“I did [feel blindsided]. I definitely could reflect on where my feelings were at in that moment, and they were feeling off. But I wasn’t thinking that that was gonna be something that overtook our relationship,” the 26-year-old contestant exclusively told Us Weekly at the recent Women Tell All taping. “We had one hard week, but we also had five good weeks. So I thought that was going to be something to show my family that like, ‘Yeah, sometimes we’re not perfect. Sometimes we struggle. But he’s wanting to love them through that.’ I was hoping that was going to be him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. But it’s OK.”
Kat admitted that she thought Zach, 26, was The One during the season.
“I think that he showed me characteristics that I would definitely pursue even outside of here, like, his goofiness and his presence was something I like really was so drawn to,” she explained. “And even up until the point that we left, I was like, ‘What? You’re supposed to be my husband.’ But it’s OK! I mean, I never didn’t feel those feelings. Even when I was wanting to give up because it was hard, I was like, ‘Nope, this is my person at the end of this.’ I would never give up on it.”
The nurse isn’t the only one who thought Kat was going to make it to the end of Zach’s journey.
“If I’m being honest, there was a time that I thought Kat was The One,” Jesse Palmer told Us. “Having talked to Zach on camera [and] talked to Zach off camera, I really thought it was Kat at the end. And so I knew how difficult these decisions were becoming for him, and I knew how hard he was taking the goodbyes, obviously. I knew that was going to be a really tough one.”
Fans watched the host comfort Zach during Monday’s episode.
“I’m with the producers watching the goodbye at the castle in Budapest, and I just saw his face when he was standing out in front of the castle and I thought, ‘Man, I just gotta go out there and give a guy a hug.’ He needs someone just to kind of be there with him for this moment,” Jesse recalled. “He’s always been so great about allowing me to kind of share that space with him just a little bit to try to help. But, you know, I know I wasn’t the only person surprised at Kat going home at that point. And I know that was one of the toughest decisions that Zach has had on his entire experience.”
Zach, for his part, told Us that he had a “strong relationship” with Kat “very early on,” but he had stronger feelings for Charity Lawson, Ariel Frenkel, Gabi Elnicki and Kaity Biggar.
“It never, like, fell off by any means. Nothing ever happened that was wrong, but the other relationships that were growing were just being stronger and stronger and I couldn’t deny those,” he told Us. “[But] you can kind of see I don’t take the goodbyes well ‘cause the feelings just don’t evaporate once you make that decision.”
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The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. Scroll through for more on Kat’s exit: