In an exclusive preview clip obtained by Us Weekly, the Missouri native, 28, spoke to Kaitlyn Bristowe during the Thursday, March 10, episode of her “Off the Vine” podcast about the criticism he’s faced from fans — and how exactly he reacted to his own behavior when he watched the episode as it aired.
“I compartmentalized, I guess, too well to the point where I was just all in with these women,” he told the former Bachelorette, 36, of professing his love to all three finalists: Susie, 28, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey. “And that was the thing people said … ‘He’s saying the same thing to multiple women.’”
Clayton countered these claims, alleging he was earnest in telling the three women he loved them.
“I’m only one person. I mean, I don’t have a different vocabulary depending on who I’m talking to,” he explained. “So I felt these feelings of love and they were genuine — if anything I felt so similar with every one of the connections that that’s why the same things were being said, because I felt that way genuinely.”
As for the former football player’s reaction when Susie became upset after he confessed that he slept with Rachel, 26, and Gabby, 32 — and told them that he was falling in love with them — Clayton explained that too.
“All three of the women said, ‘I want you to explore the other relationships fully,’ almost verbatim,” he told Bristowe, adding that he “assumed” that everyone would be OK with the arrangement — and soon realized that was a “big mistake.”
“I looked at it like if these women stick around and watch me kiss other women in front of them — which would never be acceptable in the real world — then these real-world boundaries are kind of set aside and there’s a new playing field in this environment,” he shared. “When I was [later] sitting alone in my room, that’s when it hit me. I was like, ‘You’re in a deep spot, you’re in a really bad spot. You have told three women now that you’re in love and how do you think this is going to end?’”
Clayton also added that he was “embarrassed” about his reaction to Susie, who was deeply upset when she discovered that he had slept with both Rachel and Gabby and confessed his love to them.
“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 Bachelor told the fitness instructor on Tuesday’s episode. “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. I don’t even know who I’m looking at anymore.”
Reflecting on that moment, the University of Missouri alum told Bristowe, “I was shocked that I couldn’t see her side.”
For her part, Bristowe took to Instagram on Tuesday to share her own thoughts on the situation.
“I’m just going to speak from personal experience … when you’re in that position, you are making a life-altering decision,” the season 11 Bachelorette said via Instagram Stories. “You genuinely fall in love with more [than one] person, so why would you not be intimate with more than one person and when you’re trying to find the person to spend the rest of your life with? Why do we judge so hard on this?”
Clayton Echard’s full episode of “Off the Vine” drops on PodcastOne Thursday, March 10. The Bachelor concludes with a two-part finale on ABC Monday, March 14, and Tuesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET.