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The Bachelor stars Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announce break up

Finale: The Bachelor's Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announced their breakup on Friday

The Bachelor stars Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announce their breakup: “This was a painful decision and it was not made lightly”

The Bachelor’s Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announced their breakup on Friday.

Echard, 29, and Evans, 29, got together over the course of The Bachelor’s 26th season, but the couple released a joint statement announcing their relationship had come to an end.

“With incredibly heavy hearts, we wanted to share that we have decided to go our separate ways,” the couple wrote. “For anyone who has ever loved knows that this was a painful decision and not one that was made lightly.”

Finale: The Bachelor's Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announced their breakup on Friday

Finale: The Bachelor’s Clayton Echard and Susie Evans announced their breakup on Friday

Echard and Evans then said they knew there would be a number of questions about the breakup and alluded to outside factors interfering with their romance.

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“But we will share this: While this past year together has brought us so much joy and laughter, there has also been a significant amount of pain,” they wrote. “We know that no healthy relationship comes without its struggles, but we have come to realize that we were not prepared for the outside forces that hindered our ability to not only heal as individuals but also as a couple. We are both focused on continuing to work on ourselves, so that we can be the best version of ourselves.’

They continued: ‘This is not an easy time for either of us, but we support each other and look forward to seeing the other find happiness and healing. Although Claysie is no more, we hope that our communities can support us individually as we move forward with love and mutual respect.

‘Thank you to everyone who supported our relationship. It means so much more than you will ever know. ❤️’

External issues: Echard and Evans later said they knew there would be a number of questions about the breakup, but alluded to external factors interfering with their romance (pictured March 2022)

External issues: Echard and Evans later said they knew there would be a number of questions about the breakup, but alluded to external factors interfering with their romance (pictured March 2022)

The news came about a month after the two announced they were moving to separate states. Echard moved to Arizona while Evans headed to Los Angeles.

The couple had a tumultuous relationship before the show ended. Echard sent Evans home after she said she didn’t want him to have sex with any of the other contestants during fantasy suite week.

Echard then revealed that he had previously been intimate with Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia.

“You just threw a bomb at me, and I don’t agree with the way you did it at all,” he told her at the time, according to People. ‘I think it’s BS… I’m sorry I raised my voice. It’s because I cared a lot, I really loved you. … Anything you say to me right now doesn’t matter to me anymore, so I’ll accompany you.

Too late: Echard later revealed that he had already been intimate with Gabby Windey (right) and Rachel Recchia (left)

Too late: Echard later revealed that he had already been intimate with Gabby Windey (right) and Rachel Recchia (left)

Susie returned during the second part of the finale after Echard broke up with Gabby and Rachel.

Ultimately, however, she did not accept the final rose from him, and decided to leave the solo show.

The couple revealed in March that they got together after the show ended.

Season 27 of The Bachelor is currently in the works and will star Zach Shallcross as the titular man looking for love.

Post-show romance: The couple revealed in March that they got together after the show ended.

Post-show romance: The couple revealed in March that they got together after the show ended.

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