The former broadcast journalist seemed to be one of Matt James' top picks after they connected on their one-on-one date last week. However, her fainting spell at the rose ceremony, surprise appearance at a group date she wasn't supposed to be on and self-isolation from the other women quickly caused drama. After some of her fellow contestants told her they had no desire to build friendships with her, Sarah chose to leave the competition show, which viewers saw play out Monday night.
Sarah was also dealing with a tumultuous family issue, and told ET's Lauren Zima on Tuesday that her father's debilitating ALS -- and her inability to get in touch with him -- were major factors in her decision to exit the show so abruptly.
"A couple of people told me that I would be able to talk with family," she alleges. "I thought I would be able to communicate with my parents and have access to a phone and talk with them, but some of those things turned out differently once I got there."
"I was hopeful that I would be able to stay in connection with him but that really wasn't a possibility when I got there," she adds. "So that was pretty difficult."
Typically, contestants do not have regular access to phones during filming the franchise’s shows. ET has reached out to Warner Brothers for comment.
Sarah told fellow contestant Katie (whom she originally interrupted on the group date) that she was going to leave because she wanted to be with her dad, who Sarah said might have just “weeks” to live. But as fans saw in her goodbye to Matt, Sarah appeared to cite conflict with the women as her main reason for leaving, calling them "cruel and malicious."
"It was really tough to relive that but I'm focusing on the positive," Sarah tells ET of watching the episode. "I'm human and I sometimes think we forget about that. We see people, characters on TV, and we forget that they're dealing with really heavy things sometimes and you truly never know what somebody's going through. So rewatching that was really tough."
Some viewers questioned Sarah's story and her intentions, but she says they were pure: "I went in there with that full intention to find love with Matt and was expecting to be there for the full two months, but of course I couldn't have anticipated how difficult it could be. So I had to do what was right for my mental health and my family, and looking back, I don't have any regrets. I think I made the right choice."
"I just think hearing what some of the women had to say, it just went too far. It got really hurtful and it hurt seeing that," she continues. "But again I'm trying to focus on the good and preserve my mental well-being, because at the end of the day, that's the most important thing."
Sarah didn't end on bad terms with all the women, however. In fact, she says "it really meant a lot" to her that Katie came up and initiated a conversation with her when she felt "misunderstood" by the others.
"A scene that didn't make it, Rachael and Bri are so sweet and they came to comfort me," she shares. "I did make good friends and there were moments where I was thinking, 'These are friendships that I can have moving forward.' So I think that's a positive, too."
Sarah tells ET that she also hopes to see Matt ending up with either Rachael or Bri in the end.
"They were the first to comfort me and they were absolute sweethearts," she recalls. "I can imagine them being in the top four just because they are really sweet and smart girls, from what I saw, and that is the kind of person Matt should end up with."
As for the 24-year-old's post-Bachelor life? She says she's currently focusing on being a caregiver to her father, working as a freelance journalist and splitting her time between Los Angeles and San Diego. She also set the record straight on her dating life, telling ET that those photos of her out and about with G-Eazy last year were "so funny."
"I have a lot of friends in Los Angeles and we are just friends," she explains. "Those pictures were taken what feels like forever ago. We're just friends."
The Bachelor airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more in the video below.