Bachelor Nation
Samantha Jeffries and Clayton Echard on 'The Bachelor'

Wait, There Was A Third Bachelor Self-Elimination On Night 1 That No One Saw

Samantha Jeffries spilled the tea about her secret exit on Instagram.

ABC/John Fleenor

The first night of Clayton Echard’s season of The Bachelor was pretty chaotic, especially because the tables got turned on the lead in a major way. Usually, the Bachelor is the one deciding who he wants to stick around during Night 1, but this time, the premiere episode featured two women rejecting Clayton before the first rose ceremony. And it turns out, that’s not even the whole story: There was actually a *third* rejection that happened offscreen during Clayton’s first night. After the premiere aired, contestant Samantha Jeffries took to Instagram to explain why she straight-up disappeared from The Bachelor’s first episode.

Samantha made a memorable entrance at the beginning of Clayton’s Bachelor premiere when she popped out of a portable bubble bath wearing a bikini and asked Clayton, “Want some of this bubbly personality?” But after that, she vanished from the rest of the episode — and, it turns out, the rest of the season.

With so many women to keep track of on the first night, many fans may not have initially noticed this, but Samantha didn’t appear in any of the scenes following the limo entrances, nor was she at the rose ceremony. It was all a big mystery until Jan. 4, the day after the episode’s premiere, when she posted an Instagram explaining her short time on the show.

“Clayton and I privately talked night one,” Samantha wrote. “He was attentive, charming, and kind. However, a romantic connection is important in a relationship. And I’ve made it a point in my life to not force anything I’m not feeling. As much as I wanted to stay, it would not have been fair to try to take his heart, as well as take the opportunity away from a woman who was all in.”

Clayton and Samantha’s conversation wasn’t shown on camera, but based on this caption, it seems like she just wasn’t feeling a connection with him. However, some of her other posts indicate she was unhappy with her ~bubbly~ entrance on the show. In a Dec. 24 Instagram depicting her bikini-bath entrance, Samantha wrote, “This wasn’t my first (or 15th) idea.” Plus, in an Instagram story, she showed followers the dress she actually wanted to wear instead of the bikini she ended up wearing.

Clayton himself still feels a little in the dark about her exit. “I don't really fully know kind of what happened,” he told ET on Jan. 4. “As far as the reason, your guess is as good as mine. She went home, yes... I don't know [why], I'm not sure really what happened on that one."

What’s also a mystery is why Samantha’s exit wasn’t shown onscreen. It’s possible that after Salley Carson and Claire Heilig both self-eliminated during the Season 26 premiere, producers wanted to give Clayton a little break. I mean, three self-eliminations in one night is pretty rough.

Clayton seems to be handling the situation well enough, though. He told ET, “You start to play this game of like, why did they leave? What was it? Is it the way I presented myself? Are they just not physically attracted to me? But whatever the case, you just have to go back to, they are not interested for whatever reason, or they are not in the right headspace, so just move on, don't think about it too much. It will eat you up if you do."

Season 26 of The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.