“For the record, Hannah Brown did just reach out to me via DM last night and sent a very long and sweet message,” the Bachelorette alum, 33, wrote via Instagram earlier this month after previously telling Us Weekly that no one from his season had sent him well-wishes. “As for the other guys in my season …”
Ayala’s social media shout-out was in response to a Bachelor fan page’s call for an apology from ABC, Brown, 27, and the rest of the season 15 contestants for painting him as a villain on the show.
“Thanks so much @thatbachlexx yes, it was super unfortunate situation that caused PTSD that I’ve struggled with the past 3 years,” Ayala replied to ThatBachLexx’s post. “But I’m no longer angry or bitter, this journey has brought me closer to God and helped me to take inventory of the important things in my life.”
The former reality star further expanded on the lack of support he received from his castmates during a July appearance on Reality Steve’s podcast.
“Believe it or not, last night, I did get a really long direct message on Instagram from Hannah Brown herself,” he said. “So it was just still kind of hurtful that none of the guys could have been like, ‘Hey, bro, let bygones be bygones, like, this is your actual real life here and sorry that you’re going through that. Sending thoughts and prayers.’ I would have definitely done that if any of my other castmates were going through something like that.”
Ayala had his right leg amputated last month after being diagnosed with lymphedema at age 11. Throughout his life, he has undergone 16 leg surgeries — including a total knee replacement in 2021 — before his above-the-knee amputation procedure on June 22.
Fans met the Texas native on Brown’s season of the ABC reality show, which aired in 2019. After trying to share his health battle with the Alabama native, Ayala was accused of trying to get a “pity rose” and later confessed that his portrayal on the show was “disheartening” because it was so misleading.
“I talked about how in 2017, when I had a really bad, bad infection, I almost had my leg amputated, like, that was almost a reality back in 2017. And I basically conveyed that to her. I said, ‘Look, I know a lot of these guys here in the house are younger than me. They may be stronger than me. They may be more handsome than me,’” Ayala exclusively recalled to Us on June 30. “But I told her, I said, ‘I have a different kind of strength. It’s a strength that has persevered from all these surgeries from fighting this disease daily. And that’s the kind of husband, that’s the kind of man I’ll be as someone who will fight for you daily.’ And to have something as serious as a near amputation literally edited and portrayed in like a slapstick comedy kind of way. That crushed me.”
The Lymphatic Education & Research Network worker noted, “I just never thought that my lymphedema would be something that was used against me and that whole environment because I was very transparent and clear with Hannah.”
The Bachelor in Paradise alum added that the show mishandled the coverage of his disease, especially when they chose to blur out his “I have lymphedema, Google it” T-shirt during the season 6 reunion of the spinoff series.
Despite his ups and downs with the franchise, Ayala told Us in June that he was still surprised that there hadn’t been “any reach out from the franchise or any remorse from any of the guys on my season” following his surgery.
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