8:19am PT by Jackie Strause
Eliminated 'Bachelor' Star Eyes 'The Bachelorette'
[This story contains spoilers from the Feb. 19 episode of The Bachelor.]
And then there were three.
Monday's episode of The Bachelor saw Arie Luyendyk Jr. narrow down the contestants to his final three women in the thorniest breakup yet on the former race car driver's season.
After traveling around the country to meet the families of his final four women — Lauren Burnham, Becca Kufrin, Kendall Long and Tia Booth — for the annual Hometowns episode of the ABC reality dating franchise, Arie blindsided Tia when, after pausing a tense rose ceremony to pull another woman aside, he broke up with the Southern belle from Arkansas.
Before delivering the blow, Tia had told the camera: "Arie is completely different than the men that I have dated — I want to tell Arie I am so in love with him. I want him to be a part of my family.”
After doling out his final rose to taxidermy fanatic Kendall, Arie made his go-to gentlemen's offer to sit with Tia for some closure. But when she begged for an answer (watch below), the Bachelor replied: "I don’t have a good explanation — I really don’t.”
The pair will come face-to-face during the upcoming Women Tell All reunion special (airing Feb. 25), which The Hollywood Reporter attended. When speaking to THR during the taping, Tia shed some light on how difficult the past few months have been since her split from Arie.
"It was tough getting over him," she said, admitting that the elimination felt "very abrupt."
"We went from this fantasy fairy tale to going back home and going back to work," she explained of post-show life. "I really had to take a few weeks and decompress and reflect on this journey as a whole and not just this breakup. Like I told Chris [Harrison], there were amazing girls left when I went home. It was tough going back home knowing I fell in love with this man.”
Tia had admitted that she was "overconfident" after the breakup and even said she surprised herself with how quickly she fell in love with Arie during the show. During their post-breakup conversation, she admitted, "I don't want to feel like I'm not good enough because I've felt like that so many times before."
Immediately after the elimination, Bachelor Nation was throwing Tia's name into the ring for the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. Typically, the franchise will announce the Bachelorette lead during the After the Final Rose post-finale special of The Bachelor.
“I would definitely consider coming back to be Bachelorette," Tia told THR, now having had some distance from the heartbreak. She also said she would consider a run on summer spinoff Bachelor in Paradise. "I learned to be more vocal and express my feelings and thoughts. I’ve always put other people first and I learned to focus. I love this crew and all these amazing people.”
Despite some criticism about how The Bachelor can feel like a step backward when airing in the era of #MeToo and Time's Up, Tia said that, looking back, she found her experience to be an empowering one.
“Yes, we were competing for a man, but it's also about realizing our worth," she said. "It is just as much how we care for him as it is how he cares for us. I think it’s something we forgot a lot, but these amazing women around me reminded me of that. We are worth more and our identity is worth more than just a single rose and we know that. I can’t say enough good things about this experience.”
Time will tell if Tia's future as the Bachelorette is in the cards; two women are still due to have their hearts broken before Arie narrows down his final choice on the upcoming finale, as The Bachelor continues to air Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. (The Women Tell All reunion special airs Sunday, Feb. 25.)
Do you think Tia should be the next Bachelorette? Sound off in the comments section, below. For more Bachelor coverage, head here.
Deirdre Durkan contributed to this story.