'Bachelor' Couple Clayton Echard, Susie Evans Announce Split

Craig Sjodin
·3 min read

Clayton Echard and Susie Evans have called it quits.

The reality stars, who met on the drama-filled season 26 of "The Bachelor," announced their split in a joint Instagram post on Sept. 23.

"With incredibly heavy hearts, we wanted to share that we have decided to go our separate ways. For anyone who has ever loved, knows this was a painful decision to make and not one taken lightly," the pair wrote alongside a photo of them smiling together.

The pair said in their post that they understood that fans would have questions about their breakup, particularly since they were forced to keep their romance under wraps until their "Bachelor" season finished airing.

"But we will share this — although this last year together has brought us so much joy and so many laughs, there has also been a significant amount of pain," they wrote.

The former couple explained that "external forces" took a toll on their relationship.

"We know no healthy relationship comes without its struggles, but we’ve realized that we were not prepared for the external forces that hindered our ability to not only heal as individuals but also as a couple. We both are focused on continuing to work on ourselves, so we can be the best version of ourselves," they wrote.

They added, "This is not an easy time for either of us but we stand in support of each other and hope to see the other go on to find happiness and healing. Although Claysie is no more, we hope that our communities can support us individually as we move forward with love and respect for each other."

The exes concluded their message by thanking fans for their support. "It means so much more than you will ever know," they wrote.

During Echard's season of "The Bachelor," which ended explosively in March, the former NFL star selected Evans as his choice for his first one-on-one date.

Though Evans went on to become of the season's three finalists, she was visibly upset when she learned during the drama-filled finale that Echard had been intimate with the two other finalists, Gabriela “Gabby” Windey and Rachel Recchia, in the fantasy suite.

After Evans and Echard argued, Evans left the show.

Though Echard continued on with Windey and Recchia, he admitted that he couldn't stop thinking about Evans — and, in another twist, he broke up with the final two contestants.

The following day, Evans briefly met Echard’s family before agreeing to reconsider their relationship.

However, on the final day of filming of season 26, Evans told Echard that she had decided to leave the show a single woman and walked away, leaving Echard alone.

But a final twist in the season remained.

In the “After the Final Rose” episode, Echard revealed that he and one of the contestants had rekindled their romance off-camera. Evans then walked out on stage to join her beau and announced that the pair had fallen in love.

Windey and Recchia went on to be joint bachelorettes for season 19 of the show, which just ended on Sept. 20.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com