After Gabi Elnicki revealed Zach Shallcross promised her that he would keep what happened between the two of them in the fantasy suite “between us,” the season 27 Bachelor is shedding light on what changed.
“In that moment, I told her, I was like, ‘OK, yes, this can be a secret.’ And the guilt ate at me,” the 26-year-old lead said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast during a joint interview with his fiancée, Kaity Biggar, 28, on Tuesday, March 28.
Ahead of the overnight dates, Zach told his finalists that he didn’t plan on having sex on the show.
“When things did not go the way I thought they were gonna go, I felt immense guilt, but I also didn’t want to hurt Gabi or freak her out. I [wanted to] just let her know like, ‘Hey, I feel really bad about this because of like, from what I personally did — me going against what I thought I was gonna do,’” he continued of their conversation the next morning. “And thinking that there’s an engagement right around the corner and I’m holding in a secret, like, I don’t know, that is the scariest thing. That’s not who I am as a man. That’s not what I want to be — to hold secrets and not give the full truth. Obviously, it caused a lot of pain though, and I don’t take away from that.”
He added: “There’s several ways it could have gone different, and I hope Gabi knows that, like, the intentions were as pure as they could be, and I did not wanna hurt her on that.”
During his second fantasy suite with Gabi, 25, the pair decided to be intimate —and he subsequently told Kaity (and the audience) what happened. She called out Zach during their reunion on After the Final Rose.
“It was consensual, and it was what we wanted. We decided that it was going to be between us. We said that night. And I remember I was brushing my teeth, you came up behind me, you kissed me on the back of my head, you said, ‘This is just between us.’ And I said, ‘Yes, this is just between us,’” Gabi said. “I thought it was love. I thought it was more than a TV show. I get it, sex sells, but now I’ve become a narrative.”
When asked whether he told Kaity because he knew she was The One and wanted to prioritize that romance, Zach said that wasn’t the case.
“I wasn’t thinking like that [or] much in advance, I’d say, because every moment counts,” the sales exec told Us. “And I was very adamant about that — every conversation, every time you have together, you have to live in the moment. And with that, I tried to do my best and compartmentalize every relationship separately because I think that’s the best way. You know, to be able to just look at each relationship and see what was the best for me and then also focus on you and all the other relationships.”
Kaity, for her part, told Us that she and Gabi are still friends despite the drama. She also defended her fiancé for how he handled the situation.
“I wasn’t in his shoes at all. I think he has such an amazing heart and he just didn’t wanna muddy the waters, but obviously, in turn, it did happen,” she told Us. “But I think, like, going in [to] fantasy suite week, I just wanted to use that time — that intimate time — to just get to know each other more on a more emotional level and just see what we’re like off the cameras too. I was just looking forward to that. And, obviously, I was really excited for our day date and the kayak and whatnot, and, obviously, that turned a little sour pretty quick. But, in Bachelor world, things don’t always go as planned, so I don’t think I really went in with a whole lot of expectations. I was just hoping it would go smoothly and we hit a hurdle for sure. But in the end, we came out stronger.”
For more from Zach and Kaity, watch the video above and listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.