Colton opened up about the unprecedented move while speaking ET's Lauren Zima at the show's "Women Tell All" taping on Feb. 22, explaining why he chose to risk it all with Tayshia and Hannah G. still left in the competition, to "fight" for a woman who walked out on him.
"I think making that statement is something I would make in any relationship that I'm in. You have to choose to love somebody, you have to choose to fight for anybody you're in a relationship with," Colton explained. "I think that's what love is, and that's what being in a relationship is all about."
While love declarations have been done before (see: Ben Higgins telling his final two women he was in love with them), never in the history of The Bachelor has a lead had a total freakout and seemingly quit the show over one of his final three leaving. Colton's words implied that he still wanted to pursue a relationship with Cassie even though she left him, but as he reminded ET, Hannah G. and Tayshia were still in the competition.
"I mean, there's two other relationships, so I obviously have to [make some] decisions moving forward: Where do I go now? What's going to happen next? And you get those answers," he said.
The 27-year-old former football player called Cassie's rejection "hard to hear."
"That was what the toughest part was, is I fall back into what I talk about with Becca [Kufrin], and being in a relationship in which the feelings aren't reciprocated at the same level," he shared. "Not being on the same page is something I was fearful [of], so that was very hard to hear. It was."
Host Chris Harrison called Colton's reaction to Cassie leaving him "unlike anything we'd dealt with before." "For the first five minutes [after he jumped the fence], I thought, 'We're clearly gonna find him. It's not that big of a deal.' And then we didn't,'" he said.
The Bachelor production team had to make calls back to Los Angeles and were prepared to call the police to help track down Underwood. Then, someone came through on the walkie talkie, revealing he had reappeared. "That's where we pick up next week, with the finale. [You'll] see us chase him down," Harrison promised.
The Bachelor airs an episode on Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC; the "Women Tell All" special will air on Tuesday, and Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12 will mark the season's two-night finale.
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