The former football player, 28, explained his controversial decision to send home the wedding videographer, also 28, during an appearance on the Wednesday, March 9, episode of Ashley Iaconetti and Ben Higgins‘ “Almost Famous” podcast.
“I did not handle it correctly,” the Missouri native said of Susie’s exit, which viewers saw on the Tuesday, March 8, episode of The Bachelor. “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.”
Earlier in the episode, Susie expressed her worry that she wouldn’t be able to forgive Clayton if he slept with Rachel Recchia or Gabby Windey during his fantasy suite dates, which both happened before hers. When the Virginia native finally got her one-on-one with Clayton, he confessed that he slept with both women — and said “I love you” to both too.
Susie and Clayton initially tried to work through the situation, but the conversation quickly took a turn. “I don’t even know who I’m looking at anymore,” the sales rep said before sending her home. “You just dropped a bombshell on me, and I don’t agree with it at all how you went about it. I think it’s BS.”
The scene drew immediate backlash from viewers and fans, including several members of Bachelor Nation. Clayton’s eliminated contestant Sierra Jackson accused him of “gaslighting” Susie, while former Bachelor Nick Viall said that the current lead was “being a dick” but not actually gaslighting. “Clayton playing [the] victim is outrageous,” added Rick Leach, who appeared on Michelle Young‘s season of The Bachelorette.
During his conversation with Ben, 32, and Ashley, 34, Clayton admitted that he was wrong to think Susie didn’t truly feel anything for him.
“It was untrue,” he said, referring to his comment that Susie didn’t “fight” for him. “But I couldn’t see that because I was just trying to do everything in my power to see if I could convince her to give me a second chance. … Now I watch it back and I’m like, ‘No, she didn’t seem cold at all, man. You literally had the wrong perspective. You couldn’t even see her perspective then.’ There’s a lot of things I look back now where I’m like, ‘Well, what were you thinking?'”
Keep scrolling for more revelations from Clayton’s appearance on the podcast: