Clayton Echard swears he’s there for the right reasons.
But that hasn’t stopped many things from going wrong during his run as The Bachelor.
Appearing as a guest on this week’s edition of Nick Viall’s The Viall Files podcast, Echard for very raw and very real about the popular reality show, admitting there were plenty of times he didn’t want to be a part of it.
The Missouri native said he even regretted signing on for awhile there early in shooting.
“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,” Clayton explained of regretting his decision to become the Bachelor … immediately after appearing on Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette.
(Echard finished a distant eighth and barely had any screen time as a suitor, prompting many to assume he only landed The Bachelor role because he’s white.)
“Having no frame of reference, not really watching prior shows. I went straight from Michelle’s season to jumping into my own, so I didn’t have that time in between to really reach out to [past] Bachelor, Bachelorettes, ask them these questions that now I’m asking.”
The 28-year old said no series alum gave him any sort of “reassurance” in regard to how things would play out.
And just how have they played out?
Echard has garnered his share of backlash, largely from viewers who can’t believe he kept villain and unabashed liar Shanae Ankney on as a contestant for so long.
Many fans have blamed Clayton for Shanae’s reign of terror, which finally came to an end on Tuesday night’s episode of the ABC franchise.
“I thought, ‘This is going to be great. Everyone’s going to come around, start seeing my personality,’ and people weren’t,” Clayton lamented to 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?
“I’m showing you this on social media and you’re still wanting to find something to be mad about.”
Often, Echard has felt like he’s fighting a “hopeless battle” on social media whenever he tried to make Bachelor Nation residents happy.
“To me, I just wasn’t ready for the magnitude of criticism I was going to face,” he confessed, prior to expounding on why he doesn’t let the critics bother him anymore:
“The more I spoke with people, I realized this is kind of just how it is. Now I have truly become numb to it in the last week or two.
“The negativity in my inbox is the same thing I’ve seen for the last four or five weeks, and it just doesn’t have the same bite anymore.
“It doesn’t matter at this point to me, because I’m happy with people I have in my life and that’s ultimately what’s pushing me forward.”
The former football player even has a message for these naysayers, saying on the podcast:
“If they feel that them yelling at me is going to help them get out that anger and make themselves feel a little better, then so be it.
“I don’t understand it, but for some people it’s kind of like venting, and I guess that’s what they want to do, they want to vent to me and tell me how terrible I am. It is what it is.
“They can be in my DMs. It’s fine. I’ll just continue to ignore them.”
As The Bachelor spoilers collected on this website revelaed, Clayton does end proposing on the Season 26 finale.
One would therefore have to assume he’s satisfied overall with having signed on as the series lead.
“I’m in a great spot. I am happy,” Echard told Entertainment Weekly last month, concluding:
“Ultimately, any time I can grow from an experience, if it is good or bad, I feel like it was worth it, and it was.”