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The Bachelorette Australia

EXCLUSIVE: The real reason Carissa Croft left The Bachelorette, and it had nothing to do with the intruders

''It just didn't feel right.''

By Maddison Leach
On Wednesday night's episode of The Bachelorette, Carissa Croft did something we rarely see on reality TV dating shows.
The 30-year-old sat Brooke Blurton down to explain honestly that she couldn't see herself falling in love while fighting so many other people for Brooke's attention and decided to leave the mansion.
It was a difficult conversation that left the other contestants shocked and Brooke in tears, but Carissa tells TV WEEK it was the right move for her and everyone else in the mansion.
Carissa says leaving the show was the right move for her and everyone else in the mansion. (Ten)
"I wanted Brooke to have the best shot at finding love," she says.
"And if I couldn't give her what she deserves, then I felt like I should take a step back and leave that spot to someone else who I thought really could step up and make a connection with Brooke.
"I just felt like it so important to be open and honest with her and tell her how I was feeling… I'm actually like really proud of myself for having the courage to have that difficult conversation with her."
However, it certainly wasn't easy for Carissa to walk away from Brooke.
She tells us how strong the connection was when they first met on the red carpet, but she never anticipated how hard it would actually be to get one-on-one time with Brooke to build on that spark.
The psychologist also didn't expect to find it so difficult to form a connection with someone who was dating more than 10 other men and women.
"It's just a such a wild journey… I knew that we'd all be dating the same person, but I didn't really anticipate how hard it would be," Carissa admits.
Adding that no contestant can truly prepare themselves for what it's really like on the show, Carissa says it was the friendships she formed during filming that really cemented her decision to leave.
"Brooke already had developed romantic connections with some of these people that I felt a close friendship with," she explains.
"So, it just didn't feel right [to keep dating Brooke]. It almost was like pursuing like one of your friend's girlfriends."
Some fans speculated, based on the parts of Carissa's conversation with Brooke that aired, that the 30-year-old left the mansion due to jealousy over the intruders.
But Carissa says that couldn't be further from the truth.
Instead, she wanted to make sure that the people she cared about who really did have a romantic connection with Brooke got to explore that further.
It's a rare move for a reality TV contestant to take themselves out of the game purely to help their competition get a step closer to the finish line.
But it was refreshing to see Carissa be so honest with Brooke, and with herself, and she's happy to have left the show with so many close friendships.
Especially with Bec, who was eliminated the night before Carissa left.
"We message every day, multiple times a day. I'm super grateful for the friendships that have formed," she laughs, before praising 10 for casting such a great group of people.

"They actually cast really well. The people that I met during filming were just so genuine and were actually there for Brooke."
When asked if there were any behind-the-scenes flings, given the rumours about a cheating scandal, Carissa tells us that nothing happened while she was in the mansion.
"It was almost like we instantly just all friend-zoned each other," she says of the other contestants.
"I don't know what's going to happen after the show, who knows. But when we were in the mansion, we were very much there for Brooke."
As for her own dating life, Carissa says she's not necessarily looking for love right now and doesn't feel like she has to pursue romance to live a full life.
Carissa says she's not necessarily looking for love after the show. (Ten)
"I honestly just trust that by me staying true to myself and following my own life journey, I'll meet that person in the time is right," she says.
In the meantime, she's just proud to have been involved in such a groundbreaking season of The Bachelorette and hopes it can end some of the "shame" many LGBTQIA+ people experience.
"Having a show like this on TV really sends a message that it's okay to be you. Which is just so powerful," she adds.
She's glad to see young queer people embracing their identities more confidently these days and is eager to see even more representation on national TV in the future.
Carissa would even be willing to come back to the Bachelor franchise if they did a LGBTQIA+ inclusive season of Bachelor In Paradise in the future, so her reality TV career may not be over just yet!

For more on Brooke’s groundbreaking season of The Bachelorette, check out these stories

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