'The Bachelor' Finale: Zach Explains the Conflicting Timelines of When He Knew Kaity Was the One (Exclusive)

This video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors.

If you are using ad-blocking software, please disable it and reload the page.

Zach Shallcross is setting the record straight. Following Monday's season finale of The Bachelor, which saw Zach pop the question to Kaity Biggar, the tech executive is clarifying when he knew his fiancée was the one for him.

Zach got Bachelor Nation talking during the live portion of the finale when he denied stringing along his runner-up, Gabi Elnicki, during their last date together, but then told Kaity that she stole his heart for good during their date, which aired before Gabi's.

The timeline confusion was a point of contention for franchise fans, but Zach told ET that it can all be explained by one thing -- editing.

"The beauty of reality TV and editing. It was actually not in that order," Zach explained, adding that his last date with Gabi actually happened before his final date with Kaity, despite how it aired on TV.

"I never want there to be this false narrative, but from what I said, it was true," he said. "When I had that date with Gabi, leaving it, I wasn't fully sure. My mind [was not] made up at all, but when I saw Kaity the next day, I was like, 'Duh, it's you. It's been you.'"

"She gives me s**t for it, but [I was] so in my head, and I just was like, 'You know what? I take this so seriously, an engagement. I want to make sure,'" Zach continued. "And then I was worried. And then I was like, 'Wait, she's here.'"

Kaity doesn't hold anything against her fiancé, as she pointed out he had a "big decision" to make about who his "forever person" would be. "I'll obviously toot my horn a little bit, but [he had] two incredible women in front of him, that's a tough decision," she acknowledged.

Zach's tough decision left Gabi brokenhearted, which was clear during their live chat on Monday night. During that conversation, Gabi criticized Zach for how he handled Fantasy Suite week.

The tech executive initially stated that he was not going to be intimate with any of his final three women, but broke that self-imposed rule with Gabi, and then confessed as much to Kaity, without giving Gabi a heads up. The whole situation, Gabi said during the finale, was "extremely violating" for her. 

"I just want to reiterate to her how sorry I am and how I handled things, because I know I was in the wrong," Zach told ET. "I never intended to hurt her with my actions. All I wanted to do was act with honesty, because I knew I had messed up, and I saw the pain that had caused Gabi. I saw the pain that had caused Kaity and Ariel [Frenkel], and that was the last thing I wanted."

"It pains me that... me trying to set this parameter was the worst decision and backfired so strong," he added. "I just wanted her to know that that was never my intention, to hurt anyone." 

Watching the whole thing play out live was not easy for Kaity.

"When I was watching it, I felt for Gabi, to be honest. I'm a very empathetic person, I would say. When I was watching it, I honestly, genuinely, was tearing up," she said. "While I was watching it, the makeup artist was doing my makeup, so she passed me tissues. I'm like, 'Oh my god.' I know that Gabi handles herself with grace, and Zach has a great heart. It's tough. It's just tough to watch back."

Despite her fiancé's complicated past with Gabi, Kaity remains friends with the account executive.

"It hasn't negatively impacted our friendship at all. We've gone on trips together. We have a trip coming up at the end of April. We're going to Miami together, so we're super excited," Kaity said. "Gabi and I, as well as the other girls too, we continue to uplift and support each other, and I feel like that's never going to stop... We have a trauma bond and that honestly [makes us] forever friends."

Zach is all for Kaity's friendship with Gabi, telling ET, "I know that they're great friends, and I'm so loving and supportive of their friendship and all of her friendships, and that makes me happy."

Now that the show is behind them, Zach and Kaity are thrilled to be able to discuss their romance publicly, with the latter gushing that "it feels so good." Next, the couple plans to move in together in Austin, a city they both called home before going on the show.

"It's so exciting. We have our separate friend groups that we're looking forward to melding together," Zach said. "Austin's such a fun town. There's the great food, there's great bars, there's great lakes, there's everything you could want. And now we get to do it together with our friends. It was a no-brainer."

While wedding planning is on hold for the time being, Zach and Kaity have considered how they want their nuptials to look.

"What we're looking for is a really intimate, small wedding," Zach said. "We want to do kind of a destination [wedding] with the people closest to us, the ones that really love us, we love them, and just center it around love and our marriage, and nothing crazy big. That's just not how we see it."

"Hopefully on a beach with my toes in the sand. I would love to get married on a beach," Kaity added. "And sunset would be nice too."

Until that day comes in 2025, Zach and Kaity are more than happy to live life as a happily engaged couple.

"Kaity is the love of my life. It's a crazy, wacky journey and it's a weird show by design, but what I saw in Kaity was the sweetest, most compassionate, kind woman that I literally could picture," Zach said. "... She's going to be an incredible mother. She's going to be an incredible wife. I can't wait to start a family with her. It's something I've never felt in my life. It was the most exciting feeling. I've never had that from someone. She gives me that same feeling every day, and butterflies. She still gives me butterflies."

Kaity, likewise, gushed about her partner, telling ET, "Zach truly just has a heart of gold, and he's so charming, he's so smart, and just literally everything about him."

"He's so selfless and he always just makes sure that I'm doing OK and just is completely there for me. He's so thoughtful," she added. "I could honestly go on and on and on about him, but everything to me is perfect about him, and I'm so lucky, so grateful."

Zach Shallcross' journey for love has come to an end. You can relive the season with all of ET's coverage. Next up for Bachelor Nation is Charity Lawson's season of The Bachelorette, which will premiere June 26 on ABC.


'The Bachelor' Finale: Zach Shallcross Is Engaged!

Gabi Calls Fantasy Suite Drama 'Violating' After Bachelor Zach Split

Why Ariel Was 'Really Hurt' By Bachelor Zach's Fantasy Suite Actions

Related Gallery