ABC announced on Monday that Clare, a 38-year-old hairstylist who has appeared on The Bachelor franchise four times, will look for love -- again -- on the next edition of The Bachelorette when it premieres on Monday, May 18 at 8PM ET/PT.
According to multiple reports, The Bachelorette Season 15 star Hannah Brown had been the show's top choice to star on Season 16, but she wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay to return for a second season, resulting in Clare being cast in the role instead.
However, as they usually do, The Bacheloretteproducers had already begun casting men for the upcoming season before deciding on a Bachelorette -- resulting in the show now needing to do some last-minute recasting so the bachelors will be "more age-appropriate" for Clare, E! News reported.
Similar to The Bachelor, The Bachelorette traditionally casts a pool of bachelors that are mostly in their twenties.
Prior to Clare, who turns 39 later this month, Rachel Lindsay had been The Bachelorette's oldest lead ever (Rachel was 32 at the time), and Hannah was only 24 years old when she starred on The Bachelorette's fifteenth season last year.
The full scope of The Bachelorette's last-minute casting scramble became obvious when it ran a promo asking men interested in appearing on Clare's The Bachelorette season -- which is reportedly scheduled to begin filming late next week -- to apply on ABC's website during Monday night's The Bachelor: The Women Tell All broadcast.
According to an E! News source close to production, the age of Clare's youngest suitor will be 30.
"This time, producers wanted to try with someone older, more mature," an insider told the website, with another confirming producers had also met with Tia Booth and Tayshia Adams after Hannah declined the opportunity to be the Bachelorette again.
Us Weekly also reported on Sunday that The Bachelorette has rejected numerous guys in their early twenties for the new season solely because of their ages.
When Clare was announced as The Bachelorette's upcoming star Monday on Good Morning America, she joked she could be the mother of most of Peter's bachelorettes.
Clare said, however, she feels her age is an advantage when it comes to starring on the ABC franchise.
"I feel like a lot of people put [age] out there as this negative thing, but for me, it just is more years under my belt, more learning and knowing what I want, what I don't want, and what I won't settle for," Clare said.
But Clare shared she doesn't really care about the ages of men who are cast on her season.
"I have been known to date younger guys. So, that's not a problem for me," Clare revealed on GMA.
"The thing is, I'm wondering if they're ready for me -- for my age. So I feel like that would be more of an issue than me being okay with them. I feel so younger at heart than my actual age."
Clare added she is "proud" of her age but simply feels "younger."
Clare apparently didn't find out she had been chosen as The Bachelorette's next leading lady until Saturday, February 29, just two days before her GMA appearance.
"[It was] so unexpected," Clare gushed. "I cannot believe it. I mean, six years later. What is happening?"
Clare was a 32-year-old hairstylist from Sacramento, CA, when she was first introduced to Bachelor Nation on Juan Pablo Galavis' season of The Bachelor in 2014. She finished as his runner-up.
Clare then unsuccessfully continued to search for love on Seasons 1 and 2 of Bachelor in Paradise, which aired on ABC in 2014 and 2015.
After three years away, Clare then returned for The Bachelor Winter Games, which aired in early 2018, when she was 36 years old. She met a 31-year-old French Canadian bachelor Benoit Beausejour-Savard on Winter Games, but they broke up during filming.
However, Clare and Benoit, who appeared on the first season of The Bachelorette Canada, reunited once cameras stopped rolling and fell in love after dating for a couple of months. They subsequently got engaged during the Tell-All reunion special for The Bachelor Winter Games.
However, Clare and Benoit came to realize marriage wasn't in the cards for them and split up in April 2018, only six weeks after the Tell-All special aired on ABC. Clare and Benoit apparently remain friends to this day.
In terms of what she's looking for, Clare said on GMA, "I want a man who is strong, who is willing to take off the body armor, open himself up and be vulnerable. I think that is some serious strength right there... to let someone in."
Clare, who will be turning 39 on March 20, is the oldest The Bachelorette star in the franchise's history -- by far.
The 10 remaining The Bachelorette stars have all ranged between 24 and 28, with the majority 25 or 26 years old. Hannah was the youngest Bachelorette ever, so the show will be going from one extreme to the other this year.
Clare will not be the oldest lead in Bachelor Nation history, however. That title is held by The Bachelor Season 6 star Byron Velvick, who was 40 years old during his 2004 season.
The Bachelor has featured several other 35-plus leads over the years, including Brad Womack, who was 38 years old when he starred on Season 15 of The Bachelor in 2011.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Nick Viall also each turned 36 years old during the production of their respective The Bachelor seasons, Season 22 which aired on 2018 and Season 21 which aired in 2017.