Clayton Echard has a lot to say, you guys.
Last month, the former Bachelor split from his chosen winner, Susie Evans, releasing a joint statement along with his ex that made it sound as if the break-up was quite amicable.
“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,” it read.
“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.”
Just a month prior to this announcement, Clayton and Susie announced they were gonna try a long-distance relationship, which wasn’t exactly a positive sign for their future.
Where did things go wrong?
“There was so many factors at play. This wasn’t a traditional relationship,” the season 26 Bachelor began while a gust on the Off the Vine podcast on Tuesday, October 4.
“This was a relationship that was broadcast on national television.
“There was so many moving parts. … I wasn’t really sure of what my next step was going to be once the show ended.”
Clayton continued on this topic:
“I had uprooted myself, I had sold my place. I was like, ‘OK, I can go wherever.’ But as far as what I ended up doing — am I going to go back to corporate America? Or am I going to chase my passions?
“There were all these unknowns. And I think it put me in a place of instability.
“Plus, with the backlash from the show, it became very overwhelming, very quickly.
“And so, what I think ended up happening is I was trying to figure out what my next step was [and] I started questioning who I was because of all the negativity. I started to believe some of what was being said about me.
“And I now look back at it and realize, like, I couldn’t be that stable, secure man that I needed to be to really be able to give my all in a relationship.”
Ah, yes, the backlash.
Echard selected Evans after he thought she had left the show.
Once he learned Susie was still in town on his season finale, Clayton immediately sent both Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey packing (after sleeping with both women) and made a last-desperate plea to Evans.
It worked, and the pair decided to just date for awhile after shooting ended.
Clayton said the break-up is “sad” and he wishes he could have been a better “communicator,” adding that he lost his “identity” and was trying “so hard to heal” in the face of criticism from ABC viewers.
And then, of course, there was that cheating scandal.
Echard was accused in April of sleeping around, an allegation he STRONGLY denied.
“People that make these false accusations should be held accountable,” the former football player wrote in a caption on Instagram, adding of the woman who made the claim:
“Trying to gain clout by ruining a relationship is embarrassing and extremely immature.”
On the podcast Tuesday, he addressed this controversy and said:
“The cheating scandal — that was treacherous to our relationship. That really hurt us because it was just one more thing that piled on.
“And I think if you took any of these things and you just isolated them, I think we would have gotten through it with flying colors.
“But it was just one thing after the next and then [The Bachelorette] came on. And then it was like, you know, ‘Clayton sucks.’ … That hurts, those comments.
“Because what that does is that then brings the focus back on to us. And then people online are like, ‘Yeah, he does suck.’”
Despite all of these hiccups and obstacles, could Clayton ever see himself getting back together with Evans?
“We’re not going to say there’s not the possibility.
“But there’s still a lot of pain that came from the entire situation itself that, I think, we can both say we are kind of far off from healing from right now,” he said.
“We need more time. I don’t know if that’s three, six months, a year, two years, whatever, but like, the damage is still too fresh.”