Nancy Rodriguez isn’t buying that Cole Barnett wanted to rekindle his romance with Zanab Jaffrey — especially since he seemingly dated another one of his Love Is Blind costars.
“He dated someone from our cast soon after,” Nancy, 32, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the release of Love Is Blind: After that Altar, which premiered on Friday, February 10. “I just feel like he wanted to put on this front.”
The speech pathologist noted that she didn’t think Cole, 27, was being honest about his intentions with Zanab, 32, and was just playing to the camera during the reunion special.
“The fact that he even reached out to one of our old castmates [and] met up with them not long after the weddings,” she explained while choosing not to reveal the identity of their fellow costar. “To me, that sounds very false that he was thinking [he and Zanab] were going to be dating again when he didn’t reach out at all.”
During the third season of the Netflix series, which aired in fall 2022, Cole and Zanab faced major ups and downs as a couple. They fell in love while in the pods and bonded quickly over their faith. Before even meeting face-to-face, the realtor got down on one knee and expressed his strong feelings for the London native.
“I couldn’t be happier to be in this pod right now. I could go on and on and on about how I’m falling in love with you,” Cole said in his proposal. “I could talk about the life that I see with you of us traveling together and having kids together. I could tell you how damn attracted I am to you without ever even seeing you.”
Trouble in paradise began for the duo during their engagement trip to Malibu. Cole admitted to his fiancée that he was also attracted to Colleen Reed, whom he also dated in the pods, and rated both of the women. (Colleen moved on with Matt Bolton and the pair later said “I do” at the altar.)
The twosome hit another roadblock in their relationship when Cole’s parents refused to meet Zanab and attend their upcoming television nuptials. The flight attendant ended up rejecting the Texas native at their wedding, explaining that he “shattered [her] self-confidence” after he compared her to the professional ballerina.
After the show’s season finale in November 2022, Zanab opened up to Us about where she stood with Cole following their breakup.
“I think if he has questions [about why we broke up] he could definitely pick up the phone and ask,” Zanab exclusively told Us at the time. “I would love to clear up anything for him. I tried to be very clear at the altar [about] exactly why I was leaving and why it was a no.”
After watching back the season, Nancy couldn’t help but gush about her friend’s resilience.
“I just know that at the end of the day, Zanab is one of the strongest women that I know and everything she’s been through in life, like[, this is a scratch,” she said. “This is nothing compared to how strong she has become as a woman and how she continues to grow.”
Nancy, for her part, admitted to Us she’s still looking for love and is using Chispa — the No. 1 dating app for Latinx individuals in the United States. Chispa matches individuals together based on their cultural background.
“I think for me that is something so powerful [because] I love my culture …” she explained to Us. “So the fact that I can relate to someone [and] date someone who gets it and who understands [appeals to me].”
Love Is Blind: After the Altar season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix.
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With reporting by Christina Garibaldi