Entertainment TV 'The Bachelor' 's Clayton Echard and Susie Evans Admit They're 'Expecting a Little Backlash' After Finale Host Jesse Palmer asked Clayton Echard if he felt all the drama was worth it in the end. "1,000 percent I mean, I couldn't be happier," the Bachelor said By Dory Jackson Dory Jackson Instagram Twitter Website Dory Jackson is an Associate Editor for PEOPLE's digital TV team. While at the brand, she's had the opportunity to interview a long list of celebrities, from Kate Hudson to Pierce Brosnan to Billy Porter. She also recaps popular TV shows like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules.The New York-based Maryland native graduated from Randolph-Macon College in May 2016 with a focus in Communication Studies and Journalism. She came to PEOPLE in March 2021 after working at a number of major news companies, including Newsweek and Us Weekly. She also previously co-hosted a podcast called "Idol Nation." People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 15, 2022 10:43 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Clayton Echard has made it official with Susie Evans — but they know not everyone will be on board with their relationship. During the Bachelor's After the Final Rose special, Clayton, 28, took the stage and revealed that Susie was now his girlfriend. They had split earlier before reconciling when filming first wrapped in Iceland. "I didn't really think it was gonna happen," Clayton revealed to the audience. "Especially after the way that we ended things. I just held on to hope. But when she gave me that closure, in that moment, I felt that it was the right thing to do. And thankfully, she reached back out and I just wanted one conversation at a time we just rebuilt that we could." For more on The Bachelor finale, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day. Susie was equally as enamored with her boyfriend, telling Clayton on stage that she loved him. "I know I do and if we took some steps back when we left Iceland, which I think as I said was best for both of us. But I mean, I always had love for Clayton," she explained. "I always had that love in my heart and loved him as a person before I ever fell in love with him. But now I can confidently say, yeah, he's incredible. And we all make mistakes, we've both made mistakes on this journey, but we both have so much love for each other." Craig Sjodin/abc Though the pair are happy together, Susie admitted that they don't necessarily expect the same emotions from Bachelor Nation after the dramatic finale. "I think we're both expecting a little backlash. I think everything was really controversial," she said. "We didn't have clear definitions of love, I think, in Iceland. And like I said, we both could have been better in different ways. So yeah, I think people both rooted for us individually, but are people rooting for us together?" Nick Viall Teases Clayton Echard's 'Insane' Bachelor Finale, Calls Past Season's Drama 'Childs Play' Clayton and Susie on The Bachelor. John Fleenor/ABC "I think one thing we both feel is that it's not Team Clayton, it's not Team Susie," she continued. "We're together and we do want people to root for us and know that we both have our best intentions at the forefront of who we are." Host Jesse Palmer also asked Clayton if he felt all the drama was worth it to end up with Susie. His response? "1,000 percent I mean, I couldn't be happier." Watch the full episode of People Features: Clayton Echard & Susie Evans on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app "I spent the last four months with her and she just impresses me more and more every day and continues to give me reason after reason why," Clayton said. "Following my heart was the best decision I could have ever made. And I could not be more in love with this woman." "We have a lot of exciting things coming up," he added of their future together. "I left my job, I sold my condo just to give us a really fair shot and we know that it requires effort like any other relationship. We're gonna a lot of exciting things. So this is serious." Rachel, Gabby and Susie on The Bachelor. Craig Sjodin/ABC Clayton, who previously appeared on Michelle Young's Bachelorette season, initially gave his first impression rose Teddi Wright. But his love for Susie, 28, was very evident as the season progressed. The couple hit a rough patch during fantasy suites week when Susie learned that Clayton was intimate with fellow contestants Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey. Susie said she likely couldn't "get past" him sleeping with the two other ladies, leading Clayton to feel as if she dropped a "bombshell" on him. He also felt as if she should have told him about the "huge dealbreaker" sooner. After Clayton sent Susie home, he confronted Rachel, 26, and Gabby, 31, about everything that went down since he didn't "want that to be a dealbreaker" for them either. He then confessed to falling in love with all three women. But Clayton was still hoping for a chance to make things work with Susie and broke things off with the other two women. Although Susie initially rejected his proposal, she and Clayton eventually chose to make their relationship work. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Craig Sjodin/abc Offscreen, Clayton admitted he "did not handle it well" in his initial conversation with Susie when they first broke things off. "It was not handled maturely," he said on The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast. "I raised my voice to her. I was grasping at straws. I was trying to find anything that I could at that point to get her to stay. Like, I just wanted her to give me a chance. I went through this gauntlet of emotions." At one point, Clayton suspected Susie "was playing [him] the entire time as other women had." "That's why I said, 'I don't know who I'm even looking at anymore,' because in that moment, I really believed at that point that she was just feeding me whatever she needed to to get out of there so she could be the next Bachelorette," he said. "I don't believe that now. I didn't believe it the next day, but I believed it in that moment."