'The Bachelor' star Clayton Echard: I've definitely regretted agreeing to be the Bachelor
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/16/2022
The Bachelor star Clayton Echard has admitted he regretted agreeing to star on the show's 26th season for weeks in the face of constant hate, scrutiny and negativity online.
Ever since The Bachelor season 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.
On this week's episode of "The Viall Files" podcast, Season 21 The Bachelor star Nick Viall pointed out how Clayton has received a lot of heat from fans as well as criticism from Bachelor Nation for his decisions and how he's handled himself on the show.
"Has there been any point in this season where you even had the thought of regretting saying 'yes' to being the Bachelor?" Nick asked Clayton.
"Oh yeah, yeah," Clayton confirmed with enthusiasm.
"I think the first three weeks of the show airing, I definitely thought that, 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.
"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.
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"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 he's been showing more sides of himself on social media as well, but it's still not enough.
"You still are just finding something to be mad at me about," Clayton lamented.
"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."
But Clayton said after speaking with former cast members and hearing about their experiences on the show, he realized, "This is just kind of how it is."
"Now I have truly become numb to it in the last week or two," Clayton said. "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 said he's in a better mindset now thanks to the support he's been receiving from his loved ones.
"It doesn't matter at this point to me, because I'm happy with people I have in my life and that's ultimately what's pushing me forward," Clayton noted.
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," Clayton reasoned.
"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. I don't understand it, but for some people, it's like venting. And I guess that's what they want to do... is tell 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."