The Bachelor confronted two of his season's most controversial contestants.
Clayton Echard just confronted some of his season's most controversial women. During The Bachelor's "Women Tell All" special on Monday, the leading man was reunited with Shanae and Sarah, two people he sent home under less-than-positive conditions.
Up first was Shanae, and Clayton took loads of criticism from Sierra and others for not sending her home when multiple women suggested he do just that.
"We had a connection. I was basing my decisions off of the connection that I felt," Clayton explained. "... I believed you. I did. I thought we had a genuine connection, but as I watched it back, to see you fake tears, to see you be playing this game, you manipulated the women, you manipulated me."
While Shanae claimed she was open, vulnerable and honest on the show, Clayton was having none of it. "I trusted you, I believed you, and it was the worst thing I could’ve done," Clayton, who sent Shanae home after a two-on-one, said.
ET spoke with Clayton after the taping, and he admitted that he was still "frustrated that she manipulated me."
"I felt that she showed me one side and then she acted a different way and faked tears around me, [so] I questioned it going forward. I look back at it and say, 'Did you fake everything else?'" Clayton told ET. "... I hope she's just ultimately very apologetic and learns from this experience. I would love to give her grace and hope that she can learn from her mistakes, the same way that I've learned from mine."
Unlike with Shanae, Clayton did send Sarah home after several women expressed concern, telling him that they were considering leaving the show because of things Sarah said about her relationship with Clayton.
The situation with Sarah came later than the one with Shanae, and thus, Clayton explained during the episode, "At that point, the women that came to me, I had a fair amount of trust in them. For them all to be together in that moment and telling me the same story, it became a big red flag."
"What it came across, just to me, was that you were playing this game for your benefit, to get them to all leave the competition," Clayton told Sarah. "As I went forward, I started to wonder if anyone else was playing that game as well 'cause I didn’t see that with you... It just put me in a really bad spot mentally where I started to question everything... I’m not saying that’s what you were trying to do. Truthfully as I watch it back, I don’t even know."
Sarah, however, said, "It’s ironic that you were questioning if I was disingenuous, because that’s what you were doing to me... It feels like the person constantly putting me back into it and constantly stirring the pot was you."
"I wish that you would’ve respected me enough in our goodbye to have ended our relationship... based on you and I and our relationship, not based on external things and hearsay," she added.
While speaking with ET, Clayton said that he didn't get "the answers as to why" Sarah lied to the women, specifically when she claimed he cried during their date, something he adamantly denied.
"At the end of the day, I think the [way the] women responded to it shows that they didn't believe it, that she did say those things," Clayton said. "I'm not here to judge anybody. I'm not here to cast down any criticism. I ultimately just think I made the right decision."
From Sarah's point of view, her contentious conversation with the women and her back-and-forth with Clayton "went as well as you could have anticipated."
"I went in with the intention of not placing any expectations on the response that I got from the women or Clayton. I really only made it a goal to challenge myself, to stand up for myself, to say the truth, and to do and say the things that I wish I would've said in the moment," she told ET. "So as far as meeting those expectations, I'm proud of myself for putting myself out there and having a tough conversation with the girls and with Clayton."
As for how things ended with Clayton, Sarah said she wishes "him nothing but the best, truthfully."
"I think that he sees the mistakes that he's made. I hope that he is committed to doing better moving forward. That's all you can ever ask," she said. "I always like to extend the grace that I would ask for if I was in that situation, so as far as him and I, I wish things would've ended differently. I wish we could have had better conversations towards the end of our relationship and even tonight, but that's OK."
Clayton Echard's season of The Bachelor airs Mondays on ABC. The Fantasy Suites episode will air Tuesday, March 8. ET has got you covered throughout the entirety of Clayton's season with all of our Bachelor content.