The Bachelorette may have finished its season, but I still had lots of questions for runner-up Robby Hayes. He stopped by ET’s offices Thursday and set the record straight on his motives for joining the show – plus, talked whether he’ll return to Bachelor Nation!
Hayes said recovering from his split from JoJo Fletcher was “very difficult,” and seeing her at After the Final Rose was “not easy at all.” But, the former competitive swimmer says JoJo's fiance Jordan Rodgers is a close friend, and he’s happy for the pair.
“[I have] no regrets at all from the show,” Robby said. “The only thing that I was a little disappointed in was [there are] certain specific moments in a guy’s life -- asking for that blessing from the parents, picking up that diamond ring that she is going to keep forever and that pre-proposal speech -- that I will never get back. Those are, in my eyes and my family’s, traditions that should only be done once in a lifetime.”
After our interview, Hayes headed home to Florida to see that family, who he says helped him recover from the breakup. Watching the show back was the hardest part –- Robby admits that he skipped through JoJo’s interactions with other men when watching the final episodes of the show because it was all too painful.
So, after what he’s been through, would Robby consider being the next Bachelor? “I know the journey works because I fell in love once,” he said. “I believe I could do it again, and if it taught me anything, it taught me not to rule out any avenue to find love.”
Still, some fans questioned whether Robby was on the show for, as the saying goes, the right reasons. But he says going on The Bachelorette wasn’t about fame. “There is no career move in that,” he said. “I was working on my Masters in Finance beforehand, and I will go right back to doing that. So, it's not like I am going to try and make some great move up in the film industry or anything.”
Robby was also criticized for allegedly reaching out to Bachelor alumni, asking them to help him get more social media followers. Robby confirmed the rumor to be true, but also shared his side of the story: “I had been working with a person who had worked with other people, and they thought it would be strategically within each other’s benefits to try to help each other out,” he said. “[But] there was never any compensation exchanging hands.”
And like many of this season’s contestants, Robby hasn't been able to escape "the Chad." Chad Johnson dated Robby’s ex, Hope Higginbotham. On The Bachelorette: Men Tell All, Chad claimed Robby has “threatened” Hope. But, Robby denies the claim. “I didn't threaten her,” he says. “To threaten somebody you have to be in contact with them … As you saw in Bachelor in Paradise, [Chad really has] no regard for women's emotions … I cared for the girl, I did, and seeing her stoop to that level was hard.”
To find out which of JoJo’s exes have confirmed they’re in talks to be the Bachelor, watch the video below!