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Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay defends her choice of fiance

Rachel responds to the backlash over the Bachelorette finale. She says the breakup with Peter wasn’t about the proposal.

Rachel Lindsay and fiance Bryan Abasolo make a promotional appearance at the flagship Lord & Taylor store in New York City.

CINDY ORD / GETTY IMAGES

Rachel Lindsay and fiance Bryan Abasolo make a promotional appearance at the flagship Lord & Taylor store in New York City.

Bachelor Nation gives, and Bachelor Nation takes away.

That’s a lesson that Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay learned after her controversial season finale this week.

The Dallas lawyer, a fan favourite since Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor, may have been surprised by the ferocity of the backlash after she accepted a proposal from chiropractor Bryan Abasolo, who was mostly despised by fans, and broke up with business owner Peter Kraus, who was mostly beloved.

Perhaps the producers did too good a job of throwing us off the trail of the winner. Or perhaps the conspiracy theorists are right that Lindsay chose Abasolo to save face when she couldn’t have Kraus.

The only people who know for sure are the new couple and, in a conference call with the media, they were adamant that they are truly in love and had been throughout the season.

“I mean, it’s crazy the chemistry that we have between each other and how compatible we are,” Lindsay said. “And I really wish you could’ve seen more of that; I wish you could’ve seen the essence of Bryan and how . . . our relationship came to be.”

What fans saw was a heart-rending final date between Lindsay and Kraus that was like a cloud over the entire episode. She wanted to leave the show engaged; he said it was too soon to propose, although he offered to pop the question just to keep Lindsay from breaking up with him.

But break up they did with copious tears — Lindsay admitted to crying so hard her false eyelashes fell off — clinging to each other and kissing repeatedly, seemingly unable to let go.

Lindsay says now it wasn’t the refusal to propose that parted her from Kraus, but “deep-rooted issues” that came up earlier in the season.

“I feel like people aren’t watching what I was watching,” Lindsay said. “Peter did say that he would propose at the end. He said that he didn’t want to lose me and he would do that for me, and I still said no. . . . I had already made up my mind when I walked into the room that I was sending him home. So it’s confusing to me why people think that I would settle on such an important decision just to get a ring on my finger.”

But after viewers watched what looked like an agonizing split between two people who had genuinely fallen for each other, many still think that.

Even Eric Bigger, the second runner-up, has said he believes Abasolo was a “rebound” from Kraus.

As for Kraus, he told the media he has no idea what issues between them Lindsay is talking about, calling the comment hurtful.

Rachel Lindsay and Peter Kraus, seen on a date in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. Kraus is a favourite with fans to become the next Bachelor, but he said he’s not thinking about it right now.

ABC/George Burns

Rachel Lindsay and Peter Kraus, seen on a date in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. Kraus is a favourite with fans to become the next Bachelor, but he said he’s not thinking about it right now.

“I don’t think we had any deep-rooted issues. I think we literally were just on two different points of a path at that point, both heading in the same direction but at different rates. . . .

“I felt throughout the entire process that I was the best fit with Rachel. . . . And had I been ready at the end, I don’t think she would’ve gone a different direction.”

Kraus is a favourite with fans to become the next Bachelor, but he said he’s not thinking about it right now.

“This entire process has been really tough on me. And I would just try to stay home with my friends and family, focus on my business . . . and take some time.”

Lindsay seemed to throw cold water on the idea during the finale, telling Kraus, “I just don’t think this world, this process, this journey, this show, I just don’t think it’s for you.”

During the conference call, however, she said she wasn’t necessarily thinking about Kraus as the Bachelor when she made the remarks.

She and Abasolo both said Bigger would be a good Bachelor pick.

“I think he would make a great Bachelor,” said Abasolo. “I think that he has a lot to offer. . . . And I think he could definitely be ready to, you know, take on that challenge and find his true love.”

But Lindsay’s No. 1 pick would be Alex Bordyukov, who was sent home midway through the season and doesn’t have a high profile with fans. “You didn’t get to see enough of him. And he’s funny, he’s quirky, he’s handsome, he’s very, very smart. And he’s a serial monogamist . . . he’s very, like, focused and committed,” she said.

Bordyukov, however, has said he’s not interested. Dean Unglert is another contender, and he’s popular and made Lindsay’s top 4, but it remains to be seen what happens to him on Bachelor in Paradise, where he was reportedly involved in a love triangle.

In the meantime, Bachelor aficionados are waiting to see how Lindsay and Abasolo fare as a couple. They haven’t picked a wedding date yet, haven’t even decided which city to live in, in fact, and the tabloids are already trumpeting stories about trouble in the relationship.

“I learned a long time ago that nobody knows your relationship like you do,” Lindsay said. “People give me credit about being a smart girl and I really was smart about . . . navigating through these relationships. And, you know, Bryan is extremely sincere; he’s definitely the most sincere guy in the house. . . .

“So you have to stay tuned and continue to watch us.”

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