Entertainment TV Clayton Echard and Susie Evans' Relationship Timeline Clayton Echard and Susie Evans met on The Bachelor and rekindled their relationship off-screen before calling it quits in September 2022 By Hannah Kerns Hannah Kerns Contributor, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Updated on December 12, 2022 10:32 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Clayton Echard and Susie Evans' Bachelor romance was a whirlwind. When the former NFL player was announced as the next Bachelor in September 2021, Echard was met with criticism — ABC even marketed him as the "underdog." Throughout his season, that criticism only grew, especially when it came to the way he treated his final three women: Evans, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey. After saying he was in love with all three women and being intimate with Recchia and Windey, Echard had a hard time choosing a winner — especially when Evans, his frontrunner, said she couldn't see herself moving forward with him. What followed was a messy, indecisive series of events. Echard angrily sent Evans home and disclosed what happened to Recchia and Windey before asking them to stay. Shortly after, however, he realized he only wanted to be with Evans, and broke up with Recchia and Windey before apologizing to Evans. During the final episode, Echard was left standing alone when Evans refused to get back together with him. Craig Sjodin via Getty Suffice to say, the former football star was not the most popular Bachelor, and it seemed that he truly would end the show as a single man. However, at After The Final Rose, Echard and Evans announced they were in a relationship, explaining that the two had reunited after the show and been together for four months. "We needed to take a step back, and when we restarted our relationship, we set down a new foundation," Evans explained to PEOPLE in March 2022. Echard added, "We're team Claysie now." After taking their relationship off-screen, the couple shared plenty of sweet moments and milestones, including moving in together. However, in September 2022, Echard and Evans decided to go their separate ways. News of their breakup came six months after Echard's finale aired. From meeting on The Bachelor, a rocky season finale and their eventual split, here's a complete timeline of Clayton Echard and Susie Evans' relationship. September 2021: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans meet on The Bachelor John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Filming for Echard's season of The Bachelor started in September 2021. Echard met Evans night one, and her vibrating buzzer handshake helped her stand out. Although Evans didn't win Echard's first impression rose (that went to contestant Teddi Wright), their connection was clear. In January 2022, Echard opened up about that memorable meeting to Us Weekly's Here For The Right Reasons podcast. "Susie was very fun coming out of the limo. I like somebody that has a sense of humor," he explained. "'Cause you kinda think, like, coming out that limo, cameras are all around you and you can still maintain that poise, that confidence — that says a lot about somebody. I was very impressed by her." Evans quickly became a frontrunner on the season when she was asked on the first one-on-one date. November 2021: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans break up During the pair's fantasy suite date in Iceland, Echard and Evans broke up after Evans found out that he had been intimate with Recchia and Windey and expressed feelings of love for both of them. Evans and Echard's tense fight led to a lot of online backlash, especially for the Bachelor. "I just thought he would have been better at getting through that conversation kindly," Evans said at the time. November 2021: Clayton Echard breaks up with Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia Craig Sjodin via Getty After sending Evans home and deciding to continue with the process, Echard realized that he wanted to pursue a relationship with Evans only — not the remaining contestants, Windey and Recchia. He broke up with both women at the same time, leading to more criticism from fans. November 2021: Clayton Echard asks Susie Evans to give him another chance Following Echard's breakups with Windey and Recchia, he sent Evans a letter asking her to meet him before leaving Iceland. She agreed, and Echard took the opportunity to apologize for their argument and explain his feelings. "I know that I can't take back what I've done, and I take full accountability for it," he said. "It's just you and me here 'cause I don't want anything else … I'm so fully committed [to], like, showing you how much I love you." Although Evans appreciated Echard's apology and said she still had "love in [her] heart for [him]," the wedding videographer wasn't ready to move forward. "I felt bad about what I did and it was humiliating, if I'm being honest," she told Echart. "I felt like a stray dog that had come into your home and you were shooing me out." She added, "I don't think that I'm your person ... It's over." November 2021: Susie Evans messages Clayton Echard on Instagram Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Following the pair's tense breakups in Iceland, Evans decided to reach out to Echard, and slid into his DMs. "I got my phone back, called my parents, DMed Clayton. I was in the Newark airport," she explained during an episode of The Viall Files podcast