Clayton Echard and Susie Evans‘ eventually found their happy ending on The Bachelor — but it didn’t come without a few bumps along the way.
The former football player abruptly sent Susie home on the March 8, 2022, episode of the hit series during their fantasy suite date after the videographer confessed that she was uncomfortable with him sleeping with the other two contestants — Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia — one week before potentially proposing to her.
“In knowing that there’s an engagement literally in a week, and there are things I can’t compromise,” Susie explained, before asking if he also told them that he loved them. “If I’m sharing your love with somebody else, I don’t think I would be comfortable [saying yes].”
After confessing that he had, indeed, told both Gabby and Rachel that he was falling in love (and that he had been intimate with both women), Clayton attempted to defend himself. “I was having feelings of love with [them] and so I slept with this person because I wanted to see how the psychical connection is. If you were in love with somebody, you would just explore that,” he said. Though Susie noted that she “understands” his side of things, she was still struggling to reconcile that fact with her feelings.
When the Virginia native ultimately argued that she couldn’t be with him after his revelation, Clayton accused her of not wanting to “fight” for their relationship and walked her out. At the time, the Bachelor stated that he had given up on finding love on the show but the Missouri native later revealed that he regretted his emotional outburst.
“One of the greatest things that I learned was the power of emotion,” Clayton told Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti on their “Almost Famous” podcast in March 2022 after their breakup episode aired. “When you allow that to overcome rationale … I saw that I shut down. And I jumped to a lot of conclusions that aren’t realistic, that weren’t the truth.”
He continued: “And so I’ve known this before, but I know now going forward, if I ever get overwhelmed like that ever again, [I should] take a deep breath and step aside. Say, ‘I need to take five,’ just step away. I in that moment did not do that. And I wish I would have just taken a breather and walked outside and said, ‘Give me 20 minutes,’ but I didn’t. I also learned again that my reality is one thing and someone else’s reality is another, and perception is reality. However people perceive it, that’s the reality of it.”
When she was sent packing, Susie said through tears, “I thought he would have more compassion for me. Regardless of what kind of love [we had for each other] at this point, I just thought we would have been better at getting through that conversation kindly.”
Their journey didn’t end there, however. During the bombshell season finale, Clayton made an effort to reunite with the ousted contestant, which was initially unsuccessful. While she dumped him at the final rose ceremony, the pair later revealed that they gave their romance another shot once filming wrapped.
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Keep scrolling to see exactly how Clayton and Susie’s relationship unfolded on The Bachelor: