Why Clayton Echard Regretted Joining The Bachelor

“It’s like, what more do you want to see?”

Clayton Echard Regretted Joining The Bachelor Following Initial Casting Backlash. Photo via Jon Kopa...
Jon Kopaloff/WireImage/Getty Images

Clayton Echard has received his fair share of criticism during his time on The Bachelor. Fans were initially shocked to see him cast as Season 26’s leading man, as the news was reported before they even got to know him on Michelle Young’s Bachelorette season. Echard hadn’t seen much of The Bachelor prior to joining the show, but he soon learned how seriously Bachelor Nation takes the competition, as his season was met with several waves of backlash toward his personality and elimination choices. In a new interview on Bachelor alum Nick Viall’s podcast, The Viall Files, Echard revealed he didn’t know what he was getting himself into and regretted appearing on the series at first.

On the podcast, per People, Echard said going straight from The Bachelorette to The Bachelor left him no time between shooting to reach out to any former cast members for advice or guidance. Combined with his lack of knowledge about the show, he was truly going into the competition with an open mind. Viall asked if he feels any regret looking back on the experience, to which Echard replied, “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.”

While filming, Echard felt positive about fans getting to know him better on The Bachelor. “I thought, ‘This is going to be great. Everyone’s going to come around, start seeing my personality,’ and people weren’t,” he told Viall. “It seemed like no matter what they showed, even when they showed my personality, showed me being goofy, people would still say, ‘He has no personality.’ It’s like, what more do you want to see?”

The former Seattle Seahawks player admittedly “wasn’t ready for the magnitude of criticism” that came his way, but he’s since learned how to deal with online haters. “It doesn’t matter at this point to me,” said Echard. “I’m happy with people I have in my life, and that’s ultimately what’s pushing me forward.”

Ironically enough, Viall was one of the former Bachelor stars to publicly criticize Echard’s initial casting. “Looking at Michelle’s top four, each of the top four has better storylines, more charisma. They have outshined Clayton in every possible way, so I don’t really get the choice,” he told People in December 2021. But unlike some viewers, Viall was willing to give Echard a chance. “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.’”

During an interview with Bryan Abasolo and Mike Johnson on their Taking It Out with Bachelor Nation podcast earlier this month, Echard said the most difficult aspect of his time on The Bachelor is watching the events unfold through producers’ eyes on TV. “I thought the hardest part would be being on the show. But now it’s watching it back with the audience that sees a glimpse of what all had occurred,” said Echard, who learned it’s better to let the show play out than defend his actions on social media. “There’s nothing I can do between the things I want to say and can’t say and the things that haven’t happened yet. I just have to wait for them to carry and work their way through.”