Unpacking Clare Crawley's 4 Bachelor Nation Breakups Spanning 6 Years

- The Bachelor -
Unpacking Clare Crawley's 4 Bachelor Nation Breakups Spanning 6 Years

A veteran of The Bachelor franchise, Clare Crawley has been through her fair share of on-camera breakups. After first getting dumped by Juan Pablo Galavis on Season 18 of the flagship series, she went on to explore summer flings on Bachelor in Paradise and even a short-lived engagement on The Bachelor Winter Games.

Now, as the new star of The Bachelorette, she’s set to see if she can find The One in a cast of 31 men hand-picked just for her (and, OK, also for our viewing pleasure). Even if Clare does manage to find her perfect man, that still means she’s got 30 different breakups ahead of her — so I thought it was about time we look back at how she’s handled The Talk in the past.

The Bachelor (2014)

Going into the season finale way back in 2014, Clare thought there was a chance she was about to get engaged to the love of her life (Juan Pablo Galavis). “It’s all been my perfect version of a fairytale, and I just want that fairytale ending,” she said. “Like, tonight? I could have a ring on my finger. … I’m more than ready to start a life with him. And you just have to believe. … It could be the end of all that uncertainty and the beginning of my forever.”

Unfortunately, when the first boat pulled up to the island where the final rose ceremony would take place, Clare was the one stepping off onto the dock. Traditionally, the first arrival is the breakup so that the lead and their final pick have only happiness and celebration ahead of them at the end of the day. But at this point in the competition, the contestants are kept isolated from each other, and Clare didn’t know if her romantic rival, Nikki Ferrell, had already come and gone or was still getting ready back in her room.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” Clare admitted in a confessional. “It’s the end of this entire journey that I’ve put my entire heart into. I’ve poured everything that I have into this. I haven’t been in love since before my dad passed away, and this could be, like, the day my fairytale comes true. One of the best feelings I get when I’m with Juan Pablo is him saying, ‘Trust me. It’s gonna be OK.’ … Like, I know my dad would be proud that I’m even opening myself up and ready and excited and happy for what has happened and what’s to come. Like, I trust Juan Pablo. He really does make me feel safe. Nothing he said the other night said that he had any doubts.”

When she finally came face to face with the Bachelor himself, it was time for her to give the doomed pre-dumping speech that all final two contestants are expected to deliver when they don’t know yet if they’re about to be proposed to or sent packing. The leads are expected to listen without letting their face respond in any manner so that they don’t give away what’s happening. Unfortunately, Clare seemed to take Juan Pablo’s reassurance that he was just as nervous as she was as proof that they were on the same page in regards to everything.

With sparkles in her eyes, the California native told her sort-of-boyfriend that she went through a journey of love and doubt throughout the season before realizing that she wanted him to be the one. “I’m standing here right now, with you, because we have something special,” she said. “I believe in you.”

Unfortunately, Juan Pablo had already made his pick — and he didn’t pick the woman standing before him. Though he started off by assuring her that he also felt they shared a wonderful journey and relationship, the realization that this was a breakup talk slowly started to sink in. Clare’s face visibly fell as the Bachelor said that this was the “hardest decision ever.” He told her that he had to say goodbye to her, but when he went in for a hug, she stopped him in his tracks.

That’s when the conversation made a sharp turn from hopeful to horrible. “This entire time, I’ve stuck around because I’ve believed in you,” Clare told Juan Pablo.

“The other night, on our last date, when you came over and we spent our last hour together, I needed that reassurance, and I gave you that opportunity right then because I’ve been scared to death," Clare told him. "And for you to sit there and tell me that you can see yourself in Sacramento, that you can see yourself — we got together to have our babies. And I wanted to do it because I believed in us. I’ve saved this moment for the man of my dreams, and I thought that was you. And I thought I knew what kind of man you were.”

She reminded him that both Sharleen Joynt and Andi Dorfman left the competition because they didn’t think their connection with the Bachelor was right for them. “You had every opportunity like those other girls did to tell me exactly how you felt.” She said that it didn’t matter to her when Juan Pablo realized that Nikki was a better fit for her and that she “lost respect for him” because he wasn’t forthcoming.

“I’ll tell you what,” she said after walking away. “I thought I knew what kind of man you were. What you just made me go through, I would never want my children having a father like you.”

It was a bombshell moment — and one that had the audience cheering at the time. Though Juan Pablo had been a fan favorite when he was on The Bachelorette, the tide of public opinion quickly turned against him once he became the lead. Contestant Sharleen has since attributed a lot of his controversial behavior to his limited ability to express himself properly in his second language, and she also commended his decision not to propose if he wasn’t ready to get engaged, something that inspired plenty of ire in fans and mockery from host Chris Harrison.

