The reality star faced Shanae, Sarah and more of his former flames during the Monday, March 7, episode. The eliminated contestants also got heated with each other on several occasions, particularly when discussing the drama from season 26.
Clayton reflected on the tense reunion after the taping. “I do wear my emotions on my sleeve, especially with facial expressions,” he exclusively told Us Weekly. “A few of the women come up afterward [to] tell me, ‘Hey, smile.’ I think it’s pretty apparent that I was a little rattled by this. It really hurts me.”
The former football player noted that he has “always been a people pleaser,” which impacted his experience as the Bachelor.
“I’ve always tried to keep as many people happy as I interact with. And tonight showed me that I really frustrated a lot of these women, and I hope that they can forgive me, ultimately,” he said. “But I could only say what I felt was needed to be said. I hope they understand that I’m human. And I tried my best.”
While Clayton has maintained that he gave it his all as the lead, he wished he would have handled conflict “a lot better” throughout his journey.
“I should have asked more questions. I don’t necessarily know what in particular I could have done specifically,” he explained. “I mean, our days, we were running around doing a million things. It’s not like we had downtime, but I could have in those moments just asked another question or two. And that may have uncovered what I needed to uncover.”
As for the women who were caught up in the drama, Clayton told Us that he was open to moving past the issues — even when it came to Shanae.
“I don’t like to hold onto anything. I am willing to forgive everyone for their actions. I was shocked by Shanae,” he said. “I think she showed me one thing and did another on camera, but you know what? I think everybody deserves some grace and I certainly hope that if she feels apologetic for what she did, then I can forgive her.”
Clayton’s final three women — Rachel, Gabby and Susie — were not present at The Women Tell All. Their love stories will continue to play out in the fantasy suites episode, which airs on Tuesday, March 8.
Scroll through the gallery below for all the bombshells from The Women Tell All: