‘Bachelorette’ Gabby Addresses Fiance Erich’s Blackface Controversy

Gabby Windey and Eric Schwer
Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images

Gabby Windey wrapped up this latest season of The Bachelorette by getting engaged to Erich Schwer. But the couple has already faced a number of real-world challenges since the proposal, including leaked text messages and a controversial moment from Schwer’s past.

A high school yearbook photo recently re-surfaced showing Schwer in blackface. “I was incredibly shocked,” Windey said in a new interview with People. The reality star explained that she previously had no idea about the photo and that she learned about it at the same time as the rest of the world.

“[I] just really had to process my thoughts and then think about how we can grow as a couple and learn from this,” she continued. As for Schwer, he took to Instagram after the photo started circulating and apologized.

“I wholeheartedly apologize for the insensitive photo of me in blackface from my high school yearbook that has been circulating,” Schwer wrote in a post on September 8. “What I thought at the time was a representation of my love for Jimi Hendrix was nothing but ignorance.”

Eric Schwer

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The drama didn’t stop there, as soon after the blackface controversy, one of Schwer’s exes leaked text messages that seemed to show the real estate analyst breaking up with her to go on the ABC dating show. The texts also implied that Schwer was only going on the show to advance his career.

Windey was prepared for this, however. “I was expecting the text messages,” she revealed. “He was scared they were going to leak, and I’m like, ‘You have to prepare yourself now and tell me the truth.’ And he did, so there’s not really anything I can say or do.”

Despite these dramas, Windey said she and Schwer are determined to make their relationship work. Colorado-based Gabby, who is competing on the latest season of Dancing With the Stars, plans to move full-time to Los Angeles where Erich lives.

“Our commitment to each other is there,” she said. “Now it’s just doing the hard work, which is getting to know each other, more communication, really strengthening those building blocks before we get to the altar.”