Zach Shallcross is all for owning what he did wrong as the Bachelor — but he’s not taking the blame for misleading Gabi Elnicki about when he knew Kaity Biggar was The One.
“That’s the beauty of reality TV and editing. I’m not gonna lie about it. I didn’t know when I left the last chance [date] with Gabi. I truly didn’t know,” the 26-year-old Bachelor said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast during a joint interview with Kaity, 28, on Tuesday, March 28. “And it was the moment I saw Kaity after [my date with Gabi]. I was like, ‘This is my wife. There’s not a doubt in my mind.’”
During the Monday, March 27, finale, fans watched Zach go on his final date with Kaity and then his last outing with Gabi, 25. According to the lead, the dates aired out of order and when he told Gabi that he was “so torn” between the two women, he was being honest. Gabi, meanwhile, accused Zach of lying about when he made the decision during their tense goodbye on proposal day.
Things been Zach and Gabi got more emotional during After the Final Rose when she accused him of “violating” her by informing Kaity — “and the entire nation” — that they had sex in the fantasy suite. (Zach previously told his three finalists that he wasn’t going to sleep with anyone on the show.)
“That whole week of me setting that precedent, [and then] 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,” Zach told Us. “[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.’”
During AFR, Gabi called Zach out for telling her that they could keep the moment between them during the overnight date.
“In that moment, I told her, I was like, ‘OK, yes, this can be a secret.’ And the guilt ate at me,” he told Us. “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. 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.”
Second runner-up Ariel Frenkel also had choice words for Zach about how he took sex off the table for the women during their After the Final Rose reunion. “You took away my agency and you took away my ability to even have a conversation. If you had waited, you would have found out that I was on the same page as you,” she said. “And I think by putting sex off the table, you made the entire week about sex, and it didn’t need to be like that.”
In response, Zach told Us: “I totally agree with what Ariel was saying. But I think more importantly over everything was I would’ve not set boundaries on that week because I’m making this, you know, executive decision for everyone that’s not right of me. And that’s where I failed myself [and] I failed the women. And that’s when looking back, what I would’ve changed.”
For more from Zach and Kaity, watch the video above and listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.