Clayton Echard has regrets.
In an interview with The Virginian-Pilot, the 29-year-old former NFL player and star of “The Bachelor” opens up about his controversial season of the reality show.
“It was a train wreck, honestly, of a season,” he admits.
During the dramatic season finale, Echard revealed to one of the three finalists, Susie Evans, that he had slept with both of the other finalists, prompting her to walk off the show.
He then announced during the last rose ceremony, Echard told both women that he was in love with them.
“Watching it back, I was embarrassed and disgusted by my actions and the way I was portrayed or seen on TV,” Echard says. “Ultimately, I had to live with the fact that my narrative is what was shown. And that was hard because that’s not really who I am. I don’t feel that what I was on the show is who I truthfully am but I did those things, I became that person.”
Echard also received a bombardment of hate-filled messages from fans of the show that were difficult to deal with.
“The hatred by way of numbers was really hard for me to overcome,” he says. “Had it just been a few messages I would’ve passed it off. Had it been hundreds of messages, I might have questioned it. … But for me, it was thousands of messages, and in a very short period of time, so it became very overwhelming.”
Despite all the drama, during the “After the Final Rose” reunion, Echard revealed that he and Evans had gotten together. They now live together, and the reality star says because of that, he doesn’t regret the experience.
“At the same time, I would never, ever do it again,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Echard has also been very public about his mental health struggles, including dealing with body dysmorphia, and is working on a book and touring, specifically trying to speak with young people about body image issues.
“Going on the show was a catalyst for me feeling as though I can do this,” he says.. “It’s something that I’m passionate about, and I want to be able to impact others.”
Echard adds, “I want to be able to be a light for them, to say ‘Hey, listen, I was there as well. I was able to overcome this.’”