Although Maria Georgas has been at the center of drama on season 28 of The Bachelor, she’s continued to get roses from Joey Graziadei. The show’s lead defended his decisions and stood up for Maria in an interview published on Monday, February 26.

“I don’t have any idea what happened [between Maria and the other women],” Joey, 28, told Us Weekly. “You guys are seeing as much as I’m seeing. Because every conversation I had with them was one-on-one. I didn’t get to see the group settings. I think that Maria can sometimes be misunderstood. I get that she explained that herself … that she’s a little rough around the edges and was surprised that she didn’t get along with a lot of women in the house.”

Maria, 29, is now one of six women left hoping to end up with Joey on the dating show. She even got a rose during a two-on-one date with Joey and Sydney Gordon earlier this season, which was seemingly Joey’s way of letting her know that he was on her side as the drama between the two women escalated.

the bachelors joey graziadei defends maria amid drama

“She had a strong connection with me and I always, in this situation, was trying to focus on the connections,” Joey explained. “I can’t control what goes on in the house. All I can control is the opportunity to get to know these women the best that I can from what I see and what we talk through. So the reason why Maria stayed, the reason why she’s still around, is because we had a connection that was building and I wanted to see it through. So yeah, it’s hard to speak on that stuff because I still haven’t seen all of it and America still hasn’t seen all of it. That’s always how it’s going to be.”

Maria’s drama with Sydney, 28, began when Sydney felt that Maria was being dismissive of another contestant, Madina Alam’s, feelings about being the oldest woman on the show. Maria caught wind of what Sydney was saying about her, which led to a confrontation between the ladies. Sydney brought Joey up to speed about what was going on and accused Maria of being “toxic” and creating a “hostile environment” in the house.

Sydney was eliminated on the two-on-one date but Maria’s feuding didn’t end when her nemesis was sent home. Lea Cayanan was the next woman to take issue with Maria and she let it be known when she called out Madina, 31, for not being more upset over Sydney’s departure. Lea, 23, was eliminated during week six. Jess Edwards also expressed frustration with Maria when the Canada native spent extra time with Joey at a cocktail party, despite already having a rose from a previous date.

Maria previously spoke out about what’s happened this season so far and promised that “things [will] come to light” as time progresses.

“I just want to say, I’m not innocent in this,” she added. “I like to say I am a woman that speaks her mind and will defend herself at all costs. That’s just how I was raised. If I could go back, honestly, I would do things differently. Especially when whatever you’re going to say or do is not going to make the other person happy. Next time, I’m just gonna zip it.”

The ladies will all come face-to-face during the upcoming Women Tell All special, which will likely film in the next week or two.