Clare Crawley is opening up about a painful and dark moment from her past.
The 39-year-old upcoming Bachelorette lead appeared on the latest episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast and revealed she was in a “really abusive” relationship just before venturing into reality TV for the first time via Juan Pablo Galavis‘ season of The Bachelor in 2014.
It might be quite a while before we ever see Clare’s journey to find love play out on ABC due to production delays spurred on by the coronavirus pandemic — but in the meantime, she’s inviting fans to get to know her on a deeper level. Speaking to co-hosts Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin, she admitted:
“Leading into this, there’s so much more background that I have never even talked about, even on that season of The Bachelor, that I held inside, that I didn’t share with the world. I didn’t even share with my friends. I had just gone through a really, really abusive relationship going into Juan Pablo’s season.”
The California-based professional hair stylist said that at the time, she had been struggling to make ends meet on minimum wage while also living in her car for three months. Crawley described it as the “lowest of the lows,” adding that her father had passed away shortly before that period, too.
Still, the starlet took a chance on love and life by signing up for the show, later becoming iconic for standing up to Galavis’ notoriously sh**ty behavior during his finale. In retrospect, Clare now marvels at her own strength at that moment:
“I hear it in my voice the whole time of just trying to be strong, and trying to be empowered, but then at the very end, having enough in me to be like, you know what? No. That’s not OK, you don’t treat somebody like that, you don’t disrespect somebody like that. I hadn’t fully convinced myself of that yet, so it took me time right after that to sit and process that and go, what just happened? What do I need to work on? And why did that shake me?”
She went on to say the experience pushed her to do the work of unpacking all of the trauma she suffered in the last relationship, as well as her showdown with Juan Pablo, and has colored her perspective as the new Bachelorette going forward:
“It has given me the time to sit and go, what is my message? What is it that I want to share with women my age, women our age, women of any age, anybody? What is it that I really want to share to let them know that yeah, this is one of those positions that is very hard to be in, and I’m so honored to be in it, but more importantly I want to be that woman for other people to see that we all go through pretty awful stuff sometimes, and sometimes other people, just what you see, whether it be on social media, whether it be what you hear publicly, is not always the case.”
Clare said she is no longer hiding behind the shame and embarrassment she harbored over her abusive past relationship and hopes to meet someone who can handle their own issues and the woman she is today:
“I want the man of my dreams to see the worst of me, to know the worst of me, not to have maybe compassion or anything like that, but to maybe see it’s not always easy and confident and strong and empowered. There’s a lot that I went through. I want them to know the hard, ugly, embarrassing struggles of my life to appreciate the woman that I am today, and I want a man to love me for that, and not just for the easy makeup and hair. Anybody can love you for the easy fun times and the smiles and the laughs…I want somebody to love me for all the hard stuff that I’ve been through.”
Also, quick PSA to the guys auditioning for her season: her love languages are acts of service and physical touch, and she’s definitely done her due diligence on researching contestants before production resumes:
“There are some things where you can kind of tell people’s lifestyles like from Instagram stories, and I see some that I’m like, that’s not really my vibe, and others where I look at them and I’m like, that’s hot. I can’t wait to meet that guy.”
Hopefully, her prince charming will be found in this new crop of men! Hearing Clare share her truth like this just makes us appreciate and respect her even more — and we’d love nothing more to see her get her happy ending.
Stay tuned for her season, which is reportedly set to start filming sometime in July with a premiere date soon to follow.
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