Ultimately, however, the problem Clare had with Juan Pablo — that he didn’t tell her ahead of time that she wasn’t The One — is an issue inherent to the show itself. Clare is right that in normal, healthy, respectful relationships, you should be clearly communicating where you stand and you shouldn't lead people on.

However, on The Bachelor, the lead is pretty much paid to lie to more than two dozen women so that he can maintain the shocking reveal of who his heart belongs to before the final reveal. Some leads do a better job than others at trying to reassure their final picks and let everyone else know they don’t stand a chance, but ultimately that behavior is discouraged by the producers who want to capture everyone’s genuine reaction on camera.

Would it be great for the contestants’ hearts if the Bachelor sent them packing as soon as he knew he wasn’t interested? Of course. But then you’d end up with seasons where the lead runs away with someone just a few weeks in. Once Clare is on the other side of this process, we’ll be interested to see how she handles handing out 15 roses if she knows she’s only really interested in 10 different guys.

Bachelor in Paradise Season 1 (2014)

Clare voluntarily sent herself home during week 5 of Bachelor in Paradise’s first season — but not before having a conversation with Zack Kalter from Desiree Hartsock’s season of The Bachelorette that left her in tears. After another girl asked him on a date, he said no out of respect for what he and Clare had, but he ended up second guessing that decision. Zack told her that while he was incredibly physically attracted to her, he wasn’t sure that their connection was the right fit.

Clare reacted sharply and immediately, no doubt because the subject reminded her of how Juan Pablo allegedly told her he didn’t know if he loved her, but he definitely "loved fucking her." She immediately started interrogating Zack about what exactly his feelings for her were, but the conversation didn’t exactly go well.

On Paradise, contestants have more freedom to be clear about where they stand in relationships, but they also have endless new blood walking down the stairs and entering the beach, throwing previously stable situationships into turmoil. When you’ve always got an eye out for something better to come along, it’s hard to fully commit to what you currently have. A lot of the contestants are also more interested in having fun than finding their forever.

Those were the issues Zack was having. He liked Clare, and the physical attraction was definitely there, but he wasn’t sure if they had the best emotional connection or if he was ready to get in so deep, so fast. “I think that you have a lot of the qualities that I look for in a girl, but at the same time, I guess to me, it just got very intense very quickly and I wasn’t prepared for that. You’re more all eggs in, and I take things so much slower. I do feel like we pushed things a little too quickly in my opinion,” he said. “I want to just have fun with you and be chill and hang out.”

“You just seem really hesitant on everything, and what I hear from you is that it’s too much for you and it’s not something you want right now because it’s too serious for you, is that what you’re saying?” Clare asked. “The right way to do it is to follow your heart. There’s no, like, figuring it out. Either you want it or you don’t want it. Either you’re into it or you’re not into it.”

Eventually, when Zack didn’t immediately confess that he was equally all in, she left to go to bed — but, per the producers, what she really did was “run off into the jungle” where she may or may not have had a conversation with a raccoon.

“I didn’t fucking come here for this, and, like, this is not fun for me,” she ranted to her new furry friend. “Drama the whole fucking time, I can’t handle it. And I’ve tried everything, I’ve taken it slow. He said, ‘Don’t go out with Cody because I want you.’ ‘Oh, yeah, we obviously have something physical, but I just don’t know if there’s something more.’ He makes no fucking sense! It’s a joke. … I can’t handle this! I, like, am having a panic attack on national television — looking like a fucking fool. Again! I just wanna leave. I didn’t come here for this.”

Eventually, she headed back to the cabanas, woke Zack up, and told him where she stood. She’d already started packing her bags to leave, and there was a van waiting to take her to the airport.

“Our conversation, I didn't expect that, because I thought we were good and I thought we were on the same page. ... I just think that already having setbacks like this, and already having red flags… Going through the bachelor with Juan Pablo, like the biggest regret, the only regret I have from that, is having that red flag and not paying attention to my gut. And because I have not listened to my gut before, I want to listen to it now. And I just think it’s best that I’m going home tonight.”

She went through the motions of saying her final goodbyes and letting Zack walk her to the car. Finally, she turned to him and said, “I just wish you could’ve seen what I saw, you know?”

Zack was doing his best to be transparent like Clare wanted, but it was also clear that their conversation was entirely too reminiscent of the way things played out with Juan Pablo. Just a few months after their breakup, she was adamant that she needed somebody to be on the same page as her so that she didn’t end up “looking like a fucking fool” in front of an audience of millions. Unfortunately, Zack being upfront about where he stood led to the same end result.

