As expected, the mystery lady who dropped by Monday’s episode of “The Bachelor” to reveal Victoria Fuller‘s dirty laundry was Peter Weber‘s ex-girlfriend Merissa Pence. With her face blurred out, the marketing coordinator approached Peter after his hometown date with Victoria to voice her concerns about Victoria and her intentions — and she stresses that that was entirely what her appearance was about.
Merissa — who dated Peter for five months in 2012 before moving back to Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she ran in the same circles as Victoria — told “Us Weekly” that she had spoken to producers about Victoria when the season began filming. As she shared last week, Victoria had always rubbed her the wrong way, and once she was cast on “The Bachelor,” Victoria became “very self-centered” and “just thinks that the world revolves around her and she’s the hottest thing that’s ever hit this planet.” During their conversation, Merissa told Peter that Victoria had broken up “many” relationships, which Merissa now specifies was four marriages.
“I knew who Victoria was, as far as her reputation, but I honestly didn’t know that she had done as much damage as she had done to our hometown,” Merissa told the magazine. “It kind of started becoming a trend. … I felt like she was a little more entitled or felt that way at least. And so just leading up to that, I felt like, all these people out here aren’t going to say anything? I had a totally different stance than everybody because I knew Peter, I know his family and I know what type of person he is. So I just felt like, if anyone were to say something, I felt like he probably would listen to me versus some random girl.”
According to Merissa, producers reached out to her the day before Peter and Victoria’s hometown date was scheduled to be filmed, and they talked for about 30 minutes. They called her back later that evening to inform her that they were unable to properly vet the situation to bring her on. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a bummer, but I wish him the best and I totally understand,’” Merissa recalled.
Undeterred, Merissa started “mulling over how I could still make it work,” ultimately deciding to call a producer the next day to see if she could watch filming and “maybe talk to Peter” after their date. The producer agreed and texted her 30 minutes before she had to be there. “I signed paperwork just like everybody else. I wasn’t mic’d up or anything,” she said. “I noticed that Peter and Victoria were separated and so I was like, ‘OK, well, I guess if I’m going to do something, I need to do it now,’ because I knew going into it, I had prepped myself to not use slander words, like, I’m only going to be forthcoming if it’s invitational.”
Her conversation with Peter lasted about seven minutes. “He was definitely upset. Everybody could kind of tell the mood shifted,” she said, adding that the pilot told her he trusted her.
Merissa has no regrets about coming on the show because she feels that she was able to give voice to the women who were unwittingly burned by Victoria. “One of the other wives actually confronted me when I was at a bar in Virginia Beach and I didn’t know that that’s who she was until after the fact. And she was like, ‘I just want to thank you so much. You took on a huge burden that a lot of us couldn’t take on because of other reasons,’” Merissa said. “It’s definitely been crazy. I definitely lost friends because everybody hopped on the fame train, which is fine. They’ll figure it out one way or another. But I never got, the only two hate mail messages were from two people from our hometown that quickly jumped to her side. But other than that, everyone’s like, ‘Thank you for doing that.’”
As for Victoria, who received a rose despite her meltdown and canceled family visit when Peter confronted her, she thanked Peter for “always having faith in us” in an Instagram post Monday evening, making no mention of Merissa or her claims.