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- American actress
Meghan Markle’s high school friend has defended her as “one of the kindest people” he knew there, after sharing a story about her flirting with him at a party.
Nema Vand, of Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset, revealed some interesting stories of their teenage years during a podcast with comedian Kate Casey, including telling her about Meghan sitting on his lap at a party.
Vand, who calls himself an “unorthodox Persian”, said: “She knew what she was doing. She toyed with our hearts masterfully.
“We were at a party one time and she sat on my lap. She got nose-to-nose with me. For a 16-year-old guy, that is an emotional moment. She said to me in Farsi, ‘You are so beautiful.’
“I looked at her and I said, ‘How do you know Farsi?’ She said, 'I learned it for you.' Then she walked away.
“If you want to scramble a 16-year-old brain, she knew what she was doing. We all adored her.”
Vand, 37, went to an all-boys high school in California, which was a sister school to Meghan’s all-girls Catholic high school.
The reality star has since clarified his comments about the Duchess of Sussex, after a focus on his use of the word “toyed”.
On Twitter, he said: “Let me be perfectly clear: Meghan Markle was one of the kindest people I remember from high school. Watching certain publications twist a really sweet and innocent story is absurd. I've never known Meghan to be anything but kindhearted to EVERYONE.
“Meghan always treated me and everyone around me with total kindness and respect. Can't believe people would turn such a fun adolescent moment into an opportunity to paint her into some kind of villain. She was the literal opposite of that.”
In the podcast he had also called teenage Meghan “a woman among girls” and added that “everybody was in love with her”.
Vand had also asked Meghan, now 38, to get in touch with one of their friends who she “ghosted” after appearing on Suits.
Speaking about the pal, named Gabe, he said: “If Meghan Markle listens to this — I’m gonna say this one time — Meghan, you really upset our friend Gabe.
“My friend Gabe that I grew up with dated Meghan in high school, and he said that after she got on Suits, they were friends for years afterward.
“And he was like, ‘Yeah, she kind of, like, ghosted me after Suits,’ and it, like, really hurt his feelings. I got the sense that Gabe really valued her friendship.”
He asked her to “reach out” to Gabe, but added: “My memory of her have always been this really sweet kind girl, she wasn’t too good to be cool.
“Seeing the toxicity of her breaking up the royal family, it boggles my mind, these are people who don’t know her, never grew up with her, know nothing about her.
“It’s kind of a larger version of what we deal with on Shahs - people form these opinions without knowing a lot. I would tell people to reserve judgement - she’s a good person.”
Hitting back on Twitter, Vand added: “And lets be real, we've ALL "ghosted" old friends from high school. That's what Facebook is for.”
Vand said despite some people feeling sorry for him for going to an all-boys school, but praised his school and said many of his best friends are from that time.
Shahs of Sunset is a reality TV show which follows six Persian-American friends who juggle their social lives with the demands of their families and tradition.
Meghan is living with husband Prince Harry and their son Archie in Los Angeles after leaving their roles as senior royals.