'The Bachelorette' Finale: Erich Addresses His Ex's Dramatic Claims

The real estate analyst got engaged to Gabby Windey on Tuesday's season finale.

Erich Schwer is speaking out amid a major controversy. On Tuesday's season finale of The Bachelorette, the real estate analyst popped the question to Gabby Windey, but their engagement was overshadowed by recent claims from Erich's ex.

Last week, a woman who claims to have dated Erich before he went on the show released what she alleges are texts from their time together.

During the live portion of Tuesday's episode, Erich addressed the situation with host Jesse Palmer.

"I met this girl about a month before it started and I had no idea I was going to come here. Ultimately, I realized that there was not a connection long-term, and it was about the same time the show reached out," Erich explained. "I handled it poorly, 100 percent. I led her on and I want to own that... I kind of took the easy way out in a sense. I didn’t want to have the hard conversation. I learned a lot from it... It’s a mistake that I made on my part."

In the texts in question, Erich allegedly told the woman, whom he'd been dating for less than three months, that he was "stuck in his career path" and wanted to go on the show to "see if there was something else I could do with my life." 

In the texts, the woman asked Erich if he expected her to "continue dating you while you go on a reality TV show to 'find love,'" to which he allegedly replied that the show "isn't real."

"I was taking the cowardly way out," he said of the texts. "I led this girl on. I was using the show as an excuse to not confront her about our relationship at this point where I didn’t see a future but we were having fun."

"I came into this like, 'Make it past night one, see what happens.' What changed was I met Gabby on the first night, and to me everything changed," Erich added. "... I want to spend more time with this person. I want to see where this goes... To ultimately end up with the happiest ending possible, it’s crazy... I love this girl with all my heart. It’s 100 percent real. I never expected it. I want this to be forever."

As for how Gabby feels about everything, she admitted that "it’s hard."

"Erich told me about the text messages way before they were leaked... He was thinking about me and we’ve had these conversations time and time again," she said. "... Our communication has just gotten better and he's gracious and he’s honest, so I do believe what he said... His honesty and willingness to take accountability is all I can ask for in a partner."

Relive all the drama from season 19 of The Bachelorette with ET's coverage. For more Bachelor Nation fun, tune in to the season premiere of Bachelor in Paradise on Tuesday, Sept. 27 on ABC.