‘Bachelorette’ Addresses Fiance’s Major Scandal & Hopes He ‘Wants to Change’

'The Bachelorette' final couples

ABC The final "Bachelorette" couples of season 19 toast their engagements.

When the season 19 “Bachelorette” finale aired on September 20, many viewers were waiting to see Gabby Windey and Erich Schwer discuss a recent scandal tied to him. However, that did not happen, and quite a few “Bachelor Nation” veterans and fans were frustrated over it. While Schwer posted an Instagram apology regarding the yearbook blackface photo of his that recently generated headlines, he was not asked about it during the live “After the Final Rose.” He has not yet addressed it further, but Windey spoke about it during post-finale interviews.

Here’s what you need to know:

Windey Admitted She Needed to Process & Reflect

Windey told People she found out about Schwer’s blackface yearbook photo at the same time everybody else did. She admitted she was “incredibly shocked” and “just really had to process my thoughts and then think about how we can grow as a couple and learn from this.” Just before the finale, another scandal tied to Schwer emerged, and it involved an ex-girlfriend. Windey explained the incidents emerging so closely together pushed the couple to “take a step back and reflect on our relationship and see if we can get through this.”

“The Bachelorette” star was also asked about the blackface incident while talking with Becca Kufrin and Michelle Young for the “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast. Windey admitted she felt a pit in her stomach as soon as she learned about it. She added, “I couldn’t really believe it, because I think I’ve worked so hard to educate myself, and to become the woman I am today.” She explained she had previously pushed herself for growth in these areas, “because unfortunately, you’re not always taught these things when you’re growing up.”

Windey believes navigating the aftermath of the blackface incident is now “OUR problem.” She noted, “Now it’s my turn to really teach him and try and enforce how important it is to me and really try and help him learn from the root of why this is an issue.” She sees this as an opportunity “to be able to teach someone else who is willing to listen,” adding, at this point, it’s “the only place I can go from here.”

Schwer Faces Hard Work & High Expectations in Windey’s View

Kufrin noted she faced similar challenges when she was “The Bachelorette.” She got engaged to Garrett Yrigoyen, but eventually, a significant difference in fundamental beliefs became more than they could overcome. Kufrin told Windey that in her case, she had hoped her fiance would “learn and grow and change.” However, “In my situation, that didn’t end up being the case.”

The former “Bachelorette” asked Windey if Schwer “is in a place where he is genuinely open to changing and growing, or is he kind-of just at a place where he’s saying that now to appease the public eye.” In response, Windey admitted, “Truthfully, I don’t know.” She believes Schwer is “in a place where he wants to change and wants to grow,” and she noted they talk about social issues frequently. Those issues are important to her, she detailed, and Windey expressed a determination to push him on those topics. “He knows being with me, it comes with the territory.”

“The Bachelorette” star thinks this could situation could help others too. “I hope that he’s willing to put in the work and kind of become an example for his community,” Windey explained.

“If people look up to him as being a white man who has experienced privilege, but he admits his wrong and wants to change and grow, maybe he can be kind of a person that other people like him can learn from cause they can relate to him.”

Windey seemed intent on ensuring change comes in order for the relationship to continue, and many “Bachelorette” fans will watch to see if that happens.