'The Bachelor' star Clayton Echard reveals the advice new host Jesse Palmer gave him
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/31/2021
The Bachelor star Clayton Echard has revealed the best advice he received from new show host, Jesse Palmer, while filming Season 26 and what meant a lot to him.
ABC announced in September that Jesse, a 43-year-old former NFL player who starred on The Bachelor's fifth season in 2004, signed on to host Season 26 of The Bachelor, which is set to premiere Monday, January 3 at 8PM ET/PT.
"He is somebody that, because we have very similar backgrounds, he resonated with me very quickly," Clayton explained to Us.
"I think the biggest thing he told me was just, 'Stay true to yourself.' And it's not this mind-blowing advice but it was so relevant. It's like, 'Don't try to be anybody else. Just do this the way that you think is right. And at the end of it all, you'll be thankful that you did.'"
Clayton insisted he left The Bachelor with no regrets, and so he probably has Jesse's advice to thank for that.
"You can't have any regrets at that point if you are just being true and being yourself the whole way through," Clayton said.
"I mean, he gave me a lot of advice, but that was obviously the most -- the one I took to heart and realized I had to stick with."
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Although he'll be the new The Bachelor host, Jesse will continue his role as a sports analyst on ESPN -- a position he began in 2007 -- for the 2021-2022 college football season.
It remains unclear, however, whether Jesse's The Bachelor hosting role will end after Season 26 or continue on through subsequent seasons of the franchise.
According to insiders, producers have been planning for Jesse to continue serving as host of The Bachelor andThe Bachelorette for future seasons but nothing is set in stone, Variety reported several months ago.
The Season 11 The Bachelorette star reasoned, "I think it's cool to have a male that's been in that position help mentor the lead and say, 'I've been here, I've done this and I'm here to help you.'"
Kaitlyn added, "So it made sense for me that they got a past Bachelor and also someone that, like, has been in a hosting role before. He's gonna do a really great job."
But Wells admitted earlier this month he felt a little disappointed and "bummed" not to be offered the new hosting position for The Bachelor since he considers it to be the best job in the world, Us reported.
Wells also insisted that Jesse will have some "tough shoes" to fill next year considering everyone had been "accustomed to Chris doing that job."
Chris announced in February he'd be "stepping aside" from his hosting duties with The Bachelor franchise "for a period of time" to educate himself on racism in society in a "profound" and "productive" manner after he made offensive remarks in an Extra interview with The Bachelorette's first Black leading lady, Rachel Lindsay.
In the early-February Extra interview, Chris had defendedThe Bachelor Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in the last several years and adopted a dismissive attitude towards photos of Rachael that resurfaced from an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
Chris had called for "grace" and "compassion" for Rachael and also criticized the "woke police" and the "unbelievably alarming" response of anger and frustration to the young woman's actions.
Chris subsequently issued three apologies for his offense, two on Instagram and one verbal apology during a March appearance on Good Morning America.
On GMA at the time, Chris had expressed his hope he'd be able to return to The Bachelor franchise, explaining, "This is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it. I plan to be back and I want to be back."
But Katie Thurston refused to star on Season 17 of The Bachelorette in March if Chris was going to participate, and several sources told E! News in April that "many" The Bachelor and The Bachelorette alums from seasons past were "apprehensive" about signing up for Bachelor in Paradise 7 or even declined their invitations in the wake of Chris' racism controversy.
One insider told the website at the time, "A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise."
Paradise bachelor, Ivan Hall, for example, told E!'s Daily Pop in February, "If they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on Bachelor in Paradise or something like that -- and I'm sure a lot of other contestants feel this way as well -- I wouldn't feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank."
Ivan added, "[I'm] not saying he can't make a recovery, can't learn from all of this, but, you know... it would just be too soon, really."
Chris' exit from the franchise appeared to split Bachelor Nation and fans everywhere down the middle.
While many people believed Chris leaving the show was the right thing to do, others -- including Sean Lowe and Michelle Money -- suggested cancel culture is not a good solution and they'd boycott the franchise if Chris is no longer a part of it.