with him at one point. To do it again would be so I could experience that high with him again, even knowing where it came to. I just think the direction it put me in my life, it taught me something. I’m choosing to take a lesson from our relationship instead of being angry at him.”