by Tierney Bricker | Thu., Feb. 22, 2018 8:00 PM
It's safe to say no one saw this coming...not even the engaged couple themselves.
Congratulations are in order for Clare Crawley and Benoit Beauséjour-Savard as the couple got engaged at the end of The Bachelor: Winter Games' World Tells All special following the ABC spinoff's finale on Thursday night, revealing they had secretly started dating off-camera after leaving the show. The viewers were truly shocked as the last time they saw the pair together, a devastated Benoit was leaving Winter Games after Clare let him know she wasn't feeling a romantic connection.
But after Benoit reached out to Clare when he heard she left and many FaceTime sessions, the pair fell in love, leading to his surprise proposal, presenting Clare with a custom Neil Lane engagement ring.
"It really came out of nowhere," Benoit, who appeared on The Bachelorette Canada, told E! News after the big moment, before going onto explain, "Actually, we kind of knew there was something more after the show, maybe this old journey wasn't made for the two of us to make it work. But in the end, we're not dying, we're not disappearing after the show ends, so we talked and talked for hours and it's just been better and better from there. I just think she's the most amazing girl I've ever met!"
Winter Games served as Clare's fourth appearance in the franchise, following making it to the final two of Juan Pablo Galavis' season of The Bachelor and two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise. Longtime fans were rooting for Clare, 36, to find love, but were still surprised that she and Benoit, 31, ended up together after she rejected him on Winter Games to pursue a possible romance with Christian Rauch.
"What was hard for me in the beginning was it was a lot real fast for me real soon with him," Clare explained, "And I didn't go in there wanting that real fast, real soon. And it scared me. I noticed something was different when I kept thinking about it and I even told him before he left, 'For some reason I feel like it's not the end of this.' I don't know why I said it, but I felt it. Since that, there's been a lot of challenges and questions and things that have come up to learn about each other, but the end all be all is that he doesn't give up on me."
To hear more from the happy couple, including how nervous Benoit was leading up to the big proposal, keeping their romance a secret and the possibility of a TV wedding, press play on the video above.
Just as surprised as the viewers by Clare and Benoit's off-screen romance? The rest of the Winter Games cast, who had no idea the pair began dating after they left the show.
In fact, former New Zealand Bachelor Jordan Mauger even watched the episode that featured their break-up with the two of them and had no idea. "Clare actually left the room, and we were like, 'Oh, it's really awkward for her,' and Benoit, he was really quiet," he said. "And we all thought, oh, there's some grief there. But they were tricking! Those little buggers!"
But there are no hard feelings, as Jordan said, "I want to be their child! Can they adopt me?"
And though Ashley Iaconetti is usually in the know when it comes to Bachelor Nation, she had no idea about this romance, telling us, "It is crazy that this was kept so secret!" But her Canadian beau (and fellow Winter Games champ!) Kevin Wendt, who appeared on The Bachelorette Canada with Benoit actually knew they were in contact. Still, he had no idea how serious it was.
"He messaged me like two weeks ago, saying, 'I'm really excited to come out, you'll see,' and stuff," Kevin said. "I thought it was excited to part with us. I didn't know he was coming out to get a wife!"
To hear more from the Winter Games cast about Clare and Benoit's engagement, watch our interviews with them in the video above.
Were you surprised by Clare and Benoit's secret romance and proposal? Sound off in the comments!
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