Not so rosy. Former BachelorLead Clayton EchardHe reflected on the complex emotions he felt before taping After the Final RoseAfter his controversial season.
“Suse took this picture of me 1 day before After the Final Rose,” the Missouri native, 28, began in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday, April 25. “In this moment, I was at rock bottom. I knew what was coming and realized my reality was much further from what I had ever expected.”
The candid photo — taken by Echard’s girlfriend, Susie Evans — shows the former football player staring out the window of a darkened room. “As I looked out the window, I questioned who I was?” the reality star recalled. “What had I become? “Where did everything go wrong?” Why me?”
The medical sales rep’s season of The BachelorThis was one of the most dramatic scenes in recent memory. Echard admitted during the finale that he had slept with both Gabby Windey Rachel Recchia in the fantasy suites — and that he was in love with all three finalists. Evans, 28 years old, left the competition after Echard asked her to return.
The Virginia native rejected her lover at the final rose ceremony, but she was able to marry him during After the Final RoseThe couple revealed that they have reconnected since filming and are now dating.
Echard received criticism from both viewers and contestants throughout the season about some of his decisions, such as keeping the house. Shanae Ankney on after multiple women told him about how she acted when he wasn’t around. During AFTR, Windey, 31, accused Echard of “clearly pitting” the women against each other, while Recchia, 26, said she thought he told her that he loved her just so she would sleep with him.
“Six months prior, I was standing outside as the first limo pulled up and kept thinking to myself how I was so lucky to be in this position as The Bachelor,” the University of Missouri graduate wrote on Monday. “Six months later, I was staring out this window wondering how much worse things could get.”
Echard went on to note that he’s finally gained some clarity on why he behaved the way he did during the show. “I was too busy trying to defend my actions and my character, instead of accepting full responsibility for not only what I had done, but for who all I hurt,” he explained. “Often, we are so concerned with explaining ourselves that we don’t realize the explanations sometimes hurt more than the actions. Because they appear as excuses and nothing more.”
The Bachelor Nation member said that “therapy and other means of self-reflection” have helped him understand why viewers and contestants felt so strongly about what happened.
“I feel that I finally have learned my lesson,” he concluded. “I hurt people. Sure, I didn’t have any intention of doing so and ‘did what I thought was best by following my heart,’ but I still hurt people. Perception is reality and regardless of intention, the results of our actions hold the most weight.”