Speaking to The Independent in an extensive interview, the 28-year-old social media star said she believed Bear’s decision to post the video to his OnlyFans account was driven by his “ego” but admitted she would “never fully understand” his motives.
Bear was jailed for 21 months in March over the video of the pair having sex in Bear’s garden in Loughton, Essex, in August 2020.
Harrison, who has appeared on The Only Way Is Essex and Love Island, said fellow reality TV star Bear told her he had taken the footage afterwards but pretended it was a mistake, claiming he had not realised the CCTV cameras were on.
She said she “knew that wasn’t true” and she warned him she would go to the police if the footage was shared.
Harrison added: “He gaslit me into believing I was completely overexaggerating and he would never do something like that. He said ‘I’ve had famous girlfriends in the past’. I thought well it's true, he’s been in the limelight for over 10 years. He is a Big Brother winner.”
At the time, she questioned why Bear would want to leak the footage given it would “massively affect both of our careers and probably not help in any way”.
Harrison’s comments come as she condemned the government’s plan to scrap shorter prison sentences in a bid to tackle the overcrowding crisis plaguing jails, which could see thousands of predatory men walk free from court.
The Independent revealed that 11,040 men were imprisoned for around 12 months or less for harassment, stalking and revenge porn last year – all sentences that could now be served in the community to clear space in prisons.
Harrison said she feared axeing short sentences would send the wrong message to criminals, adding: “If Bear had walked away from my court case without prison time, I really don’t think he would have learnt a single thing from the entire experience. If anything, I think he would have come back worse.”
Harrison, who is now a women’s rights campaigner, said she felt “betrayed” and“shocked” when she first realised the footage of her had been leaked.
“I was really hurt that he would do that because we had known each other for a really long time and he knew how much of an effect it would have on me,” she added. “So I just felt really, really betrayed and used and violated. Especially when I found out it had been sold directly to the internet. It was just like I'd just been used for monetary gain.”
She said the ordeal left her “devastated” as well as lowering her self-worth and making her feel “devalued” due to so many people seeing her in a “sexually explicit way”.
Harrison said dealing with the repercussions of the abuse felt similar to the stages of grief. It also affected her physical health – she developed cysts and later went into septic shock and ended up having to go into hospital for five days.
She said nobody would ever know why Bear chose to leak the footage until he apologised for his crimes.
At the time, the court heard that Bear had earned £2,000 from the footage shared on OnlyFans.
Bear turned up to the trial in December wearing a black fur coat and sunglasses in a rented white Rolls-Royce driven by a chauffeur.
He asked members of the public if they wanted to take a selfie with him, as well as telling reporters his trial was unfair and singing “Lady In Red” as he walked to Chelmsford Crown Court to be sentenced.
“For any victim walking into a court case, you imagine the worst-case scenario in your head of ‘what is this person going to do?’” Harrison said.
“How are they going to act? How are they going to manipulate this courtroom? And he just didn't. He literally just turned up exactly who he is and acted the way he had acted towards me for the last two years in front of the whole of the British public.”
Despite the trauma of the trial, Harrison said she was now in the “best place” she has been in for a long time as she explained “the fog has completely lifted” and she has “healed from the situation”.
Bear, a former roofer who won Celebrity Big Brother in 2016, denied all charges against him but was found guilty of voyeurism as well as revealing private sexual images and films with intent to provoke distress, after a trial which went on for several months.
As well as his prison term, he was handed a restraining order instructing him not to contact Harrison for five years and was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.