In the pantheon of Bad Responses to “I Love You,” Matt Ranaudo‘s is definitely in the top tier. After Rudi Gutierrez confessed that she was falling for him on Monday’s “The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart,” Matt replied with, “You’re very courageous for speaking your truth, and I appreciate you doing that, so…” before trailing off. Awk. Ward. And he knows it.
“That’s the worst thing. I literally could have said anything else that it would’ve been better,” Matt told “Access Hollywood” with a laugh in a joint interview with Rudi (watch above).
“I hate you for that forever,” Rudi joked. “I hate you.”
“I hate myself for that!” he replied. “I could’ve said anything. I’m the worst. I’m sorry. Rudi, I’m so sorry.”
As Matt explains, it wasn’t that he didn’t feel the same way or didn’t like her, but he is usually guarded and “kind of keep to myself,” and was taken aback by the highly pressurized emotional pace of the show. Reminder: This is the dude who had never seen “The Bachelor” and thought Chris Harrison was Chris Hansen.
“Everything happened so fast and watching it back, it might seem like this long period of time, but everything was so fast and having to learn the music and having to be poised and be present, it was just a lot all happening at once,” he said. “So yeah, it was a great night and everything we did that night really helped me be more comfortable with the whole thing, but it was still a very short amount of time for me to like really just kind of let all my guards down.”
Knowing that Matt has a hard time opening up, Rudi was not expecting a complete reciprocation, but she also wasn’t expecting that either. Her declaration was a result of trying to find a new way to tell him her escalating feelings.
“When I told him that, I meant it. I was, in a sense, falling for him,” she explained. “I don’t know if I was falling in love with him, but I was kind of saying that just in the sense of like, I mean, how many more times can you say ‘I like you’ to a person over and over without sounding ridiculous? So I was like, ‘What can I say that’s not ‘I love you’ but not ‘I like you’? I’m just going in the middle, so that’s what I did. And I don’t regret it, and it is how I felt.”
Matt does regret how he responded. “I wish I could’ve gone back and been there to redo that, just because what I say is I’m just spewing something out of my mouth because I didn’t know what to say,” he said. To be fair, he did warn us in the premiere that things just come out of his mouth sometimes.
If he had a do-over, the singer would’ve been up-front about his feelings and reservations. “I wish I said … ‘I don’t know what to say because I’m just like not understanding how I’m feeling because of everything that’s going on’. And I wished I’d said that instead of whatever the hell I did,” he shared. “I would say that I care about her so much and I’m looking forward to exploring our relationship more, and I might not be exactly where she was at at that moment, but I’m willing to figure it out. Whatever I said — the courageous, whatever speech I said — that’s the worst thing I’ve ever said in my whole life! And of course it’s caught on camera, so that’s great.”
Despite that speed bump, Rudi and Matt recovered for a killer performance of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper‘s “Shallow,” easily securing a spot in the final three, but as seen in the preview, the drama might not be over yet for them. “Next week, you’re in for an emotional journey for sure,” Matt teased. “I would say it get the most emotional it’s gonna get.”