The 23-year-old sets the record straight on her 'Bachelorette' conversation with Caelynn Miller-Keyes.
Cassie Randolph is setting the record straight.
The 23-year-old aspiring speech pathologist took home Colton Underwood's final rose on the season finale of The Bachelor on Tuesday, after walking away from their relationship. Fans never heard Randolph tell Underwood she was in love with him during filming -- it wasn't until video of their "happy couple weekends" played, with some questioning whether she had true feelings for Underwood at all.
"It bugs me that people say that I don't [love him]," Randolph told ET as she and Underwood did their first day of press as a couple in New York City on Wednesday.
Randolph took Underwood back when he showed up at her hotel room in Portugal to announce that he had just eliminated his final two, Tayshia Adams and Hannah Goodwin, in the hopes of being with her. They're happily taking things slow, and while they've talked about engagement, they're not rushing towards it.
"It was so overwhelming, that entire ending to that whole show, and with Colton, I did love him and I cared about him so much. I didn't want to leave him," Randolph said of her initial decision to break up with the Bachelor. "I didn't necessarily know I had had enough time to make a lifelong commitment to him in the time allotted."
"Sitting there on that couch in Portugal, we had two weeks until an engagement, and I was like, 'I'm not there yet,' and I couldn't be sure if I could get there. I wanted him to have an engagement, which was what he had been saying he came there for," she continued. "So, that's why I left -- not because I didn't love and care about him. I do."
Underwood said that he started to know Randolph was the one for him in Singapore, during week four of the show. Randolph told ET that her feelings grew for him in week seven, when they returned to Underwood's home in Denver, Colorado.
"I think way back in Denver, [I started to fall in love]," she said. "I journaled the entire time and I went back and read my journals and even in Denver I was like, journaling to myself saying, 'I think I might love him. I'm not sure though. Do I?' So, I think the whole time I was just really unsure of how I felt and I didn't know if I could trust my feelings."
"But pretty soon after the cameras went away is when I realized, 'OK, this is real, I really do love him,' and we've been happy and good ever since," Randolph declared. "I think throughout the whole process of The Bachelor, I realized I am really not that great under pressure. And knowing the typical ending of the show, I was just putting a lot of pressure on myself to get there when you were told you had to."
Randolph also found herself under pressure from the other women, who called her readiness for engagement into question. Several women even told Underwood that a conversation had taken place between Randolph and her best friend in the house, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, vowing that one would get engaged, and the other would become the Bachelorette. (That role went to Hannah Brown on Tuesday.)
During "Women Tell All," it was revealed that the conversation took place on a bus ride to a hotel, with no cameras present. Miller-Keyes tried to explain that it was an innocent discussion, and she just wanted her friend to find happiness as the Bachelorette because she assumed she'd be the one to end up with Underwood.
"Honestly, it was a conversation that I didn't even remember when that stuff was all brought up to me because it was so minor and I never, ever said I wanted to be the Bachelorette," Randolph told ET. "I mean, I was there for Colton the entire time."
"But it was a conversation between Caelynn and I on the bus and she was like, 'If I'm with Colton at the end, I want you to be the Bachelorette. And I was like, 'If I'm with Colton at the end, I want you to be to the Bachelorette,'" she said. "I think that's completely normal and fine, but I think it was a game of telephone that just kind of got twisted and turned into drama."
"It sucks because my intentions were so pure the entire time. I just wanted to see how far Colton and I could get," she added.
Underwood, who called the situation "overplayed" and "taken too far," and said he had reason for continuing to date Randolph despite the warnings. "You have to trust your gut. You have to go with your instincts," he shared.
The pair are now completely committed to each other, with the support of Randolph's dad, Matt, who at first refused to give Underwood his blessing to propose, and then showed up to Portugal to tell his daughter she wasn't ready to get engaged.
"They always got along. They always liked Colton. I think something they didn't really show was [my father] being like, 'You can date him, that's fine," Randolph said.
"It's actually really funny," Underwood chimed in. "The night that I asked him for his blessing... he said no, but he said, 'But I will give you permission to continue dating my daughter.' So he did follow it up with a 'but' and he did give me permission to continue to date Cassie. Obviously, that is not exactly what I wanted to hear, but at least [it] gave me the promise like, 'Hey, all right, we had a good conversation. I see where you are coming from, I respect your decision, I respect you as a father.'"
"He is really supportive," Randolph added. "He loves us both a lot."
It's all one big happy family. "We're very confident in where we are right now, and we're on the same page," Randolph expressed. "So, it feels good."
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