'The Bachelor' star Clayton Echard comes clean about his dating history: "I never claimed to be some saint"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/20/2022
The Bachelor star Clayton Echard has cleared up rumors and gossip about his past relationships and hookups, admitting he was no "saint" before appearing on the franchise.
Clayton, who currently stars on The Bachelor's 26th season, appeared on Tuesday's episode of the "Bachelor Happy Hour" podcast hosted by Becca Kufrin and set the record straight on his pre-show dating history.
"As far as addressing what I've seen online, yeah, I've seen a lot of these TikToks that have come up as of lately regarding my past, you know, or the relationships that I had in the past," Clayton began.
"Here's the thing: I never claimed to be some saint per se or celibate for the last six years of my single life. I was single, and I enjoyed that singleness."
It appears Clayton may have broken a few hearts and had some flings before setting out to find lasting love on television.
"There was a period of my life when, yeah, I wasn't looking for anything serious and I was just having fun and enjoying that aspect of it," said the 28-year-old orthopedic sales representative and former college football player.
"That's just something I think maybe everybody goes through in some capacity, and I went through that. And I am now starting to see a lot of these things that are coming up."
Clayton said while he understands why a lot of people are bringing up his past, he really believes most people have been through a similar phase or stage in life.
"I think we all went through this -- and maybe some people more than others -- but yeah, I went out and dated and had my fun," Clayton confirmed.
Clayton apparently had an epiphany in 2021, suddenly finding the inspiration to get engaged, marry and settle down with one woman.
"It came to a head this year on my 28th birthday when I realized I was doing the same things. I hadn't changed my dating life per se," Clayton explained.
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"I hadn't changed my work. Everything was just kind of stagnant, and I felt like I was going through the motions."
Clayton said he thought to himself, "You need to start making changes to see change," and that also applied to his carefree dating life.
"I realized that I can't keep going down this path of just kind of 'loosely dating' because that's not going to bring me the happiness that I'm looking for," Clayton shared, "which is ultimately another person in my life that I can wake up [next] to every day and they'll be along there with me in this journey of life."
Although Clayton is affected and hurt by the negativity and criticism he reads online, he noted, "It is what it is."
"And some of the stuff I've seen is absolutely ridiculous and it's not factual... I saw one [comment] today from a guy who said, 'I walked in on him with my girlfriend.' I don't even know who this guy is!" Clayton told Becca and her podcast co-host, The Bachelor alum Serena Pitt.
"And someone else said, 'I've been dating him for five years.' I'm like, 'How can you say you dated me for five years? Where is the evidence?' There's just so much. And I don't know."
Clayton didn't get into specifics about his past mistakes or how many failed romances he had burned through, but he said, "For what it is, I just want people to know that I didn't claim to be this guy who just didn't date around or was just in a hole for the last five or six years."
"I went and had my fun, and I did," he reiterated.
"But that obviously transitioned once I hit my 28th birthday this [past] year. I think I realized I needed to start making some changes," he concluded.
Clayton began to search for his future wife on Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette, but he got sent home well before hometown dates.
After filming The Bachelor in late 2021, Clayton confirmed on Good Morning America that he had definitely found love.
"While it has been such a phenomenal experience, while it was so exciting to get that call to be the next Bachelor, I'm now seeing that the hardest part is actually not so much the show, it's the aftermath," Clayton said on "Bachelor Happy Hour."
He added, "It's this part of it, now watching it with the public."
Clayton said even his brother recently questioned who he is as a person based on the show's edit. Clayton's brother apparently told him to stop kissing the women and essentially ask them more questions.
"That hit me really hard. People have to understand your words do affect me," Clayton said.
"I'll put a smile on and start brand new and start the day over... but you think it's just one comment. Understand that... [it's] 10,000 other comments and they all pile on. And it can be a lot. It can really affect someone's mental health -- not only mine but my mom's."
Clayton therefore urged viewers to think twice before posting something mean or nasty online.