The Bachelor couple Clayton Echard and Susie Evans have split and broken up.

Susie announced the end of The Bachelor Season 26 couple's relationship in a statement she posted on Instagram on Friday afternoon.


"With incredibly heavy hearts, we wanted to share that we have decided to go our separate ways," the statement began. "For anyone who has ever loved, knows this was a painful decision to make and not one taken lightly."

"We understand that there will likely be a lot of questions about this decision -- social media is definitely a highlight reel and much of our experiences together we have kept private as I'm sure most can understand. But we will share this -- although this last year together has brought us so much joy and so many laughs, there has also been a significant amount of pain," she continued.

According to the statement, "external forces" contributed to the couple's breakup.

"We know no healthy relationship comes without its struggles, but we've realized that we were not prepared for the external forces that hindered our ability to not only heal as individuals but also as a couple," it stated. "We both are focused on continuing to work on ourselves, so we can be the best version of ourselves."

"This is not an easy time for either of us but we stand in support of each other and hope to see the other go on to find happiness and healing. Although Claysie is no more, we hope that our communities can support us individually as we move forward with love and respect for each other."

The statement ended by thanking the now-former couple's fans for their support.

"Thank you to all of you that supported our relationship. It means so much more than you will ever know."

While Susie's posting is presented as a joint statement, Clayton and Susie do not appear to have coordinated their breakup announcement as Clayton has not posted a similar announcement on his own Instagram account.


Susie's announcement of the couple's split comes only a month after Clayton had revealed they had decided to stop living together and would be moving to separate states.
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"Currently we are in Virginia Beach [living together], but our next step actually is, I'm moving to [Scottsdale, AZ], and she's going to move in the interim to L.A.," The Bachelor star explained on the August 16 episode of Amanda Hirsch's "Not Skinny But Not Fat" podcast.

However Clayton -- who moved to Susie's Virginia Beach, VA hometown to live with her shortly after the finale of his The Bachelor season aired on ABC earlier this year -- had insisted the couple was not splitting up and would continue dating long-distance.

"[We'll be] only a 50-minute flight apart, but we're both chasing our dreams. And I think location-wise, we both feel that those are the spots that we want to be," said Clayton, who reportedly planned to live with his brother who already lives in Scottsdale.

During his interview, Clayton had also suggested Susie was the one who had proposed The Bachelor couple live in separate cities.

"We see it as I mean, I'm working on my computer 10 to 12 hours a day -- so she was like, 'Clayton, I'll move to L.A. and then we can travel on the weekends to see each other,' he said.

"And we'll see. I mean, we don't know if we're going to like that long-distance."

Clayton had told the podcast host he understood why The Bachelor couple's decision to stop living together had her "worried" about the future of their relationship.

"Yeah, I get that," Clayton said. "We're aware of that too.  People might like at it like, 'Oh, they're separating,' but this past weekend she went to film a wedding and I missed the hell out of her. When she came back, it was like 'Distance makes the heart grow fonder.'"

"I mean we haven't been able to keep our hands off each other, we've just been like attached to each other's side. And so I think a little distance never hurts. Because we've been sitting -- some days we sit by each other 10 hours a day on our computers."


During the interview, Clayton had also said he would either relocate to Los Angeles or Susie would move to Scottsdale if they decided the new long-distance arrangement wasn't working for them.

"[Susie is a] wedding photographer and videographer but she has her own dreams and aspirations and I think we're gonna give it a shot," The Bachelor star said.

"I mean, we're not -- if it doesn't work, and we're like, 'We don't like this distance, it's hurting us,' then we'll just, one of us will move to the other person."

However earlier in the interview, Clayton had also acknowledged neither he or Susie were fully confident their relationship would last.

"Susie and I are like any other humans, we can't see into the future," he said. "We've had this conversation many times, like 'Are we each other's person? And what if we're not?'"

"And ultimately we came to this decision, like we don't need to be in a relationship for anybody other than ourselves. We're not doing this for Bachelor Nation, or anything like that. We both came to the conclusion that we're like, you know what, no matter what happens we'll forever be thankful for being part of each other's live. Because we both made each other better human beings."

Clayton had even suggested The Bachelor couple's relationship could possibly end in a month.

"We don't know if this relationship, we're like, 'We don’t know if it's going to be a month-long [more] from here or if it's gonna be lifetime but, like, there's no pressure,'" he said.

"Like, let's just love each other and be thankful -- and we are thankful we're in each other's lives. So whatever that looks like, we're very, very happy right now and in a really great spot.  But yeah, man, we really went through it. Together though, thankfully. She’s been on my side and that's the only reason why I can sit here with so much positivity is because of her."

The Bachelor viewers had heavily scrutinized and criticized Clayton's treatment of his the bachelorettes when his season aired on ABC earlier this year.

Clayton faced backlash for telling all of his Final 3 women that he loved them and for sleeping with both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia before his last Fantasy Suite date with the bachelorette he was supposedly the "most in love" with, Susie.

But Clayton's spirit-breaking experience on The Bachelor ultimately had a happy ending.

Susie -- who quit The Bachelor after she learned Clayton had slept with Gabby and Rachel before his Fantasy Suite date with her -- ultimately returned to the show and made an appearance at the Final Rose Ceremony, but she dumped the Bachelor instead of accepting his final rose.

Susie said at the time that Clayton wasn't her person and they didn't seem meant to be.

However, Susie reached out to Clayton post-filming seeking some answers, and the pair reconciled, resulting in Clayton moving to Virginia Beach to live with Susie after The Bachelor: After the Final Rose reunion aired on ABC in March 2022.

In July, Clayton told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper he was "disgusted" with how he was portrayed on The Bachelor and "would never, ever" do the show again.


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About The Author: Steven Rogers
Steven Rogers is a senior entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and been covering the reality TV genre for two decades.