Bachelorette

'Bachelorette' shocker! Strange death in contestant's past

May 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM ET

“Bachelorette” contestant controversies usually strike well after the season premiere, but not this time.

“Bachelor” reject Ashley Hebert has a second chance at romance in the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette," but she might want to maintain that guarded nature of hers that eventually pushed away Brad Womack. The former mother-in-law of one of Hebert’s soon-to-be suitors is suspicious about the role the man might have played in his wife’s death.

West Lee is set to vie with 24 other men for Hebert’s affection on the matchmaking show, but he’s likely to be an early standout with viewers thanks to a report in the next issue of Star (excerpts of which were published to RadarOnline). In it, the magazine reveals that Lee’s late bride, Sarah, drowned in the couple's bathtub in 2007.

“I believe that West was my daughter’s enabler, and I just feel he had something to do with Sarah’s death,” Dianna Sapp told the magazine. “I would tell Ashley to think long and hard before getting into a relationship with him.”

Sapp remains suspicious despite the fact that the death was ruled an accident. That may have something to do with the allegation that West Lee and his wife were fighting just moments before that fateful bath, or that Sarah Lee had somehow been involved in multiple car accidents in the days before the incident. Or maybe Sapp’s suspicions simply relate to the changes she saw in her daughter after Lee entered her life.

“(Sarah) was in a rehab facility right before she died, but West took her out,” Sapp explained. “The life they shared was a mess. Partying and drinking were not things Sarah was doing — until she started dating West.”

Viewers will have a chance to see just how much of the story Lee shares with Hebert when the new season of "The Bachelorette" premieres May 23. 

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