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Lauren Bushnell Recalls Feeling ‘Tricked’ During Her ‘Bachelor’ Season Amid Clayton Echard’s Messy Finale (Exclusive)

No more rose-colored glasses. Lauren Bushnell has mixed feelings about Clayton Echard’s messy Bachelor finale after having a complicated experience on season 20 of the series.

Related: Ben Higgins’ Season 20 of ‘The Bachelor’: Where Are They Now?

“There’s so much that I feel like that we don’t see,” Bushnell, 32, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, March 15, while promoting her new Sonoma Goods For Life® x Lauren Lane Collection at Kohl’s. “I was feeling really upset with Clayton that he did that [to Susie Evans]. The week prior to last week, you know, I just felt so bad. I was like, ‘What are you doing?’”

The Oregon native, who got engaged to Ben Higgins during the season 20 finale in 2016, explained that her outlook on Clayton’s situation has now shifted.

Lauren Bushnell Recalls Feeling Tricked During Her Bachelor Season Amid Clayton Echards Messy Finale
Lauren Bushnell and Clayton Echard Shutterstock (2)

“I feel like he did the right thing in communicating [this week], although he didn’t do it perfectly,” Bushnell told Us, referring to Clayton’s choice to tell his remaining finalists, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey, that he was “intimate” with both of them during the fantasy suite dates. “Because he left out kind of a big detail of that. He loved someone the most, which should have [been] included that aspect of it.”

During part 1 of the Bachelor finale on Monday, March 14, viewers watched the Missouri native, 28, introduce the final two ladies to his family. However, what he didn’t disclose to the finalists — but told his loved ones — was that his heart was still with Susie, 28, despite her exit one week prior.

Although Bushnell was conflicted over how Clayton went about dealing with his feelings the past few episodes, she told Us that she thought it was “really respectful” of him to tell the women the full fantasy suite situation and let them make their own choice as to what happens next in their relationships.

Related: Lauren Bushnell and Chris Lane's Whirlwind Romance

The designer, who called off her engagement to Higgins in May 2017, explained that wasn’t the case during her season.

Bachelor’s Lauren B. Felt 'Tricked' on Her Season, Talks Clayton's Finale
Lauren Bushnell. Kohl’s

“I know specifically on my season I was not given that same information before making a really big decision,” Bushnell, who married Chris Lane in October 2019, told Us. “And that was the problem that I had very much so coming off the show [because] I just felt, like, I just made a huge decision without information that I feel like I deserved to know.”

The former reality star, who shares 9-month-old son Dutton with the country crooner, 37, admitted that she felt “a little bit tricked” at the end of her season when saying yes to Higgins’ proposal.

“Everyone had an opportunity to tell me, whether it was a producer or the lead of the show, [but] no one told me,” she said, hinting at the moment that Higgins told both her and runner-up JoJo Fletcher that he “loved” them before the finale. “I felt pretty bummed out and that’s a really hard place to start a relationship. [It’s hard to] build a relationship when you never really had a firm foundation to begin with.”

The former flight attendant, for her part, doesn’t have any regrets about how her time in Bachelor Nation played out. However, she does have advice for Clayton, especially if he ends up single.

“All of these experiences, even my experience on The Bachelor, totally prepared me and led me to where I [am]. … [And to become] the person that I was when I met my now husband,” Bushnell added. “So hopefully he keeps that in mind and knows that all of the struggles and hard times and lowest of lows will only make you stronger and will hopefully lead you to your future wife if it is that he ends up single.”

Related: Everything Clayton Echard Has Said About His 'Bachelor' Finale

The former TV personality’s personal and professional life have both changed tremendously since her time on the dating series. For example, she recently teamed up with Kohl’s for her Sonoma Goods For Life® x Lauren Lane line, which launches on Monday, March 21.

“I could not be more excited. Everything is incredibly easy to wear,” Bushnell told Us of the collection. “It’s a great, easy way to add a little bit of color to your closet. I used to be the queen of neutrals, [but] I feel, like, I’ve definitely started adding more color to my wardrobe and it’s been so much fun.”

The designs range from sizes XS to XXL and cost between $36 and $74. “So hopefully there will be something for everyone,” she added.

Part 2 of The Bachelor finale airs on ABC Tuesday, March 15 at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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