But Clayton has apparently developed a thicker skin since then.
"You have said at times you regretted being the Bachelor. Do you still feel that way?" The Bachelorette alum Joe Amabile asked Clayton during a recent episode of the "Click Bait with Bachelor Nation" podcast.
"No," Clayton replied. "No. I'm in a lot better headspace than I was a few weeks ago when I was really just getting overcome by the amount of criticism."
"But at this point," Clayton went on to explain, "it's just the same stuff every day. I realized those individuals making those comments do not know me personally."
Clayton suggested the only opinions that matter derive from his family and friends.
"Everyone that knows me personally understands, 'Hey, you might have screwed up here or there, but your heart was in the right spot,'" Clayton said.
Ever since The Bachelor premiered its new season in early January, Clayton has been subjected to backlash over everything from his alleged bad habits, such as his excessive lip-licking and "gross" kissing noises, to his terrible Rose Ceremony decisions, like when he kept villain Shanae Ankney over fan-favorite Elizabeth Corrigan.
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When Clayton appeared on The Bachelor alum Nick Viall's podcast in February, he explained, "I think the first three weeks of the show airing, I definitely thought that [I never should've became the Bachelor]."
"Because you just don't know what to expect going into it, having no frame of reference and from not watching prior [seasons]."
Clayton didn't even have time to do his own research on what being the franchise's lead entails and what would be expected of him.
"I couldn't... ask them these questions that I'm now asking. I'm like, 'Oh wait, so this isn't that out of the norm? You received some hate too but now people seem to have come around and liked you,'" Clayton explained to Nick at the time.
"Just having that reassurance, I didn't get that. So for the first three weeks, I thought, 'This is going to be great. Everyone's gonna come around and start seeing my personality,' and people just weren't."
Clayton apparently felt like he just couldn't win for weeks, no matter what he did or didn't do on the show.
"It seemed like no matter what they showed -- even when they showed my personality and showed me being goofy -- people would still say, 'He has no personality.' And it's like, what more do you want to see?" Clayton complained.
Clayton said that even when he showed different sides of his personality on television, it still wasn't enough.
"You still are just finding something to be mad at me about," Clayton lamented last month.
"That, to me, just became this hopeless battle of you can't make anybody happy. I just wasn't ready, I guess, for the magnitude of the criticism that I was going to face."
Clayton noted, however, how he was becoming increasingly more "numb" as time progressed.
"The negativity in my inbox is the same thing I've seen for the last four or five weeks -- and it just doesn't have the same bite anymore. It doesn't matter at this point to me," Clayton previously told Nick, adding how his loved ones were pushing him forward.
On "The Viall Files" episode, Nick asked The Bachelor fans to stop DMing Clayton nasty messages and to "chill out."
Clayton responded with a laugh, "If they want to get their anger out again [then fine]. But I think we all know this: If you're projecting your anger out on somebody you don't even know, that's moreso an internal issue on your own end."
"So if they feel yelling at me is going to help them get out that anger and make them feel a little better, then so be it," he continued. "I don't understand it, but for some people, it's like venting... [And telling] me how terrible I am... It's fine, I'll just continue to ignore them."
Nick was actually one of the people who had initially been "kind of critical about the selection" of Clayton as The Bachelor's Season 26 star.
"It's nothing against Clayton, he seemed like a nice enough fellow, but just looking at Michelle's Top 4, each of the Top 4 has better storylines, more charisma," Nick told People in December 2021.
"They have out-shined Clayton in every possible way. So I don't really get the choice."
Nick added at the time, "I hope Clayton proves us wrong and I'm very much rooting to watch this season and say to myself, which I have in the past, 'You know what, I didn't agree with this selection, but they got it right.' I'm rooting for that to happen, but as it stands right now, I don't get it."