'The Bachelorette: Men Tell All': Brayden Reveals Why He Doesn't Consider Himself a Villain (Exclusive)

Brayden Bowers
ABC/Ricky Middlesworth

The most controversial contestant of the season is hoping to shed his villain persona.

Brayden Bowers doesn't want to be known as a Bachelorette villain. After the taping of Charity Lawson's "Men Tell All" special last month, the season's most controversial contestant told ET's Denny Directo why he wasn't looking for redemption during the reunion.

"I don't know if it was redeemed," he said. "I think it was just being able to let them know where I was coming from and see where they're coming from to just having a better understanding."

Despite being at the center of most of the season's drama, Brayden said he doesn't believe that he "needed the redemption at all."

"I don't like [that] I had the villain portrayal, but in my heart, I don't feel like I'm a villain," he said. "It was cool to come in and be able to fix that, I guess. Maybe. Hopefully. Hopefully I don't look like a villain here too."

For Charity, watching the season back was an eye-opening experience, and one that made her realize she "absolutely" should've listened to her brother, Nehemiah, when he warned her about Brayden on night one.

"It's one of those things that you just go with what feels [right]," Charity told ET. "Seeing all the things behind the scenes, I definitely saw a lot. It was so hard to watch back."

During "MTA," that feeling that Charity got watching the episodes prompted her to tell Brayden that she gave him "a lot more grace" than she should've throughout the season, a remark the travel nurse had some feelings about.

"She definitely gave me grace. Never once have I said she didn't give me grace," he told ET. "She understood this process was hard. I mean, she went through it with Zach [Shallcross]. She was so gracious with me. She understood. I think that's why she kept me for so long, because she liked me and she wanted to see if I could get to that place."

"She was giving me grace when we're having our one-on-one time, but then when we're back in the group setting, and then all of a sudden she hears all these things, and she's coming up to me and it's like now I'm on the defensive again," Brayden added. "She was gracious with me, but then there's times when it didn't feel like that... It was this back and forth."

During his time in the hot seat, Brayden said that he drew controversy because he wasn't "playing the game" and "manipulating" his words throughout his tenure.

"I was honest with her the entire time," he said of Charity. "As far as Charity goes, I don't think I would change anything, because the way that we were interacting in our connection, it was real. At least for me, it was definitely really good."

Charity had a different point of view, telling ET, "You were honest with me, but your tone was totally different with me when you relate things to me versus, like, talking about it in the house [where] you were really riled up."

"I wish I had [seen] that same energy," she added, "because I don't think he would have been here up until that point."

Brayden ultimately left because he realized he "wasn't gonna be able to give her what she wanted at the end of it" and "didn't want to take up any more of her time when I couldn't give that to her."

As for why he just couldn't get there, Brayden said that "being in the drama every single week" was part of the problem.

"It's already hard enough. It's such a short period of time to really get to a place where you can marry someone, and then on top of all that having people come and take shots at you every week, you end up going to this defensive place. You're trying to be vulnerable in this defensive place, but it's impossible," he said. "... I'm an all-or-nothing person. I can be all the way vulnerable, or I can be all the way closed off... I just had reached my limit. I really did. Once I recognized that, at that point, I was like, 'I can't be here anymore.'"

Brayden self-eliminated when he came to that realization, but popped back up once more for a surprise conversation with Charity, which angered many of the men. Interrupting a date wasn't meant to stir the pot, though, according to Brayden.

"I just wanted to let her know, 'Although I left, it's not because it wasn't real. It was real for me. I do have these feelings for you. It's just this environment. I can't do it. I can't promise you I'm gonna get down on a knee. If you want a connection, I'll stay,'" he said. "But it wasn't about that. It was about an engagement."

Despite it all, Brayden harbors no hard feelings toward Charity, telling ET, "She is an amazing woman and she deserves nothing but the best."

As for his next chance at love, franchise host Jesse Palmer revealed on Monday that Brayden was present on the beach for the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise. In fact, fans got to see a sneak peek clip that showed Brayden making out with Zach Shallcross' ex, Kat Izzo. In the clip, Brayden says of Kat, "She's someone I can see myself spending my life with." 

While fans now know Brayden gets kissed in Paradise, they will have to wait to see if he stirs up drama there too.

"We'll see. I don't think I was dramatic, but I don't know," he told ET. "I had a good time."

Watch Charity Lawson's journey for love on season 20 of The Bachelorette, which airs Mondays on ABC. Stay up to date on all the drama by following along with ET's coverage of the series.