"I'm tired of wasting my breath on men who don't deserve it."
Clare Crawley really wasn't kidding when she said that on The Bachelor Winter Games in 2018. After kicking off her quarantined season of The Bachelorette in July, Clare is set to be replaced by Bachelor in Paradise alum Tayshia Adams, multiple sources told E! News. Why? Because the 39-year-old found the man worthy of her breath.
"The producers have told [Tayshia] that the season will still lead with Clare and her short-lived journey, and will show Clare falling in love with one of her suitors," an insider revealed to us. "Clare will then conclude her journey and announce that Tayshia is the lead."
A lead leaving the show midseason? Unprecedented for the longrunning ABC reality hit. But Clare doing things her own way? Nothing new when you look at her journey in the franchise since her debut on The Bachelor's 18th season back in 2014.
The youngest of six sisters, the hairstylist from Sacramento became one of the most-talked about contestants during Juan Pablo Galavis' season after the pair's midnight swim in the ocean became the biggest controversy of the season.
The following day, Juan Pablo told a "blindsided" Clare that it was "a mistake" and that it wouldn't be "nice" for his then-four-year-old daughter to see. Yikes.
Still, Clare stayed.
Then during the finale, a source revealed the shocking conversation that went down between Juan Pablo and Clare during a helicopter ride that their mics didn't pick up.
Apparently, Clare told her leading man at the time, "just tell me you love me," and he responded with, "I loved f--king you."
In her final one-on-one interview confessional on the show, Clare explained how hurt she was by his comment.
"I'm shocked," Clare said. "He chose to tell me something that no woman wants to hear. That he doesn't know me and some sexual thing I don't want to repeat. It was insulting and it was offensive."
Still, Clare stayed and Juan Pablo chose to be with Nikki Ferrell in the end. And that's when Clare finally had enough, refusing to waste any more tears or pleasantries on the polarizing Bachelor.
"I saved this moment for the man of my dreams, I thought that was you, I thought I knew what kind of man you were," she said, before doling out this doozy: "I would never want my children having a father like you."
Consider the rose dropped.
While most viewers were cheering Clare on as she stood up for herself and told Juan Pablo off for his behavior, she later admitted that it was anything but empowering for her in the moment. But it was the beginning of her journey toward becoming the woman she is now.
"I was weak. I didn't know who I was. I just wasn't self-aware, I guess," she said on the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast in June. "And now coming from there and doing all the work...all in my 30s, I'm an empowered woman now and I'm a strong woman. And even more than being a strong woman, because I'm not always strong, there's many a time when I am always weak, but more than anything I would say I'm a courageous woman now. And even when I am weak I still have the courage within myself to do hard things and that is something that I'm proud of now."
Most of the work Clare was doing happened off-screen, though Bachelor Nation fans would see her return three more times.
She would sign on for two season of Bachelor in Paradise, including its inaugural season in which she quit in epic fashion. "This is why I wanted to do Dancing with the Stars," she iconically lamented during her dramatic departure in week five.
But Clare once again hit the beach over the ballroom when she returned for season two, ultimately going home after failing to find love once again.
Prior to becoming the 16th Bachelorette, Clare last appeared on The Bachelor Winter Games, the 2018 spinoff that brought U.S. alums and international Bachelor contestants together in the name of winter sports and everlasting love.
While she initially chose to leave the show on her own terms after ending things with Benoit Beauséjour-Savard because she didn't feel a romantic connection with The Bachelorette Canada star, the pair shocked everyone when they revealed they secretly started dating off-camera.
And during the World Tells All reunion special, Benoit got down on one knee and proposed to a surprised Clare.
"I'm, surprisingly, a very private person," Clare told E! News of managing to keep their romance private leading up to the engagement. "I've been in relationships before that nobody even knows anything about and you won't see any of that on my social media. I like to keep personal stuff personal and this was important to me...so I wanted it to be this relationship just between us and see if it grew into something meaningful and it was even more than that."
But less than two months later, Winter Games' most successful pairing took to Instagram to reveal they had ended their engagement in a joint statement.
"We think the world of each other, and we were both hoping we could make this work," the statement read. "I'm sorry that this may not be what you want to hear, but it's our truth. Just know there are no negative feelings here, we are simply two people who believed in love, and were open enough to give it a chance. We still care for each other very deeply (That is why no hate or disrespectful comments will be tolerated about the other.) Please respect our privacy as well, as with the end of any relationship, it is never easy. Thank you for your understanding and love while we have shared our vulnerability with the world."
Following the high-profile split, Clare retreated from the public eye...that is until she was announced as the next Bachelorette. In was an unexpected, but not entirely surprising, decision that came after the franchise received backlash over the pettiness and immaturity displayed by some of the women during Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor.
At the time, a source told us, "They wanted someone who was older, more mature and had more life experience."
Enter: Clare, a woman light years removed from the antics of the TikTok generation who is unapologetic about who she is and what she wants.
"For me, it just is more years under my belt, more learning and knowing what I want, what I don't want," she said on Good Morning America in March after she was announced as the new Bachelorette.
She expanded on that during her interview with Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin on The Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, telling the former leads, "It's taken me a little longer to work on it, to feel it and believe it, but only 'til you feel it and believe it and you love yourself can you allow other love into your life…once that self-love came, I'm ready for this. However long that takes…and I want other women to know that it's SO OK whenever in your life to be ready for that love."
And ready for that love Clare was...until production on her season was shut down the day it was supposed to start due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
While she was initially upset over the delay, she ultimately came to realize, "Everything happens for a reason."
Like Clare receiving an unexpected head-start when it came to her potential suitors as ABC had already announced the 32 men vying for her affection before filming was halted.
"I will say I have looked a little bit," Clare admitted to Rachel and Becca of looking up the previously announced contestants on social media. "My friends have looked more than I have, to be honest. There are some things where, I don't know, you can kind of tell people's lifestyles from their Instagram Stories and I see some where I'm like, ‘That's not really my vibe,' and others where I look at them and I'm like, 'Oh, that's hot. I can't wait to meet that guy, I hope he's on the season.'"
Just before production resumed in mid-July, with the show moving to one location, ABC revealed the new group of suitors, including 42 potential contestants, and it seems likely one of the men who piqued Clare's interest made it out of the limo on the first night and lived up to his social media feed.
"I just kind of felt like I want to get to know them. I know how my Instagram is, it's a piece of my life but it's one of those you have to see and feel in person," she explained on Bachelor Happy Hour. "So regardless of what their life is, what it looks like on their Instagram, it's nice to actually see them in person and I am huge on pheromones. So that's like the end all be all for me. Man, if they smell like the right smell, that's everything to me."
Clearly her chosen suitor smelled like roses because off they went setting the stage for the most dramatic mid-season twist ever. Leave it to one of the franchise's most unpredictable contestants to deliver one of the most unpredictable love stories.
The Bachelorette will air this fall on ABC.