‘The Bachelor’ Star Clayton Echard Wins Us Over With His Honesty (VIDEO)

OK, haters, y’all need to take several seats.

After it was announced that former contestant Clayton Echard would headline The Bachelor‘s 26th season, the wave of disapproving tweets was so steady, the franchise even had to address it on Michelle Young‘s The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose. The 28-year-old Missouri medical sales rep read some of the more insulting messages in a show of good-natured gamesmanship, which will come in handy once his episodes begin airing in January. Because #BachelorNation can get sassy on social media, folks.

The Bachelor - Clayton Echard

ABC/Pamela Littky

The question is: Why the backlash? He’s tall, handsome, well-employed, fit AF, has a nuclear-powered smile, loves dogs, and beams about his family. It’s like he was created in The Bachelor Lab. And from the teaser trailer, he also gets consensually intimate with two of the women vying for his heart and admits to it! That sort of drama is what this franchise is about and he’s delivering it! We should be rejoicing, not recoiling.

In addition, he’s hella charming. We spoke with the one-time NFL hopeful right before the holidays and Echard was refreshingly honest about his role in this season’s biggest dramas — “I was hoping on my side of things that maybe I would be able to avoid situations like that” — as well as his family’s reaction to seeing the down-and-dirty stuff. “It’s been overwhelming, I think, for them,” he admits. “It’s a lot.”

Get to Know Clayton Echard's 31 'Bachelor' Season 26 Contestants (PHOTOS)See Also

Get to Know Clayton Echard's 31 'Bachelor' Season 26 Contestants (PHOTOS)

We haven't even met Clayton Echard yet, but ABC provided a sneak peek at the rumored future Bachelor's romantic prospects.

In addition, Echard reveals how he maintained his own well-being while filming the franchise’s first season to feature international travel and exotic locations since 2019. He also offers the kind of tease the ABC publicity team probably prays for at night.

“I did find love,” he admits. “As far as what that looks like, that’s where I think everyone’s got to tune in and see.”

The Bachelor, Season 26 premiere, Monday, January 3, 8/7c, ABC.