Bachelor Nation, prepare for another messy ending. Clayton Echard, Jesse Palmer and more have been promising a dramatic finale to season 26 for weeks — and it’s finally (almost) here.
The 28-year-old Missouri native’s journey hit a breaking point during the fantasy suites episodes on March 8 after he admitted to Susie Evans that he slept with — and said he was falling in love with — both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. Clayton subsequently sent Susie home after she expressed concerns about being ready for an engagement once she was informed of his actions with the other women.
“I remember the first day I went in, I said, ‘I will not fall in love with multiple people.’ And, like, I was so serious about it. And then the journey began, and I was just battling with it mentally. I’m like, ‘No, no, there’s no way,’” Clayton exclusively told Us Weekly before the season premiered in January. “[Then] I was like, you know what, quit fighting these feelings because if you do fight the feelings, you’re gonna hold back and then that’s gonna cause these women to potentially put up their walls. One day it hit me, and I was like, ‘I’m in, you know, [I’m] falling in love with multiple women.’ And I kind of started laughing in disbelief. I don’t know if it was a nervous — I think it was a nervous laugh. But you know what, I realized, like, ‘You can’t fight these feelings, you have to allow them to come out.’”
The problem, however, is his relationship with Susie crumbled once she knew about his feelings and based on the promos for the “rose ceremony from hell,” Gabby and Rachel don’t take it well either.
“It was upsetting for the women to hear it and rightfully so,” Clayton told Us. “I understand that. My big thing is I’m someone who’s very transparent.”
More recently, at the Women Tell All taping, the former football player told Us that he is “somewhat petrified at how all the things went down,” explaining: “It was the closest thing to a trainwreck.”
When it comes to whether Clayton is single, engaged or in a relationship, he told Glamour earlier this month that he wishes “it could have went any other direction” than the direction it did.
“I don’t think anyone expected it to end the way that it did, including myself, nor did I want it to be that way,” he admitted. “There was a lot of things that I just never would’ve thought would’ve happened the way they did. So everyone will be kind of surprised.”
The Bachelor concludes with a two-part finale on ABC Monday, March 14, and Tuesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET.
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Scroll through for a breakdown of fan theories and quotes from Clayton, Jesse and more: