“I can see both sides to a degree,” the season 19 Bachelor alum exclusively told Us Weekly on Wednesday, March 9, while promoting her Sacred Skulls NFT project. “I understand that it is a show and I think that the show knew ahead of time how Susie felt … when it comes to relationships and sex, and everything like that. So I think the show knew [and] they strategically may have placed her [as the third] fantasy suite. But I don’t think Clayton handled it well at all. I feel like there is no excuse for his behavior.”
During the Tuesday, March 8, episode of the ABC dating series, Clayton, 28, and Susie, 29, clashed over their different points of view about getting physical before an engagement. After the video producer confessed that it would be a deal-breaker for her if Clayton had sex with someone else, the Missouri native was forced to admit that he was intimate with both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. Though the athlete told Susie he loved her “the most,” he got heated and ultimately sent the Virginia native packing.
“It was actually sort of triggering for me to watch, really,” Jade told Us. “Watching a woman try to have a mature conversation [and] express her feelings — and she was very much just sticking to how she was feeling and she was, you could tell, like, being very receptive to what he was saying — and then all of a sudden he, like, flipped the script on her and was like, ‘How could you do this to me?’ And just, like, watching her emotions and then the way he, like, stormed off and [was] like, ‘I’m done, it’s done.’ And the way he opened the car door aggressively … it did not sit with me well.”
Before Susie’s exit, the former football player told her that he didn’t recognize the person in front of him, accusing her of dropping “a bombshell” on him. “Anything you say to me at this point doesn’t matter to me anymore, so I’m going to walk you out,” he said on Tuesday.
Though several of Clayton’s former contestants alleged that he was “gaslighting” Susie, Jade doesn’t think that’s an accurate interpretation. “People overuse the word ‘gaslighting,’ and I agree maybe that word is thrown around too much,” she told Us. “Like, toxic is thrown around too much in society now. … But, I mean, he handled it awful. I felt so bad for Susie.”
The Bachelor in Paradise season 2 alum added that while it may have been more helpful to bring up the topic ahead of time, there’s not always an opportunity. “Everything sort of unfolds as you’re going through the process,” she explained. “[As] someone who’s experienced it myself, she may have not even realized how important it was to her until she realized, ‘I have deep feelings for this guy. There’s true emotions here. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about him being intimate with somebody else,’ you know?”
Jade was torn, telling Us, “It’s hard to say. Maybe she should have said it earlier. But I also still don’t think it’s an excuse for the way he handled it.”
Clayton, for his part, has had some time to process what went down — and has admitted that he’s not proud of his actions. “I did not handle it correctly,” he said on the “Almost Famous” podcast on Wednesday, March 9. “Because I was so hurt and upset that I felt as though she gave no emotion from start to finish. And I watch it back now and I’m like, ‘It’s clear as day the emotion was there.’ She was torn, but I couldn’t see that.”
Before the dramatic episode played out, the University of Missouri alum exclusively told Us he was “somewhat petrified” for fans to see the end of his journey. “I went in there hoping that I could make it as seamless as possible,” he said earlier this month. “And I think, honestly, it was the closest thing to a trainwreck.”
The Bachelor‘s two-part season finale airs on ABC Monday, March 14, and Tuesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET.