Gabby, Rachel on Clayton, Susie’s Reaction to ‘Bachelorette’ Premiere

As Bachelor Nation — and Susie Evans — continue to reel over the Clayton EchardThe season 19 premiere of Shade The Bachelorette, Gabby Windey Rachel RecchiaThey are sharing their stories.

“Of course, no one was ever using his name maliciously or to be mean or bully him,” Rachel, 26, said exclusively on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast after the Monday, July 11, premiere. “We would’ve maybe liked to hear it a little less. I’m sure he would’ve as well, but it was just all kind of in good fun in a way to try to connect with us since the only time [the contestants] ever saw us was on his season.”

Gabby, 31, added that the two leads “understand” if Clayton and Susie didn’t love all of the digs at the former football player — which included a children’s choir singing “Clayton sucks” on Monday’s episode.

Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia were joined by Susie Evans and Clayton Echard.
Tammie Arroyo/Shutterstock; ABC/Craig Sjodin

“I hope it doesn’t really play like that. I mean, in the moment, you know, Rachel and I were like, ‘Man, I wish we could kind of talk about something else.’ But it was literally just a week prior that [The Bachelor]Everyone saw the end. AFR. So it’s still so fresh,” the nurse explained. “So I think watching it back this many months later is why it also has kind of a bigger feel to it, [like], ‘Why now?’ But you also have to remember when we were filming, it was really fresh. I don’t think anyone meant anything malicious. I don’t think it was truly slander. They were just making fun of it. But we understand definitely where they’re coming from.”

After Clayton was criticized for falling in love and sleeping with all three of his finalists, the former NFL cheerleader became the co-Bachelorettes. Susie quit the show after learning about the overnight dates. Clayton sent Gabby (and Rachel) packing, but they were briefly persuaded to stay. After the series was over, the Missouri native and the wedding photographer reunited.

“It’s two completely different situations,” Rachel told UseGabby was asked if Gabby and Clayton have sympathy for Clayton after their own struggles. “Of course, going even into night one, realizing that you can have different connections with different guys and they’re all so different and bring different things to the table. It is easy to see how people make multiple connections. However, I think it is a little different all around. It’s two separate journeys and two different ways people handle things.”

Clayton spoke for his part. Kaitlyn Bristowe on Tuesday, July 12, that he “laughed” at the premiere, but he said the jokes would likely “lead to cyberbullying” and more “attack[s]” being thrown his way. Susie admitted that she was “annoyed” by the situation.

“Clayton handled it better, overall, than I did,” the Virginia native said on the “Off the Vine” podcast. “Like, come on. Clayton has given, and he can, you know, laugh at himself, and I can, at Clayton. … And I can laugh at myself. But also, my fear is, like, ‘Does this open the floodgates back up of all the hate and stuff?’ So that’s where I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, really?’ But Clayton definitely was, like, going with the flow.”

When asked by the Colorado native if Gabby or Rachel had spoken with Clayton or Susie in recent week’s, Gabby replied no.

“We did have closure at AFR, which was really nice — that’s what it’s there for,” Gabby told Use. “We were able to kind of say our piece, get that closure in order to move on. I feel like we’re all going in separate directions and we’re happy for them and want them to succeed as we hope they are to us in this new opportunity that we’ve been given.”

The BacheloretteABC Mondays, 8 p.m. ET.

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