As promised, it was the most dramatic Bachelorette finale ever. Reluctant to propose to Rachel Lindsay after a whirlwind eight weeks, Peter Kraus was left to wallow over their split in a Barcelona hotel room, her fake eyelashes on the floor a constant reminder of his pain.
“It all just ended so fast,” Kraus exclusively tells Us Weekly. “It was just me, sitting there by myself in my own thoughts. That was a really dark couple of days. When you have no outlets, it’s hard to get out of your head.” (Watch the hunk spill all in the video above!)
But another — perhaps rosier — proposal awaited. Just weeks after production wrapped, ABC approached the 31-year-old about leading season 22 of The Bachelor.
“It was just a loose conversation of, ‘Is this something you have ever thought about, something you would do?’” recalls the Wisconsin native. “I was so distraught at that time that it was something that I could never see myself doing.”
But he did consider the benefits. “Hopefully you find love,” he says. “There’s a lot of fun — some of my closets friends are from the show. But there are cons too. I feel like you lose control and I’m definitely a control freak. There’d be a lot I wouldn’t have final say on, and that would be hard for me.”
Guaranteeing a happily ever after weighed on him, too. “As far as proposal, yeah I’m worried that at the end of it I wouldn’t necessarily be able to, but it’s not that I don’t want to,” Kraus, who said on the show he wants “to do that once in my life” says. “This is kind of part of my thought process, if i did get to the end and I do really, truly like somebody but for some reason I can’t just say this is for sure that person, I don’t want it to be the same outcome again. People are forgiving once. I don’t know if they’re forgiving twice.”
Bachelor alum (and two-time Bachelorette runner-up and Bachelor in Paradise contestant) Nick Viall stepped up to be Kraus’ sounding board. The fellow Wisconsin native “happened to call me and say, ‘Hey, I know you’re going through a hard time,’” he reveals. “I was like, ‘What do you think of this? Do you appreciate the experience?’ He was appreciative and happy for it. Gave some really great words of advice that I’ll keep between he and I. It was good. It was a good conversation with him.”
Though the gig ultimately went to race car driver and Bachelorette season 8 alum Arie Luyendyk Jr. — “There was never a cold turkey like, ‘This is not happening.’ I was not ready for this and they agreed,” says Kraus — the personal trainer is still open to a proverbial journey of his own…down the line. “ “If it were to come up again,” says the single hunk, “I would definitely consider it.”
For the first time, Kraus opens up about his new reality.
Us Weekly: Let’s start from the beginning. Why sign on?
Peter Kraus: I felt like I had met most of the women in Madison my age and single. My clients recommended I try it. I said, “Why not?” I submitted myself.
Us: First night, what was racing through your mind?
PK: I was the very first guy out that in itself was nerve-racking. They were like, ”Just take a shot or two.” I took a couple shots, thought it would help. It just made things worse because I was all nervous about that. So finally I just walk up to her and I just blanked it out. Like I was so nervous I don’t even remember if I said my name or not. I have a tremor that runs through my family. It was was on an extreme level that night. I was shaking like a leaf.
Us: When did you start to feel pressure to propose?
PK: Even before engagement was really a thought. We were in Geneva and the next step would be a hometown date. I hadn’t had my second date yet! I was going to introduce her to my family, my friends but most importantly my niece and nephew. I wanted to make sure our relationship was cemented as a real relationship, not just one being built on a reality TV show.
Us: Rachel questioned your ability to commit. Do you struggle with that?
PK: I don’t think I’ve ever had a commitment issue. It was unfortunate that people took it that way. I’m ready for a lifelong love. It just wasn’t enough time for me. It wasn’t what I needed for myself.
Us: If you were willing to propose, do you think you would be together?
PK: She has a very special connection with Bryan [Abasolo, who proposed during the show’s finale]. I don’t think I would have been picked had I been ready.
Us: Any regrets?
PK: I got into my head a fair amount. I allowed myself to pull back a little bit as opposed to being fully engulfed in the setting. I think she could sense that. I always question things and usually with time those questions can be answered. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time. And so those questions kind of always remained.
Us: Hardest adjustment post-show?
PK: Friends would ask me like, “C’mon, just tell me. Are you with her or not? Are you guys happy?” and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted to say something so bad. So I really felt alone. That’s when I really started to feel isolated. There was no one I could talk to. Not even my parents about it because they didn’t understand the emotions I was feeling, like, “Peter, you’re fine. It’s over. It’s cool. You’re good.” I’m like, “No, it’s not. You don’t see the attacks on social media. You don’t see the questions I’m being asked every day. You don’t see the people coming up to me like, ‘Oh my God, you’re the guy that she’s with! Happy! You’re so great!’ and having to fake that.”
Us: So what’s next?
PK: I’m very happy. I’m building my businesses. Worth Personal Training is my home business; Peter Kraus Fitness is my national business. We do traveling boot camps. We want to help develop a fitness following. I’m hoping to team up with local charities. Boys & Girls Club is amazing. They’ve really helped a lot.
Us: And the Bachelor Winter Games?
PK: I’m just waiting to see. If offered, I’d probably do it. It sounds like a lot of fun. Even though I’m from Wisconsin, I don’t play any winter sports. I never did. I’m really bad on the ice, like really bad. I’m 6’4’’ and really skinny so it’s like me and ice and stilts type of thing. Not easy.
Us: OK, be honest. Are you ready to date again?
PK: It’s been a constant thought in my mind. I’m going to keep thinking on it. I’m in no rush.
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