Tino Franco is taking accountability.
One month after Bachelorette fans watched him and Rachel Recchia get engaged, only to break up after he kissed another woman, the season 19 finalist is speaking out about the events leading up to their split, calling the kiss the "biggest mistake of my life."
"I'm definitely not on Team Cheater," he said on the Oct. 20 episode of The Viall Files podcast. "Like, I do not stand by what I did at all. It was not cool. It wasn't fair to Rachel, and it haunts me daily still. It's something I'm ashamed of and certainly wish I could have done it differently like a million times over."
Looking back at life after the proposal, Tino told host Nick Viall that his relationship with Rachel was at an "all-time high," noting that while the long-distance was difficult she made him feel secure. However, Tino admitted that watching the show back and dealing with the public attention took a toll on him, adding that things were "getting a little distant" between them. And while Tino said he wanted to get back to the place he and Rachel were at before, he now wishes he had just given her some "breathing room" and been a more supportive partner.
Of course, there was also that conversation around whether she would still wear her engagement ring, which Rachel and Tino briefly touched on during After the Final Rose. While Tino said the ring conversation "really cut me deep," he also made it clear this didn't justify his actions and that he did what he did because of his insecurities.
"We weren't on a break," he said, clarifying their relationship status at the time. "I don't know where that came from. We were not separated or anything like that. When I acted out, I felt like maybe we were starting to check out and we were just in a really dark place. It's hard to describe because, even looking back on it, it takes me to a place where I really wish I just didn't do that or didn't act out."
Tino explained that the kiss happened during a night out with friends.
"I was feeling a little in the dumps. It was another one of those we were giving each other space things so we hadn't talked in a couple days," he said. "I was getting attention. It sucks for me to have to say this 'cause it's so shameful and I'm so not proud of it. I just kind of gave in. I just leaned in and we kissed. And that wasn't fair to that girl either. That wasn't considerate of her feelings at all. She doesn't want to be wrapped up in any of this. I did it and I realized really quick, ‘I don't know what the future holds for me or Rachel, but I know this is not who I am and this is not what I should be doing.'"
Tino admitted he didn't tell Rachel right away. However, he later confessed to her that he messed up. Of course, Bachelor Nation saw how things ended.
Today, Tino is continuing to unpack the situation in therapy. So how does he feel about Rachel now? While he said he "really, really loved" her, he noted, given everything that happened, their journey together is still over.
"I really appreciate the hell out of her," he said, "but I think it's just time to move on."