Well, Bachelor Nation, the big moment has finally arrived. After a weekend of rumors, teases and spoilers, the new star of The Bachelorette has finally been announced as 38-year-old franchise veteran Clare Crawley! When it was rumored over the weekend that Clare might end up as our new Bachelorette, after having not been seen in the franchise since 2018's The Bachelor Winter Games, a lot of fans were up in arms about two things: how long it's been since Bachelor Nation had seen Clare...and, her age. Luckily, though, Clare has no problem being older than the usual lead.
Clare Crawley will be 39-years-old by the time her season of The Bachelorette begins filming later this month, and this will make her the franchise's oldest Bachelorette in the history of the show, which began in early 2003. But, Clare isn't here for any talk of her being too old to lead Season 16. When she was announced as the new lead today on Good Morning America and her history-making turn as the oldest star of The Bachlorette was brought up, Clare said:
It's more years under my belt; more learning what I want, what I don't want and what I won't settle for. I'm more wondering if they're ready for me, for my age. I feel so much younger at heart than my actual age. I'm proud of my age, but I just feel so much younger.
It's a good thing that Clare Crawley is cool with her age (as everyone should be), because the decision to make her The Bachelorette has already brought some...very unpleasant responses from Bachelor Nation, even though we had heard that the producers might be in the market to "age up" contestants for the next season. But, as Clare noted during her interview, she feels like the added years have made it easier for her to pick the wheat from the chaff, which will be a big change from what we saw on the show last season.
As fans will remember well, The Bachelorette 2019 starred Hannah Brown, 24-years-old at the time, who was fresh from her season as one of Colton Underwood's women on his season of The Bachelor. Audiences watched Hannah put up with an extremely troubling suitor for nearly the entire season, and then become engaged to yet another suitor who'd admitted to going on the show to further his music career...and who ended up having a girlfriend at home the entire time he was pitching woo to Hannah on the show.
Another way that Clare Crawley's stint as The Bachelorette will break with tradition is the fact that she wasn't on the currently airing season of The Bachelor. But, one of the biggest complaints of Peter Weber's season (aside from his oddball decision making) has been that the women, many who were in their early to mid-20s, were simply too young and (even more importantly) too immature to be ready for marriage, which was exemplified by the amount of time they spent fighting with each other and trying to sabotage Peter's other relationships.
When it was mentioned that none of the three finalists on Peter's current season are over 25, Clare Crawley did joke that they were, "Babies. I feel like I could be their mom," but she clearly feels "younger at heart" than someone in her late 30s and ready for the challenge ahead.
Clare Crawley will begin her journey as The Bachelorette when filming on Season 16 starts later this month, with the show set to begin airing in May. Meanwhile, the Women Tell All for Peter Weber's wackadoo season of The Bachelor airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on ABC, and will wrap up next week with major changes until the very last second.