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Rachel Lindsay found love on the historic season of ABC’s Bachelorette, but the most-talked about moment of her finale involves the man she didn’t pick.
In one of the most tense reunions between a winner and his or her runner-up in recent memory, Peter Kraus admitted that he cried while on the set of After the Final Rose, the annual live post-finale special hosted by Chris Harrison, when re-living his unfinished exit from the reality dating show.
“I’m shaking like a leaf right now, I’m terrified. This is hard,” he told his ex-girlfriend and one-time potential fiancee when he sat next to her, coming face-to-face for the first time since their breakup, which was filmed months prior. Breaking show format, Kraus never made it to the traditional proposal site that often sees one contestant leaving in heartbreak after planning to pop the question and getting rejected. Instead, Kraus confessed his hesitations about getting engaged at the end of the short reality TV journey, pushing Lindsay to call it quits the night prior.
Their televised reunion, which Lindsay’s winner and fiance Bryan Abasolo was also watching live, showcased the raw emotion that still remained between Lindsay and Kraus, who was the fan-favorite of Bachelor Nation. Kraus drew a majority 21 percent of the Twitter conversation, higher than mentions of Lindsay herself, with many viewers voicing their disappointment at her choice and hopes that Kraus will be named the next lead of The Bachelor, according to social media research firm Fizziology.
When speaking to reporters the day after the three-hour TV event unfolded, Kraus opened up about his reservations over appearing on the reunion special, something that he is contractually obligated to do, and how it did not go as he had hoped. The raw experience is also contributing to more hesitations, this time about returning to the franchise.
“I didn’t even want to go on the stage. Watching our breakup on the screen was incredibly difficult and not something that I was enjoying. I about walked off,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on the call. “Then, what seemed like it would go one way quickly went another. I didn’t know how to respond to Rachel. It threw me off. I just had to sit in silence a little bit. Do I get up and leave? Do I say something back? Do I break down and cry right here on national TV? I felt very isolated and alone.”
During the ATFR special, Kraus, 31, said he felt like he was being attacked and stopped short of revealing why, referring vaguely to the “edit” he received of their final date. Lindsay also cited the main reason for their breakup as “deep-rooted issues,” something that Kraus says was news to him.
“I was confused. That hurt, because that felt like she was reaching for certain things,” the Wisconsin entrepreneur said on the call. “It was something I couldn’t respond to. I don’t think we have any deep-rooted issues, [we were] both heading in the same direction but at a different rate.”
Harrison had previously told THR that the next Bachelor lead wouldn’t be announced until Bachelor in Paradise had some time on the air, implying that ABC would also like to take into consideration some of the spinoff stars. Last season’s Bachelor Nick Viall hailed from two seasons of The Bachelorette, but he earned the gig after positive feedback from his Paradise stint.
On Tuesday, Kraus said he has heard Bachelor Nation’s cry for him to take the gig — and a source tells THR that his name is in the running.
“Being the head of all this, being in Rachel’s position as I saw her go through was a lot of pressure,” he told THR about his concerns about the high-profile position. “You are the face of a franchise. The face of an entire population of people who love the show and that’s hard. I can’t imagine what she has to go through. I do not blame her for anything. I do not hold her against her for it.”
As for whether he would be ready to take the Bachelor leap, he says he needs more time to process everything, but he wouldn’t rule it out.
“Consider? Sure. As of right now, am I thinking about it? No,” he said. “Last night was really tough. This entire process has been tough on me. I know as soon as I get back home, I’m going to jump right back into it to process all of this and not get there just yet with that potential step.”
He did, however, say that he went into the Bachelorette with an open mind and that if he were given the chance to be the Bachelor, he hopes he would be able to propose in the end.
“I went into this entire process totally open minded and ready for whatever was thrown at me, and even with that I don’t think I was prepared,” he admitted. “I don’t know if I can get to that level with someone that fast, but I certainly know that I tried. In this one instance, I couldn’t. I can’t really speak to my future. In this one time, it wasn’t what I was able to do at that point.”
Ultimately, Lindsay accepted Abasolo’s proposal and the engaged pair says they are now looking toward their future and to being a public couple. Making the TV rounds on Tuesday morning, the pair appeared happy and united, each offering blunt words for Kraus, who had commented during the show that Lindsay was only after a ring and a “life of mediocrity” if she didn’t pick him.
“I think you can clearly see that I have a lot of love for Bryan and that he was the one for me,” she told co-host Ryan Seacrest on Live With Kelly & Ryan of criticism that Abasolo was her second choice. “I would have never just chosen the ring.” She also confirmed that Kraus tried to reach out to her after filming, but that she shut down his request.
For his part, Abasolo admitted that it was difficult to watch Lindsay date 30 other men and offered these parting words to Kraus, whom he did not interact with during the live special: “You feel a little frustration of how she was treated and the position she was put in for the simple fact that, here I am, totally committed, totally invested, totally ready to start a real future with this woman and then other the other end, you have someone who is indecisive, wishy-washy and at the same time, he’s telling her he’s in love with her and will propose.”
When speaking to reporters, also on Tuesday, Lindsay shed light on her final night with Kraus and doubted his ability to be the next lead of The Bachelor.
“In this world, in this experience, you have to take a leap of faith,” she said. “He wasn’t willing to do it. If that’s the person that he is, that’s great. It just doesn’t work for this.”
Christina Schoellkopf contributed to this story.
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