7:00pm PT by Jackie Strause
'The Bachelorette's' Luke Talks Post-Show Heartbreak: "I Was Having Anxiety Attacks"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the overnight dates episode of The Bachelorette.]
The Bachelorette delivered its biggest blindside yet during JoJo Fletcher's fantasy suites episode.
With her final four men awaiting a rose ceremony that would propel them into the long-awaited overnight fantasy suite dates, Luke Pell was left utterly shocked when JoJo refused to give him a rose — even after he had just pulled her aside to profess his love for the Bachelorette.
"I think my face said it all," he tells The Hollywood Reporter about the devastating moment. "I haven’t felt a relationship go that fast and be that strong ever. For it to end that way was just really hard to take."
Despite being open about his feelings all season long, the Texan cowboy waited a little too long to tell JoJo that he loved her.
"We’ll never know what we could have had," he told JoJo on Monday night's episode. He stared off into the distance and struggled to find the words to express how he felt: "I wanted to fall in love with you and I never got to see it through … this is not supposed to be happening. I dreamed about it so much."
Luke's reaction was so painful to watch, a reeling JoJo was left questioning her decision after he pulled away. But while JoJo got to continue along her journey to find love — she will pick between her final two men, Jordan Rodgers and Robby Hayes, during next week's finale — Luke was sent back to Texas alone.
Now, months later, he tells THR that he brought that shock viewers witnessed home with him, as he leaned on close family and friends.
"There was a state of shock that I was in for a couple of days," he says. "I was trying to process what happened and I was having anxiety attacks about it. Just trying to cope with the high and the escalation of the relationship that I had just been in, and then the roller coaster of coming down the other side of that happening just as quickly."
He continued, "Your heart feels like it’s out of rhythm. You’re almost dizzy when you stand up. There were these anxiety symptoms that I was having to deal with that I couldn’t control, so that’s when I knew this cut me deep. Really cut me deep."
Luke gets his chance to confront JoJo when they will appear face-to-face for the first time since the breakup during tomorrow night's Men Tell All special — and the reunion is sure to be an emotional one.
If fan reaction is any indication — #LukeForBachelor was trending on Monday night — Luke could be in the running to return as the next Bachelor.
"As a hopeless romantic as I may be, I loved her," he now says. "I was in love with her and I was waiting for this perfect once-in-a-lifetime moment to say it. Maybe it was one date too long."
Read THR's Power Rankings from the overnight dates episode and stay tuned for another set of rankings after the Men Tell All tomorrow (at 8 p.m. on ABC).
Christina Schoellkopf contributed to this report.