in March 2022. "I was like, 'Are you OK? I will respect your boundaries whatever they are but if you want to have one more candid conversation, here's my phone number, give me a call.' " The pair talked on the phone that night and continued communicating daily for weeks before meeting up again. Echard explained that he was more than ready to reconnect. He told PEOPLE in March 2022, "I never took a step back. I was still very much in love with Susie and when the door opened back up, I was fully back in." March 8, 2022: Clayton Echard says he regrets how he treated Susie Evans on the show When Echard sent Evans home on The Bachelor, fans were not on his side, accusing him of being too harsh with her. Echard addressed their concerns during an episode of The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast. "I did not handle it well. I didn't. I mean, it was not handled maturely," the former quarterback said. "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." March 14, 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announce their romance on After The Final Rose Craig Sjodin via Getty When Echard and Evans went their separate ways in Iceland, it didn't seem like there was any hope of a reunion. However, during After The Final Rose, the couple revealed that they made amends and were officially in a relationship. "We took time apart after the show, and we reset, and we relaid foundation, and we're really happy," Evans told Bachelor host Jesse Palmer. The couple might not have ended the show with an engagement, but Echard did offer Evans his final rose, and she accepted. March 15, 2022: Clayton Echards and Susie Evans open up to PEOPLE about their relationship Koury Angelo Reflecting on his tumultuous season of The Bachelor, Echard was happy — even if he had some regrets. "I look back and wish I had done some things differently," he told PEOPLE. "In a weird, twisted way it did work out because I ended up with Susie. And I'm happier than I've ever been." Following the show, Evans and Echard knew their romance wouldn't be the most popular. "I think we're both expecting a little backlash. I think everything was really controversial," Evans told PEOPLE. "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?" Evans also revealed that before going out to meet Echard, she reached out to Windey for her perspective. "I reached out to her and I was like, 'Hey, like I'm considering meeting up with Clayton, but I don't want to make a bad decision and I want your honest opinion,' " she told PEOPLE. "I was like, 'Do you think that he can redeem this?' And we had just a really honest conversation." Apparently, Windey "fully supported" the idea. Evans added, "She even said, 'I don't think Clayton's a bad guy. I don't think he had malicious intent at all.' " March 16, 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announce they're moving in together Clayton Echard Instagram After the show, Echard was living in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Evans was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Though they made long-distance work for a while, once their romance was public, the two were ready to make a change, and Echard decided to move to Virginia Beach. "We do have future plans. We just haven't talked about an engagement or a wedding or anything like that, but Clayton's coming to Virginia," Evans told PEOPLE. "I think what's so important is for us to live together and start to live that life alongside each other," Echard said, adding that they want to "move in with each other right away." He explained, "That's the one thing, stepping away from my job, is now I have no roots, so I can plant them wherever I need to." March 17, 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans spoof their first post-show conversation When Evans and Echard ended up together after such a tumultuous season, fans were surprised. Considering the pair's last heated on-air argument, many wondered how the reality stars' first conversation would fare after reuniting. Evans addressed the questions with a funny post on TikTok captioned, "For everyone asking what our first postshow conversation was like …" In the video clip, the Virginia native and Echard acted out a scene from Step Brothers, making it clear that their first conversation was a little confrontational. Evans lipsynced, "F---- you, Brennan. I know you touched my drumset, and I wanna hear that dirty little mouth admit it." Echard replied, "Get out of my face or I'm gonna roundhouse your a--." March 18, 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans give fans a peek at their post-show romance Clayton Echard Instagram For months, Echard and Evans' reunion was under wraps to avoid spoiling the show. After going public with their romance at the finale, the duo shared some highlights on TikTok of their time together. Evans' chosen audio says, "I think we've all lost sight of what's really important here. We're in love." Then, a minute-long video of the couple's time together post-show plays, including plenty of dates and dance routines. Echard shared the same TikTok to his profile with the caption: "So about those last 4 months." April 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans go a cross-country road trip Susie Evans Instagram Echard and Evans shared their plans for a cross-country road trip with PEOPLE in March. "We're going to take a road trip across the country. It's gonna be a lot of fun," Echard said. Their journey started in April, and included stops in Moab, Utah; Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre in Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; and Charlotte, North Carolina. April 9, 2022: Clayton Echard addresses rumors he cheated on Susie Evans Rumors surfaced on TikTok in April, claiming that Echard had cheated on Evans. In a since-deleted video, a New York City influencer said she "just ended the Bachelor's marriage" but she "had no idea." (The TikTok user did not name Echard or Evans, but later clarified that she was speaking about the couple.) Echard was quick to debunk the "ridiculous" rumor, explaining that he was in Arizona while this influencer was in New York. "Trying to gain clout by ruining a relationship is embarrassing and extremely immature," he said. April 14, 2022: Susie Evans says she and Clayton Echard are "invested" in their relationship despite challenges Susie Evans Instagram During an episode of the Talking It Out podcast, Evans also commented on the cheating rumors — and how the challenging time actually brought the couple closer together. "Today has been our first full day together since everything and we've just been in a car. We've had probably the deepest, some of the most meaningful conversations that we've ever had — and we've had a lot of conversations. Like today, we really touched new levels of the relationship and just really worked at communication," she explained. "I think the biggest thing we both learned was every time we ever had an issue or insecurity or struggle in our relationship, it's been from an external factor. It's never been about our relationship. It's always been meddling of some sort, you know," Evans continued. "I mean, we both are invested in making this work and giving the other person what that person needs to feel secure." April 16, 2022: Clayton Echard takes Susie Evans to his hometown During Echard and Evans' road trip, they stopped in Echard's hometown of Eureka, Missouri. "Had to take Suz back to the hometown," Echard said of the sweet moment on his Instagram Story. The couple also visited Echard's high school. "On the football field, back where it all started, baby! Woo! Ol' Eureka Wildcats! Never gets old, never gets old," he said. April 27, 2022: Clayton Echard discusses his Bachelor journey: "I've learned my lesson" Echard opened up about the emotional side of his journey as the Bachelor in a vulnerable Instagram post on April 27. "Suse took this picture of me 1 day before After the Final Rose. In this moment, I was at rock bottom. I knew what was coming and realized my reality was much further from what I had ever expected," he captioned the post. "As I looked out the window, I questioned who I was? What had I become? Where did everything go wrong? Why me?. Echard continued, "I feel that I finally have learned my lesson. I hurt people. Sure, I didn't have any intention of doing so and 'did what I thought was best by following my heart,' but I still hurt people… [T]hrough therapy and other means of self-reflection, I have been able to finally see the reality of what all I had done." Though Echard seemed to take his mistakes seriously, he also wanted to give himself "grace." He continued, "We can all be better than we were the day before. So that's what I'll continue to strive to do." June 3, 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans joke they "barely knew" each other before moving in Susie Evans Instagram Echard and Evans moved in together quickly after making their relationship public. Although it worked out for them, Evans poked fun at their whirlwind start on TikTok. "Moving in together and realizing we barely know each other," Evans wrote over the video, as the couple stared down the camera. "Finding out we're equally as weird," Susie wrote in the second scene of the TikTok as they danced together. June 4, 2022: Susie Evans defends Clayton Echard Evans has made it clear that she doesn't want to hear any hate about Echard or the pair's relationship. On June 4, 2022, she shared a TikTok showing a screenshot of one user's comment: "he was truly the worst bachelor. worse [than] Juan Pablo." Evans' mom had responded to the critic, "You and your 45 followers!" Evans summed the situation up, "You guys better be nice to my boyfriend because I just looked in my comments, and my mom is out here trolling y'all." June 23, 2022: Susie Evans jokes about her Bachelor one-on-one date Susie Evans Instagram Evans poked fun at her time on The Bachelor in a TikTok. She wrote, "Trying to convince Clayton to send me home on our one on one date and then he hands me a rose …" In the video, she lipsynced an audio from Pride and Prejudice, quoting, "I'm 27 years old. I've no money and no prospects. I'm already a burden to my parents, and I'm frightened." July 12, 2022: Susie Evans calls out Bachelorette suitors for dragging Clayton Echard Evans playfully defended Echard in a TikTok after the new season of The Bachelorette premiered on July 11, 2022. In the first episode of season 19 — which features Echard's exes Windey and Recchia as the first ever Bachelorette duo — several suitors mentioned Echard during their limo introductions. "Keep my wife's name out your —" Evans lip-synced as she posed with screenshots from the suitors that jabbed at Echard. She wrote, "No hard feelings… I just had to sieze the moment #thebachelorette." Evans and Echard shared another TikTok responding to one limo entrance in particular that featured a choir singing "Clayton sucks" repeatedly. The couple posted their own rendition of the moment, wearing matching white robes, head towel wraps and sunglasses with champagne in hand while they lip-synced the audio of "Clayton sucks." August 16, 2022: Clayton Echard says he and Susie Evans are trying long distance During an appearance on Dear Media's Not Skinny but Not Fat podcast, Echard announced that he and Evans are no longer cohabitating and will be making their relationship long distance. The former Bachelor shared that they are both moving out of their Virginia Beach, Virginia home, with Evans going to Los Angeles and Echard heading to Scottsdale, Arizona. While the pair is planning on giving long distance a go, Echard also explained that he wasn't certain where the relationship is headed. "We're like, 'We don't know if it's going to be a month-long [relationship] from here or if it's gonna be lifetime but, like, there's no pressure. Let's just love each other and be thankful,' " he said. "We're very, very happy right now and in a really great spot, but yeah, we went through it — together, though," Echard added. "Thankfully, she's been on my side and that's the only reason why I can sit here with so much positivity is because of her." Echard said they'll be "only a 50-minute flight apart" and are both focused on chasing their individual dreams, though he assured fans this isn't a sign that they're splitting up. "People might look at us like, 'Oh, they're separating,'" he said, adding, "a little distance never hurts." September 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans break up Echard and Evans announced their split in a joint Instagram statement on Sept. 23, 2022. "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," they wrote. "We understand that there will likely be a lot of questions about this decision — social media is definitely a highlight reel and much of our experiences together we have kept private as I'm sure most can understand. 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 continued. "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." Echard and Evans said they are "focused on continuing to work on ourselves, so we can be the best version of ourselves" going forward, and though it's "not an easy time" for either of them, they're continuing to support each other. "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," they added. "Thank you to all of you that supported our relationship. It means so much more than you will ever know." September 30, 2022: Susie Evans uses self-care rituals to cope with split from Clayton Echard Evans is focusing on herself post-breakup. The Bachelor alum shared a TikTok video of herself wearing a face mask, while journaling and reading a self-help book titled Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. "Me to every self-care ritual I've picked up this week," Evans wrote on the video. "You better fix my entire life, you little s---." She added, "But really." In another TikTok video, Evans hinted that she's tired of answering questions about her former relationship. "No more questions, I'm a little mad, and I'm tired," she lip-synced to one of the app's sounds. Evans captioned the video "How I'm handling this week." October 4, 2022: Clayton Echard and Susie Evans discuss their breakup on Kaitlyn Bristowe's podcast Evans and Echard were guests on Bachelor Nation alum Kaitlyn Bristowe's podcast, Off the Vine. During the appearance, the exes got very candid about the days following their split. "It's really hard because when we first broke up…my first initial feeling was, like, I felt abandoned; that was my first feeling," Echard said. "I was upset. I didn't even want to look in her direction because I was like: If I look at you, the hurt is gonna tear me apart." He later admitted to staying in touch with Evans — and hinted at a possible reconciliation. "Can Susie and I find a way to still keep in contact but not hold onto this feeling of: Can this work? Because what happens if it doesn't?" he said. "I don't want to be crushed and hold onto hope. And then all of a sudden, no this isn't going to work … then it just destroys you a second time." November 21, 2022: Susie Evans calls former relationship with Clayton Echard "emotionally taxing" In a post on her blog, Evans reflected on her relationship with Echard. She called their time together "emotionally taxing" and "not good for the soul." She added, "The people around me could see that my sparkle had dulled and I was far from thriving." The wedding videographer went on to say that she's rooting for her ex, despite their turbulent past. "I think ultimately we are both on our way to finding happiness within ourselves and our passions," she shared. "I know for a fact that we both are rooting each other on from afar. Just because something wasn't forever, it doesn't mean it wasn't wonderful." December 8, 2022: Susie Evans says she "respected" Clayton Echard for giving her the space she needed Following their breakup, the exes decided to cut off all communication. "I really respected that [space]," Evans told PEOPLE. "And then, like about a month ago, he reached out [with a] beautiful message thanking me for how wonderful the relationship was for him, how good of a place he's in now. And so it was really nice." Evans added that she and Echard are attempting to be "friends" and that she's enjoyed "catching up" with The Bachelor alum.