"You know, my heart was broken too -- whether people buy that, my heart was broken too -- and I'll look anybody in the eye and say that I'm not playing the sympathy card here," said Brad during last night's The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special on ABC. "It is not an easy thing to tell someone that I care about goodbye... I don't have a formula for falling in love man. I didn't want to make a false promise when I just didn't feel it in my heart."
In a The Bachelor first, Brad sent both Jenni and DeAnna packing without a rose at the conclusion of Monday night's eleventh-season finale. However Brad claimed that he had every intention of proposing marriage to DeAnna, and even had her father flown in from Georgia and still picked out an engagement ring.
"I did make it clear that if a proposal was going to happen, I would not do it without talking to the woman's father. And [the show was] gracious enough to fly him out, and I appreciate that," said Brad. "That just goes to show you that up until the very last minute, I was trying so desperately to make those arrangements to make something happen... I wanted to give it my all, I wanted to try... When I went ring shopping and I sat down and I looked at the five or six rings, I had a very big, gut feeling that this just wasn't right."
While Brad said it wouldn't have necessarily been "false" to continue a romantic relationship with DeAnna in the real world, he did feel "she deserves more than some guy saying 'Well, I can't say that I'm in love with you but let's try and see if it will happen.'"
Jenni, a 27-year-old Phoenix Suns cheerleader from Wichita, KS, was the first woman to receive the boot from Brad during the Rose Ceremony -- and until she saw a screening of the finale broadcast prior to the After the Final Rose special, she didn't know DeAnna had also met the same fate.
"I completely thought he was with DeAnna, and I was so disappointed," said Jenni. "When he told her that he had just sent me home, she just had the biggest smile on her face and I think that she felt so happy inside. Just watching her get her dreams and feelings crushed too... That was rough for me."
Jenni said being rejected by Brad made her feel both "crushed" and devastated," especially since she had only told him that she loved him at the very end of the competition. Still, she has no regrets about wearing her heart on her sleeve.
"I'm glad I did," she said. "Because if I don't tell him how I'm feeling -- if I don't do it -- and then he sends me home, then I'm going to be like, 'Why didn't I just say it!' But then again, it hurts to know that somebody can just easily break your heart like that."
Jenni said she couldn't understand why Brad had decided to not even attempt a real-life romance with either herself or DeAnna.
"I think maybe he was hoping that he would just see this person and be totally head over heels in love, but I don't think that's how love works," she explained. "I think you find someone that you really like being around, and then you work on it and you fall in love with each other."
The whole experience apparently knocked Brad down a peg in Jenni's book.
"You kind of lose respect for him because I think he said, 'Oh, I'm not completely in love with somebody so I can't give them a chance,'" she said. "But there's so much more to every girl that he met than what he got to see."
Jenni then finally got to speak with Brad for the first time since he ousted her from the competition and her first question -- of course -- was to ask what made him not want to at least just take a chance on either her or DeAnna.
"Would it not be misleading someone if I had taken the chance?" answered Brad. "That would have made me such a big jerk, to try and take that chance when I had feelings for both of you. This is so awkward for me to tell you to your face but when I was with you I was thinking of DeAnna, [and] when I was with DeAnna I was thinking of you and how unfair it was to both of you that I'm sitting here and I have these feelings"
Jenni disagreed with Brad's assessment that it would have been "misleading" if he had "taken a chance on" either of the women.
"You don't have to propose to take a chance on them and then see if it works out and see if you could have a strong relationship with them," she explained to Brad. "I got over me, but when I watched [DeAnna] get out of the car and you did the same thing to her I was... I was just so disappointed in everything"
The Bachelor host Chris Harrison asked Brad how it felt to hear Jenni say she lost respect for him.
"Of course, for someone I care so much about, to say that you lost respect -- [that] hurts really badly because I'm not saying I didn't feel those feelings, I'm saying I felt those feelings for two women and it's kinda a dilemma so how can I feel that and move forward with one," Brad tried to explain. "It's real hard for me to have to explain why I didn't fall in love. I know myself well enough to realize what's going to work in the future, and I just didn't see anything was going to work -- I mean in the long term. That's what I was here for, I was here for a lifetime."
"So were both of us, and when you didn't give us a chance," Jenni fired back.
"I think that I basically showed both of you the utmost respect by walking away -- by not selling out, by not giving a false promise," replied Brad.
"I feel like you had the feelings [and] you walked away from them," said Jenni.
If Jenni was confused by what went down, DeAnna was doubly confused.
"I don't know [what happened]," said DeAnna during her solo interview. "I came out here with all the right intentions with finding a man that I was going to fall madly in love with. That happened. Then I left that day -- after the final Rose Ceremony -- more confused than I've ever been in my entire life... I felt like I had laid my heart out on the table -- out on the line -- and in the end I felt like somebody was stabbing me in the heart."
DeAnna, a 25-year-old realtor from Neunan, GA, said she initially felt "relief" when Brad told her he had just sent Jenni home. However once Brad appeared to be "nervous," she in turn felt "completely alone" and "scared."
"Right then I knew it was going to be me. He was going to send me home," said DeAnna. "I'm angry because it's so confusing. I feel like I gave 100% of myself, and I have no idea what happened."
Like Jenni, DeAnna was also miffed about Brad's decision to not attempt to continue a romantic relationship with either woman.
"For me, I have spent every day of the last two-and-a-half months since I've been home, thinking every single day about this person," she explained. "Not a day has gone by that he has not been on my mind; that I have not thought about him; that I have not relived that day every day... What's hard is there are so many people coming up to me on a daily basis, 'I think he chose you!' You don't know how hard it is to put a smile on my face and say, 'You have to watch and see.'"
DeAnna then dropped the bombshell that she "still has feelings" for Brad and "has hope" the two could still work something out romantically.
"As hard as it was to watch [the finale], I'm still so confused, but [the feelings] are all still there," she explained. "As stupid as it sounds, I would [take him back]... I feel like if a guy can look you in the face and say, 'Sorry it's just not right for me.' Why would I give them a second chance if they didn't realize how good it was if they had it?"
Unfortunately for DeAnna, Brad only continued to confound her when they finally came face-to-face for the first time since The Bachelor's finale filmed late this past summer.
"Whether you believe this or not, I'm just as heartbroken as you are and I know you have your own thoughts but I mean that... It's... It's the worst feeling... It's the worst feeling I've had in a while," said Brad as he -- similar to his final Rose Ceremony timeout -- fiddled with his collar. "I think about you every day. I could go on and on and then I'm going to be called an even bigger jerk because... you know, and rightfully so. You're going to say well how can you say that and still walk away but right now, yeah, I think about you every single day."
Needless to say, DeAnna didn't understand what Brad meant when he said he still thought about her every single day since the finale. When Brad tried to brush the question off, she persisted.
"I've waited two and a half months for a response," she said before Brad relented.
"Okay... If I saw enough there on that day, I would have fought tooth and nail to make something happen," he explained. "I'm very confident in my decision, yes and I do wish I could tell you it was going to be okay. I wish we could have this incredible moment and I wish things were different."
Brad's comments brought a groan from After the Final Rose's mostly-female studio audience.
When Brad added he felt like he had to apologize, DeAnna was quick say that wasn't what she was looking for.
"I'm not asking for an apology, I'm asking for an explanation," she said. "I'm looking for some type of an understanding so that when I leave here today I still won't wake up tomorrow morning wondering what happened. I felt like you were the person I was supposed to be with. That felt so right to me and I've never been so sure about any one thing before in my life. And yeah, I can say that I've thought about you every day but it was in the hopes that I would come here today and you wouldn't be willing to let me walk out of your life for a second time. Because there won't be another chance after this."
While DeAnna was just as confused as Jenni as to why Brad didn't give his final rose to either of them, she also wanted to know why he kept her in the competition so long before he let her just "walk out of [his] life."
"Maybe I don't understand it either," said Brad. "I'm not perfect, I've failed at relationships before -- well obviously -- failed at relationships before. You deserve more than some guy that's going to stand up there and say 'I'm in love with you' when I can't say that."
Brad then explained why he decided to completely walk away from both women.
"I think you of all people deserve the kind of guy that's going to look you in the eye and tell you everything that you told me," he confusingly said. "That you're so in love with me, that he wants you to have his children -- you want to have mine. Everything that you told me, I could not look you in the eye and say that. I just think you're so deserving of this guy that he just knows -- 100% knows -- that this is a lifetime."
"It just doesn't make sense to me, none of it makes sense," said DeAnna, who was getting emotional. "Still doesn't make sense sitting here now. I came here today wanting questions answered and closure and it still doesn't make any sense. The one person I trusted most out of all of this broke my heart."
"I can't sit here and say it's going to be okay... I can't," said Brad. "I swear to God above I thought I was taking the high road."
"You made a mistake, whether you know it or not," said DeAnna. "I seriously thought coming here today that you would know that and you wouldn't let me walk out again."
DeAnna then gave Brad a light hug as she exited the stage, and he whispered, "I'll miss you more than you'll ever know."
"Please don't say that to me right now," DeAnna whispered back.
In the end, Brad was left with only his thoughts.
"Obviously a lot of reflection," he said of his future plans. "I just want to get back to normal life, go to work, talk to my family, and figure some things out. Obviously I have some issues to work on, so I'm ready to tackle those."
Brad also put to rest the rumors that he's already dating someone else.
"I will look you in the eye [or] anybody out there in America in the eye and say I haven't grabbed a single cup of coffee with anybody," he said. "You know, I'm trying to process this too."
"There's also [false] rumors out there that I have children -- I'm not kidding, I've heard everything in the book, I've heard I'm gay, you know I've heard it all -- the only reason I'm even saying that is it is crazy everything I've heard."