Clayton Echard isn’t thrilled with the way things went down on his season of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”
The reality star’s season aired earlier this year to extensive scrutiny from fans. Reflecting on his time on the series during an interview with The Virginian Pilot, Echard admitted it was a “train wreck.”
“Watching it back, I was embarrassed and disgusted by my actions and the way I was portrayed or seen on TV,” Echard said. “Ultimately, I had to live with the fact that my narrative is what was shown. And that was hard because that’s not really who I am. I don’t feel that what I was on the show is who I truthfully am. But I did those things, I became that person.”
At the end of Season 26, Echard chose contestant Susie Evans to receive the final rose, but he sent her home after she found out that he had also been intimate with the other two women in his final three, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, and told him that was a “huge dealbreaker.” (Windey and Recchia are currently the joint leads of “The Bachelorette.”)
Echard was heavily criticized for his treatment of the final three contestants, which included telling each of the women that he was in love with them. It’s rare that a lead says that to more than one or two final contestants, and doing so often draws disapproval from fans. He has since expressed regret for his actions in several interviews.
During the reunion episode, Echard said that he and Evans had reconciled and were now dating, and he revealed to The Virginian Pilot that they now live together. While he’s happy that he found his partner, he also expressed he would “never, ever do [the show] again.”
“The hatred by way of numbers was really hard for me to overcome,” he said. “Had it just been a few messages, I would’ve passed it off. Had it been hundreds of messages, I might have questioned it…. But for me, it was thousands of messages – and in a very short period of time – so it became very overwhelming.”
“The Bachelorette” Season 19 with Windey and Recchia premiered July 11. It airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.