A dramatic finish. Clayton Echard abruptly sent Susie Evans home during the Tuesday, March 8, episode of The Bachelor — and his behavior drew plenty of criticism from his former contestants.
The former athlete and the video producer, both 28, clashed during the dinner portion of their overnight date when Susie revealed that she wouldn’t be happy if Clayton had slept with any of the other remaining women before proposing. As Susie’s fantasy suite date was the third of the episode, Clayton had already spent the night with both Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey.
“I can see myself getting engaged to this man, I can see myself having a family with him,” Susie said during a confessional. “But I’m hoping that he takes, like, physical intimacy as seriously as I do. … If I find out that he’s falling in love with other women or that he has become physically intimate with another woman, that would be devastating.”
Clayton proceeded to express his feelings for each of his final three throughout the episode. Before it was her turn for an overnight, Susie confessed that she was “spiraling emotionally” while thinking about what might be happening between the season 18 Bachelorette alum and the other women.
The Virginia native went on to tell Clayton that it would be a major dealbreaker for him to be physical with anyone else if she ended up being the one he got engaged to during the finale. Even though the lead told Susie he was “the most” in love with her, she didn’t budge. “I don’t think I can get past those things. I just don’t think I can,” she said.
Her honesty prompted Clayton to blow up, and he accused Susie of invalidating their entire journey up until that point. “I don’t even know who I’m looking at anymore,” he 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 … I’m sorry that I even raised my voice. It’s because I cared so much, I really did love you. … Anything you say to me at this point doesn’t matter to me anymore, so I’m going to walk you out.”
Viewers were shocked by how the University of Missouri alum handled the argument, with former season 26 stars Sierra Jackson and Elizabeth Corrigan even claiming Clayton was “gaslighting” Susie. Ahead of the dramatic elimination, the ABC personality exclusively told Us Weekly that he wasn’t proud of how the end of his season played out.
“I am somewhat petrified at how all the things went down,” he said at the Women Tell All taping. “I went in there hoping that I could make it as seamless as possible. And I think, honestly, it was the closest thing to a trainwreck.”
Clayton told Us that he was “not looking forward” to watching it all back, adding, “It was a mess and I feel terrible and it hurts me, but I know I have to talk to these women and we all need our closure. … It’s going to be very emotional.”
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Scroll down to see how Bachelor Nation reacted to the messy sendoff: