The tech executive told ET why his request to production was ultimately denied.
Things didn't always go Zach Shallcross' way on The Bachelor. On Monday night's episode of the ABC series, Zach said goodbye to Greer after they lost two weeks together, first from his COVID diagnosis and then from hers.
While Greer told Zach that she'd be "more than happy" to introduce him to her family during Hometowns, he admitted that, given the time lost, he didn't feel "100 percent confident" in doing so. Sending Greer home, Zach told ET in an interview, was something he never imagined, and something he tried desperately to prevent.
"I would've never known in a million years that I'm going to get this COVID curve ball of taking a whole week away from us to where you can't just put everything on hold, as much as I wanted to," he said. "I begged and pleaded, [and] they're like, 'No, we have to keep this going.'"
"So when I finally come back and she gets COVID right when I get back, that time is taken away from her. And again, we can't stop everything," Zach added. "And it's like, 'All right, these relationships are either really progressing with these days or they're not.' At that point, when she had come back with Hometowns right around the corner, I didn't feel confident enough to go there and meet her family because there were other relationships that I was very sure I was going to meet the family."
Still, Zach admitted that sending Greer home was "tough," which host Jesse Palmer confirmed in his own interview with ET.
"Zach got it in London, Greer got it in Estonia, and as a result, it did affect a lot of the relationships, particularly between the two of them," Jesse said. "I mean, they essentially went two weeks without having any face time, which on this show is like an eternity. Two weeks is forever. So it absolutely affected their relationship."
"You can't help but ask yourself what would've happened had there not been COVID? What have, could have, should have. Would they still be together today? It's obviously something that nobody can really answer," he added. "But absolutely, COVID did affect the show and it affected these relationships."
Also on Monday night, Zach had a romantic one-on-one date with Kaity. After they spent the day sightseeing, things got deep at dinner when Kaity tearfully opened up about not growing up with her biological father and having the man who raised her walk out when she was a teen. The night ended with Zach giving Kaity a rose.
The other one-on-one date of the week went to Brooklyn, but it didn't have the happy ending that Kaity's date did. The pair rode bikes, enjoyed a hot air balloon, and visited a bathhouse, before sitting down for dinner. During the meal, Brooklyn revealed how, after her past abusive relationship, she promised herself she wouldn't introduce her family to a man "until it was someone I truly saw a future with." That made Zach realize that he couldn't be that man.
"You do deserve love. I can't give you," he told her. "I'm so sorry."
The breakup, Brooklyn told ET, left her "blindsided."
"I truly saw him as someone I could see myself with or coming home to meet my family," she explained. "And then just to hear that he wasn't 100 percent confident, and that he basically didn't want to toy with my emotions or my family's emotions didn't make it any less hard, but I respected him for it because he respected me enough to not play around with their feelings. He knows how much introducing someone to the family meant to me and how important it was, and he didn't want to take that lightly. I respect him for that."
Meanwhile, Zach told ET that, though his relationship with Brooklyn was "quite a strong" one early on, when the reality of meeting the family came in, things changed.
"I want to make sure that I have zero doubt that I want to introduce or meet the family and have the family involved in this crazy freaking Bachelor role. I know that stress it can take on a family, so I want to be so confident that I can see a future with you," he said. "It was frustrating because during that date, especially at the night portion, I was just not getting there. I don't know, I was getting mad at myself of like, 'What am I missing? What am I missing?' Seemingly, everything's great, but I just didn't feel it, and I had to tell her how I was feeling."
Then, on the group date, Zach took the other women on an emotional outing, where they were challenged to get candid about their fears and reservations. The exercise revealed that Kat had thought about leaving the show, Charity was still dealing with the aftermath of being cheated on, Gabi was worried about being safe in a relationship, and Ariel was struggling with the possibility of heartbreak.
During the nighttime portion of the date, Zach alleviated Gabi's fear that she was "too much" for someone and seemingly clarified that Kat was never questioning him, just the process in general.
Even with that supposed clarity, Zach awarded Gabi the group date rose. That made Kat "not feel wanted," something that got even worse when, at the rose ceremony, Zach sent her home for good. As Zach walked Kat out, he explained that he "couldn't see a confident future in us" and had to go with "that feeling in my stomach." They both left the conversation in tears, with Zach so distraught that Jesse felt compelled to burst onto the set and give the Bachelor a hug.
"I'll never forget that," Jesse told ET of the hug. "... I'm watching with the producers as Zach's saying goodbye, and I just ran out there because I just thought he needed a hug. I just think he needed someone. He was just in a really, really rough spot... One thing that's so unique about Zach is he really takes those [goodbyes] so, so bad. It's really tough for him because of how much he cares. That was definitely one of the most heartfelt goodbyes I think I've ever seen on the show in its history."
Zach confirmed as much while speaking to ET, calling his goodbye with Kat "really tough."
"There was a good spark, and we had, during the Bahamas, a very passionate date," he said. "... We've got the passion, we got our relationship, but it didn't get abundantly strong or clear to me. I have to make sometimes impossible decisions, and sometimes I just hope I just don't kick myself for it."
Looking back, Kat told ET that her fears on the show stemmed from the fact that things were "getting scary" in terms of the fast progression.
"We lost time that we were trying to make up for. I never doubted our relationship. I wanted to keep pushing for it because I knew what we had was special. I expressed that to him, and he didn't want to continue, which is OK," she said. "It's his journey too, just as much as it is mine. I think I leaned into it as much as I could, and I left there knowing that. Looking back, he's probably not my person, and that's OK."
Next week, fans will be treated to two all-new episodes of the show; on Monday, the Hometown visits will air, while Tuesday will be reserved for the "Women Tell All" episode.
When ET spoke to Zach about the journey ahead, he admitted that the "emotional season" was "very overwhelming at times." Jesse, though, told ET that Zach has been "so authentic" through it all.
"I'm excited that people have gotten to watch him this season, because they're learning a lot about him and they're seeing who he truly is. I can tell you, Zach is... the same guy he is that you see on television," Jesse said. "Zach is mature beyond his years. He is an emotional guy. He wears it on his sleeve. Zach can make decisions. He can make tough decisions. He can make them by himself. He can make them quickly. Cares about the women, cares about his time with them. He's very intentional."
"You can say whatever you want to say about Zach, but I think people are figuring out now why he is the Bachelor. He's been amazing, in my opinion," Jesse added. "He was perfect to do this. He has all the qualities you need and I think people are going to continue to see that as the season unfolds."