A moment of reflection. Clayton Echard was the first Bachelor to drop the L-word with three of his contestants — but he no longer believes that was the right decision.
“Looking back at it all — in those moments, I believed it. I really did believe I was in love with them when I was there, on the show,” the 28-year-old Bachelor said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “But as I’ve now taken the time to reflect and look back, I believe that I got to the point where I was falling in love with everybody, but then it got to the point where I was only in love with Susie.”
Clayton, who was joined by Susie Evans on the Wednesday, March 16, episode of the podcast, individually told the videographer, 29, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia that he was in love with them during their respective overnight dates.
“[Now] I only think you can be in love with one person. You can fall for many, but you can only be in love with one,” Clayton told Us. “And that’s where I made a mistake. I was confused on the show, and I believed that I was in love with multiple women, but I’ve since realized that I don’t think I was.”
While Clayton declared during his initial breakup with Susie that he loved her “the most,” he convinced Gabby and Rachel to stay and see the relationships through during part one of the finale. On part two, however, he admitted he was still thinking about the former Miss Virginia and officially ended things with his other two finalists.
“[Susie] left, I realized that that ship had potentially sailed,” Clayton told Us. “And beyond that, just because I loved her the most, did not mean I had made a definitive answer that she was The One. I do believe everything happens for a reason. And when she left, like, I said, ‘OK, I have these two incredible women here and I need to continue to pour into them because this is what apparently, exactly needed to happen. So give these women your all and see if maybe you’ll end up walking outta here with one of ’em.’”
In the end, Clayton and Susie reconciled after the show wrapped. Bachelor alum Becca Tilley, who recapped the full finale on Wednesday’s podcast, told Us that she is rooting for the pair — even though she thought Rachel was The One during the season.
“I haven’t felt like someone was genuinely in love with someone on the show like that in a long time,” Becca told Us about Rachel. “I felt like she was genuinely in love with him. I was sad watching [their breakup]. I always [say], like, ‘OK, whatever, you’ve known each other for, like, 48 hours. Encompassed time? 48 hours. You’re gonna be OK.’ But that one I was like, ‘Oh, that really hurt a little bit. I could feel it.’”
For a complete recap of Clayton’s finale with Becca, listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.