Bachelor in Paradise Season 2 (2015)

Things didn’t go much better for Clare when she returned to the beach for a second shot at love. After going on a date with Mikey Tenerelli from Desiree’s season, she let him know up front that she was keeping her options open. Soon after, she was asked on a date by Jared Haibon, who was on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season. While she thought they hit it off, Jared didn’t agree (and he seemed to cite their age difference as the main issue). That meant Clare was left with no romantic prospects and no one to whom she wanted to give a rose at the rose ceremony.

After initially storming off and threatening to quit the show, another raccoon (read: an off-screen producer) sweet-talked her into coming back and giving her fellow cast mates another chance. After all, they’d only been in paradise for about 15 minutes by that point. Was she really so ready to give up on love?

Clare agreed to take a breather and ended up giving her rose to JJ Lane from Kaitlyn’s season. But when the next rose ceremony rolled around and she still hadn’t formed a real connection with anyone, she was sent packing. She wasn’t breaking up with anyone in particular, per se, but she still had a breakup speech — this time directed at the franchise.

“If they would’ve just chosen me for Bachelorette, I wouldn’t have to be here. I would’ve found my husband,” Clare complained. “I guess there’s part of me that’s hard not to be sort of jaded and skeptical, but it just hurts because you hit a certain point where it’s just a slap in the face. … This is my retirement from Bachelor in Paradise.”

The Bachelor Winter Games (2018)

Clare found herself locked into a love triangle on Winter Games. She hit it off with both Benoît Beauséjour-Savard from The Bachelorette Canada and Christian Rauch from The Bachelorette Germany and The Bachelorette Switzerland. Benoît had strong feelings for her, but she felt her stronger connection was with Christian. After she broke the news to Benoît, he decided to head home — but that didn’t mean that Clare got her happily ever after. She and Christian had their own ups-and-downs, and their relationship seemed to be fraught with poor communication, including that infamous mixup about their jacuzzi appointment.

Clare accidentally left her man hanging after they agreed to go for a soak in the tub, but she didn’t think she was solely responsible for her date’s disappointment. She was frustrated that he didn’t just come seek her out instead of wallowing alone, and it led to some major problems. Chief among them was the fact that Clare felt Christian was starting to get a little pushy, and she didn’t take kindly to being pushed around. She threatened to leave, and though she ended up accepting a rose, their dustup wasn’t done.

Their conflict came to a head when it was time to participate in a kissing challenge — and they hadn’t yet locked lips. When they sat down together to discuss their strategy, Christian admitted he had wanted to kiss her but was waiting for the right moment, and a competition didn’t feel like it was it.

“All I really want at this point with Christian is progress,” she said in a confessional. “I get that there’s a language barrier, but there’s also a way to try to overcome that by doing things.” She told Christian that she needed to feel “wanted” and “pursued” by a man, and hinted that she really just wasn’t getting that from him. She wanted “action” from him, not words.

Christian said he wanted to give that to her in a world where they had the time to figure out their relationship, but this pressure cooker of a situation just wasn’t right. Clare admitted that it was probably time for them to say goodbye if that was the case, but hinted that maybe they would “move forward and see” where things went after the show.

“I’m not going to settle for anything less than a man who wants to try,” she said in a confessional. “If I could make it happen, I would. But I want a man who sees what he has in front of him and who’s not willing to let me walk away.”

She had a late-in-the-game realization that there was a man who was pursuing her and showing her that he wanted her, and she turned him down. “I’m not afraid to be alone if the alternative is being with the wrong one,” she said. “It’s just crazy to think that I had not one but two guys notice me and I think that Benoît was maybe the right guy, but I always end up feeling not worthy of it, like I wasn’t good enough. … But I believe in love. I believe I’m not giving up. I’ll never give up. And that’s the best I can do.”

After the show, she and Benoît ended up exploring their relationship — and even getting engaged during the tell-all special — but that didn’t work out either. Clare has always been a woman who knows what she wants and strives to be open and clear with those around her. The problem is that romance is complicated, feelings aren’t always easily recognized right off the bat, and being open to love doesn’t always mean it’ll flourish.

The Bachelorette (2020)

Throughout her time with the franchise, Clare’s gotten close to finding the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with. She was ready to get engaged to Juan Pablo at the end of The Bachelor, and she did get engaged to Benoît before they also went their separate ways. She’s learned a lot of hard lessons about love, including how she wants to express it, how she needs it expressed to her, and how all cards have to be on the table at all times. It’ll be interesting to see just how much of that she keeps in mind when it’s her turn to hand out the roses.

Images: ABC

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