'The Bachelor': Clayton on Why Gabby and Rachel 'Deserve' to Be the Bachelorette (Exclusive)

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Clayton Echard is delighted by the announcement that both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia will be the next Bachelorette. The co-Bachelorettes were revealed on Tuesday's season finale of The Bachelor, which saw Clayton have uncomfortable post-split conversations with each of the soon-to-be leading ladies.

"I wish the best for them. I was extremely happy when they announced they were dual Bachelorettes," Clayton told ET's Denny Directo. "I had a big smile on my face, because they're gonna both get their happy ending as well. They really do deserve it. They went through a lot, and a lot of it was because the pain I caused."

That pain began during Fantasy Suites week, when Susie Evans left the show after learning that Clayton had been intimate with and was in love with multiple women.

Clayton came clean to Gabby and Rachel about the same thing, and convinced them to stay and meet his parents, but ended up breaking up with them when he couldn't get Susie off of his mind. 

"I owed it to those women to give them as much closure as I could. There was nothing that I could really say, besides apologize," Clayton said of his live reunions with each woman. "... I felt terrible and I knew that there was no time for explanation. I don't think these women wanted an explanation and it wouldn't have felt right unless they asked for it... I wanted to just let them know like, 'Hey, I am extremely sorry. I don't wanna make any excuses.'"

During Gabby and Clayton's conversation, she slammed him for making her feel "so misled" on the show. Meanwhile, Rachel questioned if he'd said "I love you" to get her into bed.

Despite the lingering negative feelings the women seem to have, Clayton told ET that he hopes to have "conversations down the road" with each of them.

"Hopefully they'll forgive me. I don't know where they stand on that, I don't expect them to, but I hope they were able to get the closure they needed," he said. "... There's things I can explain, but if they don't want explanations then I don't deserve to get to be able to give them those explanations. There's no reason to if they don't see it fit."

"I would always be open to talking with both of them if they have more questions and want to understand. I'm not one to withhold stuff. I don't wanna lie," Clayton added. "I want them to understand [that with] everything I was doing I had the purest of intentions. Obviously I took bad actions, but it was with no malintent. If they wanna have those conversations, I'm always open to having them. If they don't, then I respect that."

Clayton got into his predicament, he said, when he allowed himself to enter "this uncharted territory of falling for multiple women," something he had "no idea how to handle."

"I thought I was making the right decisions, but clearly I wasn’t, from what I've read at least. I don't know at the end of the day how you really go about dating multiple women and doing it in a way where you don't hurt anyone," he said. "I kind of felt that hurting someone at the end of it was going to inevitable, but I also felt that I owed it to everyone to not hold back... I just felt terrible that I hurt as many people as I did."

Though the journey was tumultuous, everyone does have something to celebrate. Clayton and Susie rekindled their romance post-show and are looking forward to their future together, while Gabby and Rachel are eagerly awaiting their own journey for love. Still, though, Clayton does not advise the next Bachelor to go about things the way he did.

"The biggest mistake I think I made of all the mistakes I did make, was I assumed that everyone was in the same headspace that I was. I couldn't have been farther from that, as far as that truth so, or assumption," he said. "That's where there was a lack of communication, which led to a breakdown in the relationships because of my own doings. I would tell any future Bachelor [to] ask a million more questions, because it's better to have too much information than not enough."

Tune in to Wednesday's episode of Entertainment Tonight for more of ET's interview with Clayton and Susie.


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