'The Bachelor' star Clayton Echard insists his feelings of love for three women were "authentic"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/17/2022
The Bachelor star Clayton Echard insists his feelings of love for three women while filming Season 26 were "authentic" and not infatuation or a result of getting caught up in the moment.
ABC recently released a preview of Clayton's The Bachelor season that shows Clayton telling three women he loves them and admitting to two women, seemingly after Fantasy Suites, he had been "intimate" with them both.
"I really do feel those feelings were very authentic," Clayton shared.
"I don't know if I'll ever be able to explain to anybody and really make them understand that you can fall in love with multiple people at one time, because outside of this environment, I don't think people ever do that."
Clayton said, in fact, "You would never do that."
"There is no other environment where you can kiss a woman and 29 other women will watch that and be like, 'I'll stick around and give him a chance.' They'd be gone," he elaborated.
Clayton joked that if a man behaved that way in a bar, the ladies would "all bounce."
"Things are a little bit different in this [Bachelor] environment, and because of that, I think I adapted," Clayton explained to Glamour.
Clayton said he entered The Bachelor process thinking it would be impossible to love more than one woman, but he was proven wrong.
"I think if you're on the outside, I was like everybody else. I said, 'There's no way you can fall in love with multiple people. I won't do it,'" Clayton recalled.
"I literally walked into this being a Bachelor saying that I won't fall in love multiple people. It's not going to happen. Zero percent chance."
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But The Bachelor environment speeds the dating process along with no distractions. Contestants are pressured to have deep conversations and be vulnerable early on, and the competitive element pushes bachelors and bachelorettes out of their comfort zones.
"Until you go through it," the Missouri native and former pro football player added, "it will never make sense, but it can happen and it did happen."
Clayton probably feared what home viewers would think of him, and no Bachelor or Bachelorette lead ever wants to hurt anybody.
As fans recall, Season 20 The Bachelor star Ben Higgins hurt both his runner-up JoJo Fletcher and winner Lauren Bushnell by telling them, "I love you." When JoJo got rejected, she felt confused and devastated, and then Lauren had to try to make an engagement work knowing in the back of her mind Ben loved someone else simultaneously.
"At one point, I tried to pull back, but then I was like, 'Nope, I can't. I can only fall in love with one.' Then I was like, 'No, these are the feelings, they're here. Let them out, let these women know, because they're not holding back. Why should you?'" Clayton explained.
Clayton confessed that being so open with his emotions "of course" led to "a lot of intense moments," but "that's just how it had to go."
Clayton simply saw the qualities he wants in a future wife in several of his The Bachelor bachelorettes, including someone who will stand by his side through thick and thin and be communicative and transparent.
Clayton apparently had "tough conversations" with his bachelorettes and wasn't focused on just chemistry given looks can fade.
"I didn't believe it could happen, but I am in love with three women," Clayton admits.
Footage then seemed to flash to Clayton standing in front of two ladies, who appeared to be either his Final 2 bachelorettes or two of his Final 3 women.
"I just want you to know that what I'm about to say is not going to be easy to hear. I want to be fully, fully transparent, and I know it's not easy to hear, but I was intimate with both of you," Clayton confesses to the two ladies.
After the women are shown crying and breaking down, the drama leaves Clayton feeling "so broken" as he stares at a diamond engagement ring, seemingly unsure of whom to give it to.