'The Bachelor' couple Clayton Echard and Susie Evans began reconciling even sooner than previously disclosed
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/21/2022
The Bachelor couple Clayton Echard and Susie Evans have revealed they began reconciling even sooner than previously disclosed after Susie dumped Clayton at Season 26's Final Rose Ceremony.
"I can say that I was the first person to reach out pretty soon after Iceland," Susie revealed during a recent appearance on the "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast, which was co-hosted by Becca Kufrin and Serena Pitt at the time.
"Like boom, boom, boom?" asked Becca, who starred on The Bachelorette's fourteenth season.
"Yes," Susie replied. "I knew in my heart leaving Iceland, 'This isn't over for me.' But I also... to be quite honest, was freaked out about everything. And I didn't know the capacity in which I wanted Clayton in my life."
Susie suggested her fight with Clayton during their Fantasy Suite really shook her to her core.
Susie had threatened to leave because Clayton had fallen in love and slept with multiple women, but Clayton suddenly became angry and essentially forced Susie out before she could make the decision on her own.
"I was like, 'Why did that switch flip for him where we went from trying to talk things out to [being so mad]?' I was like, 'What was that?' And we didn't really have the time or the capacity or the ability to have all the conversations we needed to have for me to be like, 'Okay, I want to have a relationship with you.' So I knew I needed to break things off," Susie said.
Susie acknowledged how she thought her departure would maybe allow Clayton to find lasting love with Gabby Windey or Rachel Recchia, who both loved him at that point in the Season 26 process.
"I was like, 'If me breaking this off gives him that clarity to go be with somebody else, then I have to support that. Because I don't know if I want to be with him right now.'"
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But Clayton ultimately dumped Gabby and Rachel, before attempting to win back Susie, his "once-in-a-lifetime woman." However, Susie broke Clayton's heart at the Final Rose Ceremony, saying that she didn't think he's her person or they're meant to be together.
Susie recalled of DMing Clayton shortly afterwards, "I didn't reach out with the intentions of restarting a relationship or knowing where that conversation was going to go, but I think we both had been through a lot and we both loved each other a lot."
"I just wanted to reach out and ask for one more conversation with him and if he was interested [in that]," she continued.
"And we pretty much talked until we fell asleep, for like, five hours. That was our first conversation, and every conversation since then has been pretty much the same way."
Clayton admitted that since his first post-show conversation with Susie went so well, he asked if he could call her again.
"I remember after our first conversation, at the end of it, I was like, 'Should I call you tomorrow? It took five hours the first time, what are we doing?' And she was like, 'You can call me tomorrow if you want,'" Clayton shared on the podcast.
"And when she first reached out in the DMs -- she slid, she slid -- and I was just going through my DMs because I was just traveling back. I was going through my DMs and all of a sudden I saw her name, and I was like, 'This has got to be some fake account trying to catch me. They're already trying to spoil the ending!'"
Clayton said he had to click on the account and "do some recon" to make sure Susie was really the person behind the message.
"And I saw that the account was legitimate. And like she said, we just talked day after day after day, and then finally, I think I was the one who made the push," Clayton revealed.
"I said, 'Hey, we should try to meet up. We keep talking and this is great, but what is this?' I was trying to put a title on it or something! I was like, 'I don't know what I'm doing right now.'"
Clayton elaborated, "I was like, 'We're both having fun, but is this just temporary?' So I asked her, 'Hey, we should try to meet back up and just take a weekend together and maybe we'll find out if we're going to continue from that point.' And now we're four months from that point!"
Susie said the breakup and taking a few steps back from Clayton really gave her the clarity that she needed and now she's happy to be his official girlfriend.
Even though the pair spent time apart after filming wrapped, Clayton told People after The Bachelor finale aired last week that he never moved on from his feelings for Susie.
"I was still very much in love with Susie and when the door opened back up, I was fully back in," Clayton shared.
And Susie added, "I wanted answers for how he treated me on the initial day of our breakup. But we've learned so much about each other. And those feelings of love came back."
During their first breakup amid Fantasy Suites week, Clayton claimed Susie had "invalidated" their entire relationship by trying to leave, and he accused her of not wanting to fight for their love.
Clayton, worrying in the back of his mind Susie was just gunning to become the next The Bachelorette star, also told the blonde beauty that he didn't know who he was looking at anymore.
But once Susie received the closure she needed from that tense and emotional argument -- for which Clayton was accused of gaslighting in the press -- Susie said she was able to give Clayton her heart.
Susie told The Bachelor host Jesse Palmer on the live finale that she expects to receive some backlash from Bachelor Nation due to Clayton's season being so controversial but she hopes people will be happy for them and root for them as a couple.
"It's not Team Clayton and it's not Team Susie. We are together," Susie said, adding that they both have the best of intentions.
Clayton noted at the time how his tumultuous journey was "1,000 percent" worth it and he "couldn't be happier" with Susie.
"I've spent the last four months with her, and she just impresses me more and more every day," Clayton gushed.
"She continues to give me reason after reason why following my heart was the best decision I ever could have made, and I could not be more in love with this woman."
Clayton, who is originally from Missouri, is now in the process of moving to Virginia to be with Susie after quitting his medical-sales job and selling his condo.