There's still hope for Peter Kraus to be the Bachelor... just not this year.
ET's Lauren Zima sat down with the Bachelor that almost was on Tuesday, in his first and only interview since the new Bachelor was announced. He opened up about the fear that stopped him from negotiations with the show, and revealed that he can see himself being the Bachelor in the future.
"If the offer were to come up in the future, I could see myself doing it. It seems like an amazing opportunity," Kraus shared. "At this stage in my life, I'm single, I'm happy, business is good, family is good. I'm ready for the next step again, and if that's what route it took, I'd be OK with that."
As for what prevented him from sealing the deal this time around, Kraus, who had just emotionally ended his relationship with Rachel Lindsay on the season finale of The Bachelorette, said it just "wasn't a good time for me."
"It was such an emotional roller coaster. I didn't feel like I had enough time to process the season and After the Final Rose, and where I was at in my own life at the time," he explained. "I needed more time for clarity. I'm the type of person who needs maybe too much time to process things when it comes to life and love...when I'm talking about my wife and my future, I want to take time to really think about it."
While Kraus admitted that the drama surrounding Lindsay's season took an "emotional toll" on him, he confessed that he continued discussions with producers about being the Bachelor because he wanted to "weigh out my options."
"I'm the type of person who always wants to weigh out my options, see what is best for me. Never turn down something without hearing someone out," he said. "I'm going to weigh out everything in my life, and then make the best possible decision based on all the information. That's why I did it."
"There's nowhere on the contract that says you have to get engaged at the end of the show," he continued of viewers' criticisms of his inability to propose at the end of the dating show. "I want to find love in my life, and if it was an opportunity to have some fun, get some experiences and potentially find love, I was open to it...I made the mistake maybe of not watching Rachel prior to the show, and seeing that she wanted an engagement more so than what I was ready to give at that time."
Despite his breakup with Lindsay and seeming inability to propose, Kraus became a fan favorite and front runner to be the next Bachelor... until Arie Luyendyk Jr. was unexpectedly announced as the franchise's next lead last week.
"The conversations that [producers, ABC executives and I] had [about being the Bachelor] were never specific to 'Yes or no?' It was more, 'Are you ready?' and me saying I was not," Kraus shared. "It was a mutual respect for where each other was at, what I know they need from a Bachelor and what I know I was ready to give at the time of those talks. I would never say it was a clear, defined answer. It was, 'This is where we're at, and we're OK with going in different directions.'"
"He seems like a good guy," the fitness trainer said of Luyendyk. "I'm kind of jealous of the fact that he can race a car, that seems pretty cool, but no, [we haven't had any] contact."
At the end of the day, Kraus said it was emotion and fear that prevented him from being the Bachelor, but that he's "absolutely" ready for marriage.
"Fear came from other people's opinions, which I don't know if I should guide my life on that, but I do take what people say very personally," he explained. "I'm constantly reading how awful I am for even considering being the Bachelor, so I let fear kind of guide me. I was afraid of what people would say. I was afraid of what people would think, and I was afraid of not being able to live up to the amazing standards that are the lead of that position."
"I was still far too emotional to invest in myself into the next opportunity. A lot of people say that I was very boring and cold on the show. No, I'm actually a very lighthearted, fun person... but when faced with these huge decisions that are based on the rest of your life, I take them very seriously," he added.
Now, Kraus is taking time to focus on his business, Worth Personal Training, which helps clients "find their own abilities, their own talents, their own worth, through my guides, my trainers' guides, our help."
"I went through some pretty drastic changes in my own life. I was a kid wearing Harry Potter glasses and kind of chubby growing up, and found fitness at a later age, and I felt the confidence grow inside of myself through that," he explained of his passion for fitness. "I want to bring joy to other people's lives. That's what fulfills me. I've always been a helper, and if I can do that through health and fitness, then it's all the better."
And as Kraus, who plans to expand his business to include national bootcamps, notes, his company is becoming "more self-sustainable."
"Within the next year, I don't think it would be hard to take time off. I already took the time off for two and a half months this last show, and it worked out fine," he said.
So what would it take for Kraus to be the Bachelor next year?
"I think I just have to be emotionally in the right place in my life," he confessed. "If I'm not ready, I'm not ready. I'm not out there searching for fame or attention or money, so if I were to do it, it would be because it felt truly right at that stage in my life."
Tune in to ET on Tuesday for more on Kraus. Check your local listings here.