Of course Clayton Echard would come to Bachelor star Zach Shallcross’ defense over the drama he created with his failed “no sex in the Fantasy Suite” rule. Clayton’s time as the Season 26 Bachelor ended nearly the same way.
Show host, Jesse Palmer, was as shocked as the rest of us when Zach announced in Thailand that there would “be no sex of any kind [in the] Fantasy Suites.” Even though his three remaining women — Ariel Frenkel, Gabi Elnicki, and Kaity Biggar — were looking forward to having intimate time with him, it wasn’t going to happen. Or was it?
The first date with Ariel went as planned. But the morning after Zach’s date with Gabi, he guiltily confessed to Jesse that they had had sex “and it was very special.” The Anaheim Hills native then told Jesse that his new plan was to be “honest” with the other women and tell them he’d broken his promise. And again Bachelor Nation shuddered with horror. This would not go well.
Even Wells Adams, a Bachelorette alum and current Bachelor in Paradise bartender, knew this was a really terrible idea. “The advice I would have given Zach at the bar: Do Not Kiss And Tell. Especially when millions of people are watching. #TheBachelor,” he tweeted.
Before speaking to the other women, Zach first went to tell Gabi about his (Unnecessary) Honesty Tour. In a private confessional, Gabi said she felt Zach had broken her trust. Something that should have been “just between us,” was now “between us [and] everyone else.” Zach was clearing his guilty conscience and breaking Gabi’s heart.
When Kaity heard Zach’s news, it only made her feel “distant and confused.” She knew he was dating other women, but she didn’t need to know the details. “I don’t care to hear it, to be honest,” she said. “It’s kind of like rubbing salt in the wound.” So that went well, then.
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Following the episode, Us Weekly reported that Clayton had posted several videos in Zach’s defense on his Instagram Story. He addressed how the lack of privacy during filming limits the ability to have private conversations. “The only privacy is [in the] fantasy suites,” he claimed on March 21, 2023. “Before and after that, there’s zero privacy. You don’t get off-camera time, so that can’t happen.”
The former NFL player emphasized that the decision to share intimate details about other romantic connections with the final choice is a “very real concern.” Whether it’s disclosed after the finale or during filming, it’s never a “win-win” situation. But they’ll see it on TV eventually, so it will all come out sooner or later.
Clayton continued, “That can really put someone in emotional turmoil when they realize, ‘Wait, you didn’t tell me the full story until now? I would have liked to have known beforehand.’”
He added, “We’re dating multiple people. It’s a foreign environment for all of us. We’ve never been in it before, so we have no experience to pull from, so how do you do it correctly? [W]ith so many variables and different people and personalities, you never know how to approach it, and all you can do is your best.”
Clayton urged viewers who were critical of Zach to “give him some grace.” Although he didn’t necessarily agree with how Zach had handled the situation, Clayton thought he was probably doing the best he could under difficult circumstances.
“When emotions are attached, we act irrational [sic]. That is just how it is, and we all can relate to that. It’s so easy to be rational when there’s no emotional tie. The second you get an emotional tie, things are not cut and dry,” Clayton said.
The drama divided Bachelor Nation fans. But Gabi seemed to be bearing more than her fair share of the backlash. On Monday, she responded to a poster who noticed her deleting Instagram comments. “I am, because I don’t need negativity and hate on my page. It’s so unnecessary and unkind. There is NO reason to put others down, get off my page if you don’t like me,” she said.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF ZACH’S DECISION TO SHARE THE DETAILS OF HIS AND GABI’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE OTHER WOMEN? DO YOU AGREE WITH CLAYTON THAT ZACH SHOULD BE GIVEN SOME GRACE? WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE HIS FINAL CHOICE?
[Photo Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images]