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- American sales representative and football player
A brand new season of The Bachelor premiered Monday starring Clayton Echard, whom Bachelor Nation may remember from Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette. However, Season 26 got off to a rough start for Clayton, when a contestant named Salley Carson wanted to exit before the show even started.
Salley was previously engaged prior to going on The Bachelor and revealed that the first weekend of filming was actually the weekend she was supposed to get married.
"It was supposed to be my wedding day," shared Salley. "I didn't know it'd be so hard to be here today. Like, I just want to be with my family. The reality of it is, ever since I've been here, I've been an emotional wreck, and it sucks. Like, I want to be excited. I'm sure all the girls here are excited. But it's hard to get in that mindset of like, hey, I can do this. So I need to talk to Clayton, and that's scary because he doesn't know I'm coming." Just five hours before limo arrivals, Salley went and knocked on Clayton's hotel suite door.
After introducing herself to Clayton, Salley shared, "This weekend has been extremely hard for me. I was engaged in the past and I was supposed to get married yesterday. Part of me is being pulled home. But I didn't want to fully come to that decision until I met you." Clayton's understanding and kindness surprised Salley, and her honesty and openness ultimately impressed Clayton. So much so, that Clayton stepped away and returned with the very first rose of the season to prove to her that he is interested in her and wants her to stay on the show. However, Salley wasn't so sure and needed to step out of the room to think about it.
When Salley returned, she told Clayton, "Here's the thing. I know we both felt that connection. And I really like you. I want to accept that rose. But my heart is just not in the place where I can. And I feel so bad about that. My heart's just not ready. I'm so sorry." So it turns out Salley's premature hotel room ambush wasn't the first premature decision she made. Bachelor Nation took to Twitter with some thoughts:
— mary cherry 🍒 (@boxbraidbitty) January 4, 2022
sally…… we should have gone to therapy not bachelor nation #TheBachelor
— it’s capricorn season bitches (@swagmechanic) January 4, 2022
— Lauren (@lskja_lsakj) January 4, 2022
Following Salley's departure, Clayton shared, "That was tough. The first rose that I have given out as the Bachelor was rejected. One of my biggest fears is being rejected, and it's important for me to understand that love is a two-way street. Even though I'm the Bachelor, I still have to win the hearts over of these women. I'm just hoping that what I give I can receive back. So I'm scared that this is how it's gonna be. This is not the way that I was hoping to start my journey to find love."
While we wish we could say it was smooth sailing for Clayton following that awkward moment, later during the cocktail party, another contestant named Claire Heilig apparently thought the new Bachelor wasn't that great, when she told the rest of the women Clayton was "100 percent too nice" for her.
"It was a catastrophe," said Claire. "I beat his ass in cornhole and then the girl walked up and was like, 'Hey can I steal you?' And I was like, 'Go. He sucks.'"
"I can't be with, like, America's sweetheart," added Claire, who ultimately said "I hated him."
Fortunately for Clayton, Claire was the only one who felt that way and he had no problem showing her the door.
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