Xander Boger admits that she didn't need to defend Vanessa Papa so hard.
"There's lots of hard things I think for me to watch, when I watch it back and reflect on the experience in general," Xander exclusively told E! News. "But it is hard to see me constantly defending her."
The physical therapist explained that sticking up for Vanessa after fellow cast members accused her of being manipulative and attention-seeking "made sense at the same time" because of their history together.
"She was my partner for four years and she was someone that I want to protect," Xander continued. "I don't like the idea of feeling like that someone is being on ganged up on or bullied."
Xander wanted the cast to have "openness" toward Vanessa, but now sees another side of the situation. "I think that my first thought is, ‘Oh, this is my person that I've known the longest. I need to stand up for her,'" Xander said. "But I didn't. I didn't need to do that at all."
Xander now recognizes how the other couples on the show had her back as the drama unfolded.
"I'm actually so thankful that these people that did not even know me very well, the other cast members, were so accepting and loving and supportive toward me," she said, "that they were looking out for the best for me."
The Hawaii-based star initially wanted to go on the show to gain clarity in their relationship, as she felt Vanessa was "hot and cold" about where they stood. "You're saying you want to be with me, but you're also saying that I feel like a best friend," Xander recalled to E!, "and I don't want that."
That wishy-washy mindset made Vanessa an early villain in the season, with castmates Lexi Goldberg and Yoly Rojas calling her out for allegedly being rude or scheming.
"Within truly, no edits, within 10 minutes of meeting me and [partner] Mal, she insinuated her and Mal were going to be like trial wives together," Yoly told E!, recalling that Vanessa's toast to her own future with Mal "was so disrespectful."
And that wasn't the only drama with Vanessa. "Going forward, she tries to instigate little things and do things for attention. It was just not my kind of person," Yoly shared while reflecting on some off-camera moments. "There was no Lexi coercing all of us not to like her."