Former Bachelorette star Meredith Phillips claims she was drugged and sexually assaulted by a masseuse during the filming of her season of the ABC reality series.
After appearing as a contestant on Bob Guiney’s 2003 The Bachelor, Phillips went on to become the second-ever lead of The Bachelorette. Her season aired in 2004.
During a podcast with Steve Carbone, the franchise blogger known as Reality Steve, posted on Wednesday, Phillips claimed a producer hired a female masseuse to give her a massage during filming and that the woman allegedly gave her a pill that she thought was Tylenol. “Evidently that was not the case,” said Phillips. “I couldn’t move my body. When she drew me a bath and got in with me naked, I couldn’t do anything.”
Phillips opened up about her time on the show during the conversation. “I was difficult, I will say that,” she admitted of herself. “Just because this is my life, everyone who I care about is going to see this and I’m not going to say something that isn’t true to me.”
Midway through their conversation, Carbone asked Phillips to name the hardest thing she had to deal with as the Bachelorette. That is when she shared the details of the alleged encounter, acknowledging that she had stayed quiet in hopes of protecting the franchise. “Normally I wouldn’t really talk about this, but I’m going to tell you because it’s bothered me for years,” she said.
As Carbone pressed her to clarify her claims, Phillips alleged the masseuse was hired by a producer on the show while they were on location in Los Angeles.
“She was hired to give me a massage and she said, ‘I’m going to give you a pill.’ I just assumed it was an aspirin or something to loosen up my back or a Tylenol or something, and it wasn’t that, that’s for sure,” Phillips said. “The last thing I remember is she got naked and she was in the tub with me rubbing my back and rubbing areas that probably she shouldn’t have. Then I was put in bed. I woke up naked. Don’t remember a lot. I wasn’t even drinking.” (Philips has previously spoken out about a battle with alcoholism.)
“This is hard for me to talk about,” she continued. “I think I’ve put it somewhere else in my brain so when you bring this up, it’s definitely right there in the forefront as we’re speaking. I remember everything until a certain point, and when the pill kicked in, I literally couldn’t even move my body, so I have no idea what the pill was at all.”
Philips told Carbone that she has attempted to work through what happened and that she didn’t speak about it until later, though she didn’t specify when. “I felt violated, so I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I mean, how do you bring that up?” she said, adding that most of the crew didn’t know a masseuse was arriving to give her a massage. Phillips went on to pick Ian McKee, though they called off their engagement the following year.
ABC and franchise producers Warner Bros. Television did not comment on Phillips’ claim when reached by The Hollywood Reporter.
Last summer, Bachelor spinoff series Bachelor in Paradise investigated a claim during filming, but ultimately found there was no misconduct. The new season of The Bachelorette premieres Monday with Becca Kufrin.
Listen to Philips’ full podcast conversation here.