ABC’s hit reality show “The Bachelorette” was rigged this season – and star Ashley Hebert was in on it, The ENQUIRER has learned.
Ashley, 27, admits she picked the man she wanted to marry early in the season, and sources charge that producers then had to concoct scenes to make the show more exciting – including turning 29-year-old Bentley Williams into the villain.
Viewers who religiously tuned in each week believed they were seeing real, raw emotions from Ashley and her suitors – but The ENQUIRER has ripped the lid off the faked tears and story lines.
“Ashley really wasn’t a strong ‘Bachelorette’ and producers knew it,” revealed a show insider.
“Usually the contestant understands that she has to perform. They’ll act out their own little scripts while the producers nod and wink.”
But naive Ashley didn’t get it in the beginning – so they rigged it, say sources.
Producers reportedly decided to cast divorced, Utah-based business owner Bentley as a villain – and Ashley allegedly got on board, according to the insider.
“Before she even met the guys, Ashley set the stage by telling show host Chris Harrison she’s been warned about Bentley,” explained the insider. “She then goes on to play the doormat to Bentley’s cad.”
Acting every bit the bad guy, Bentley, who left in the third episode, made crude remarks about Ashley’s body, her “boring” kiss and “overall unattractiveness.”
In an outrageous travesty, Ashley pretended to be smitten with Bentley even as he was trashing her, said the insider.
“It was the most exciting story line on the show – and when Bentley left, things started to fall apart.”
Producers quickly realized that dental student Ashley was boring – and without Bentley, “The Bachelorette” was downright dull.
Fearing that viewers might flee in droves, execs brought back their villain in episode 6.
“Bentley’s return was a completely manipulated and scripted event that Ashley was talked into and coached through,” said the insider.
Show host Harrison even confessed that Ashley’s scenes were edited to make her look like a pushover.
“It’s an entertainment show, first and foremost,” he said.
Producers decided Ashley should get back at Bentley by telling him off in the sharpest terms, but she couldn’t bring herself to do an ugly face-to-face confrontation.
Only after much coaching did she tell him to “—- off,” said the insider. “Now producers are tearing their hair out that Ashley and Harrison are openly hinting it was fixed.”
In a stunning interview given two months after filming ended, Ashley admitted: “I knew where my heart was from very early on. I don’t know that I have made a good Bachelorette.
“If I’m not into somebody, I have a hard time faking it, and I think in this environment, you have to be able to do that sometimes.”