- Clayton Echard's Bachelor season ended with a massive twist, as he confessed his love for contestant Susie Evans.
- So, are they still together? And, did they ever get engaged after filming ended?
- Here's what you need to know:
From a children's birthday party to #shrimpgate, the last season of The Bachelor truly had it all. But after a season finale unlike anything Bachelor Nation had seen before, Clayton Echard and Susie Evans did manage to find love—together.
A huge fight left their relationship on the rocks, but the duo still managed to beat the odds. An aww-worthy finale saw the two announce their brand new relationship.
Of course, anything could happen once the cameras stop rolling. So, are they still together? And it has been a while... Did they ever get engaged?
Here's everything you need to know about how Clayton's season ended and where he and Susie stand now.
Warning: *Major* spoilers ahead! Stop reading here if you don't want to know what happens in season 26 of The Bachelor!
The finale brought with it plenty of drama and heartbreak.
During the pre-finale episode, Clayton told all three women that he was either "falling in love" or "in love with them." He also slept with both Gabby and Rachel on their overnight dates.
Susie had the final overnight date. At dinner, Clayton told her that he loved her. But Susie said she wasn't ready to take that step forward until she knew where Clayton stood with the other women. She mentioned that if he told another contestant that he loved them—or was intimate with them—then she didn't feel comfortable moving forward to an engagement.
Clayton got angry, and the two got into a huge fight before he sent her home. Here's the clip, ICYMI:
There was a 'rose ceremony from hell.'
After Susie left, Clayton revealed to Gabby and Rachel at the rose ceremony that he was in love with (and had slept with) both of them. Cue *all* the tears—and, a stunning statement from The Bachelor.
“Ultimately, whoever I pick, I love the most,” Clayton said. When Gabby asked why he wouldn't just wait to tell his future fiancée he loved her, he replied, “that’s what I’m figuring out.”
“Who is the best fit for me? Who do I love the most? Once I make that decision, all the other love, it was real, but it ends there. It didn’t mean I didn’t mean it. It just means I have a stronger love for somebody else,” he explained.
Then, he pulled Rachel aside. “The love that I feel for you is not the love that I feel for Gabby… It’s different," Clayton told her. "It’s not the same…. You both are two different people. I have different feelings. I’m in love in different ways.”
Twitter couldn't handle how things played out.
Viewers weren't buying it. "'Whoever I pick I love the most' is how I selected which stuffed animal was chosen to come with me on trips when I was 5," one fan Tweeted. Someone else added, "Clayton had the most genuine, good-hearted Final 3 women in #Bachelor history, and he doesn’t deserve any one of them."
Clayton did convince both Gabby and Rachel to stay after that disastrous rose ceremony. Heading into the last episode of the season, he still had some serious decisions to make.
“I love both Gabby and Rachel, but when Susie left, my whole life just got flipped upside-down. How am I supposed to just let that go?” he asked his parents, Brian and Kelly.
But Susie ended up winning Clayton's final rose.
Buckle up, because there's a lot to go over here. After the "rose ceremony from hell," host Jesse Palmer brought Clayton and Susie together—turns out, she was still in Iceland, according to Reality Steve.
Clayton apologized and asked Susie to stay. She agreed, then met his parents briefly. Eventually, Clayton decided he really loved Susie and sent both Gabby and Rachel home.
Flash forward to the final rose ceremony. Clayton came prepared with a ring, and Susie got all dressed up. However, Clayton didn't propose.
"Clayton did tell Susie he was in love with her," Steve revealed. "Susie tells Clayton in return that she is NOT in love with him, and she walks away. Clayton leaves Iceland single" (!!!).
This lined up with Steve's previous theory. In an older post, he wrote that this season "does NOT have a traditional ending" and that there was "no finality to the season in Iceland."
The network delivered one final surprise.
Then, there was this confusing Tweet from Bachelor producer Mike Fleiss. "Major Historic Announcement!" he shared. "This season’s finale of #TheBachelorABC is totally spoiler-proof. No one knows how it will end, cuz it ain’t over til it’s over! And it ain’t over…"
Even ABC hinted at a jaw-dropping conclusion. Instagram fan account @bachelorwhatever realized that the network's changed its episode summary for the finale.
The description originally read, “what happens next is anyone’s guess, but it all goes down LIVE.” Later, it shifted to “what happens next is anyone’s guess, but it all goes down LIVE. Plus, an exciting surprise announcement that no one will see coming.” Hmmm...
And, Bachelor alum Nick Viall promised "insane" drama. "It is nuts. Insane," he said in a TikTok. "Do you guys remember the debacle that was Ayre's season or Colton's fence jump, or the Peter craziness—child's play compared to what I just witnessed."
"Most of the time I'm just shaking my head in disbelief," he said about the finale. "And then, there are some iconic moments." He added that the episode "will be the most talked-about finale ever."
It all added up to an unprecedented Bachelor plot twist of epic proportions. Susie and Clayton repaired their relationship and announced that they were still dating during the live portion of the finale.
What has happened since filming ended?
The happy couple is still together now. "In a weird, twisted way it did work out because I ended up with Susie. And I'm happier than I've ever been," Clayton told People.
"We needed to take a step back, and when we restarted our relationship, we set down a new foundation," Susie added. "I was totally caught off guard by everything that happened in Iceland so I needed to take time for myself and get to the bottom of who Clayton is as a person."
But Clayton was always all-in: "I never took a step back. I was still very much in love with Susie and when the door opened back up, I was fully back in," he explained.
As far as that huge fight earlier in the season goes, "I wanted answers for how he treated me on the initial day of our breakup. But we've learned so much about each other. And those feelings of love came back," Susie said.
But Susie and Clayton are no longer living together.
Early on, Clayton moved to Susie's home state of Virginia, but now it looks like they'll be taking their relationship long distance.
During his time on Dear Media's Not Skinny But Not Fat podcast, Clayton explained that he would be moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, and Susie would be heading to L.A. They both said they want to pursue their career goals.
"It's only a 50-minute flight apart, but we're both chasing our dreams. I think for location-wise, we both feel that those are the spots that we want to be," Clayton said. "I'm working on my computer ten [to] 12 hours a day, so she was like, 'Clayton, I'll move to L.A. and then we can travel on the weekends to see each other.'"
And according to Clayton, the new living arrangement has made the couple even stronger. "People might look at us and think, 'Oh, they're separating. But this past weekend she went to film a wedding and I missed the hell out of her," he said. "When she came back, it was like that distance makes the heart grow fonder. We haven't been able to keep our hands off each other. We've just been attached to each other's side."
Even so, both are willing to compromise if the long distance isn't working. Clayton said they'd move if things weren't going well. But for now, Clayton and Susie shippers can rest easy knowing these two are still going strong. No engagement...yet.
Sabrina is an editorial assistant for Women’s Health. When she’s not writing, you can find her running, training in mixed martial arts, or reading.