Arie Luyendyk Jr. did absolutely have the choice to film his breakup with Becca Kufrin for The Bachelor, according to ABC executive Robert Mills.

"You know, I don't know [why he filmed it]. I can't speak for Arie," Robert told Entertainment Tonight before Tuesday night's live After the Final Rose broadcast.

Arie proposed marriage to Becca during the final Rose Ceremony on The Bachelor's 22nd season that was filmed in Cusco, Peru, in November 2017.

After getting engaged, however, Arie realized that his heart truly belonged to his runner-up, Lauren Burnham, and so he blindsided and dumped Becca on-camera in January and then begged Lauren to take him back days later. 

The breakup scene was uncut, unedited and raw, and viewers cringed while watching Becca sob into her hands and hyperventilate.

To this day, the ABC executive isn't exactly sure why Arie decided to film the heart-wrenching breakup on camera, but he thinks the pro racing driver's relationship with Lauren -- and the ability for Lauren to see the split herself on TV -- might have had something to do with it.

"I mean, it could very well be [because of Lauren]. There's certainly no doubt, if she wants to watch that, as to what happened, and the one thing I do know is [Arie and Becca] have not seen each other [or spoken] since. So if that's what he wanted to do, Lauren can now watch it all with the rest of us," Robert said.

The breakup resulted in a lot of criticism and hate from viewers and members of Bachelor Nation. Fans lashed out at Arie on social media for exposing Becca so brutally, while ABC producers and host Chris Harrison also received a lot of heat for airing the scene.

"Whenever anything controversial happens, good, bad, or ugly... there's going to be a backlash, so that always happens. So did we expect it? Yes. Breakups are really hard," Robert said.

"We do have the philosophy that there is this unwritten contract that, you have said you're going to share this relationship with everybody, with the audience. It's amazing there's so much outrage over this, but we filmed him breaking up with Lauren! I don't really see what the difference is."

Robert believes fans were just shocked to see a breakup that was so relatable since they've come to expect a final Rose Ceremony-dumping on The Bachelor that includes preparation, music underneath, and an unrealistic romantic destination in another country.

"This was real... which is why it resonated with so many people. None of us get broken up with usually in a place like Peru or Switzerland or St. Lucia or any of these over-the-top places, but we've all certainly gotten broken up with in a house or in a living room on a couch," Robert explained to ET.

"So I think that it just really hit home and it felt very personal. But, you know, that's the aim of this."
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Robert said once producers saw the footage of Arie dumping Becca during what was supposed to be a "happy couple visit" in Los Angeles, they all knew within "two seconds" they had to air it and an "instant" decision was made.

"We really needed everyone to see this and have kind of the same reaction we were having. It's like the old saying, 'There's three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth.' And no one's lying. And that's sort of the case here, where the more of that that we can capture, so everyone can actually see it, and not say, 'Well, I said this,' 'No, actually I said this,'" Robert reasoned.

"There was no doubt as to what went down there, between Arie and Becca. You now know everything, whether you agree with it, or disagree with it. You see it all, and you're able to make your decision on how you feel about it."

The ABC executive doesn't want Bachelor Nation to think, however, that they were initially thrilled about this type of ending, knowing Arie had made a mistake when three hearts were on the line and regretted his final choice.

"Arie is somebody who is really, really well liked by the producers, myself included. He's a great guy, so I think there was a lot of sadness. I think there was a little bit of, 'Oh my God, did we fail that he didn't come to this realization in the first place and not pick Lauren?,' which was kind of a bummer," Robert admitted.

"People were not jumping up and down high-fiving, saying, 'Oh my God, the ratings are going to be amazing.'"

But the network definitely does not seem to regret its decision to air the footage despite all the backlash and scrutiny.

"It got a reaction, and everyone's talking about it. That's really all you can do. You've heard from people today saying, 'I've never watched the show before,' so when you get that [discussion], you can't help but feel this thing came out great," he said.

Once Arie begged Lauren to take him back, she ultimately gave him a second chance. The pair then got engaged on Tuesday night's After the Final Rose special.

"Do I think he's the most flawed Bachelor? Maybe," Robert noted of Arie. "I think we have to see what happens with Arie and Lauren. Isn't it worth it if Arie and Lauren do end up marrying and together in the long run?"

Meanwhile, Becca is doing great, as she was officially named The Bachelorette's upcoming fourteenth-season star on After the Final Rose.

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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.