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Clare Crawley Announced as Season 16 Bachelorette

Welcome back! Clare Crawley will officially begin continue her journey to finding love: the Bachelor alum is the season 16 Bachelorette.

Related: Clare Crawley: 5 Things to Know About the Next Bachelorette

The reality star, 38, shared the news on Good Morning America on Monday, March 2 — and revealed that she found out only two days prior.

“So unexpected,” she told Lara Spencer. “I cannot believe it. I mean, six years later. What is happening?”

Clare Crawley
Clare Crawley on ‘The Bachelor Winter Games.’ ABC

Crawley makes history as the oldest Bachelorette in the franchise. Rachel Lindsay was previously the oldest star; she filmed her seasons when she was 32. The season 15 lead, Hannah Brown, was 24, the youngest in the franchise.

Related: Former ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ Leads: Where Are They Now?

Crawley first joined Bachelor Nation in 2014 as a contestant during season 18 of The Bachelor. The hairstylist came in second place during Juan Pablo Galavis‘ season and famously told him off when he didn’t propose.

She went on to search for love three more times. In 2014, she joined the first season of Bachelor in Paradise but quit during week 5. She returned for season 2 the following summer and was eliminated during week 3. In 2018, Crawley competed on The Bachelor Winter Games. While she left single, she got engaged to Bachelorette Canada‘s Benoit Beausejour-Savard on the reunion show. However, they split in April 2018.

Benoit Beausejour-Savard and Clare Crawley on ‘The Bachelor Winter Games.’ ABC

Many different options were on the table for the next frontrunner. While Peter Weber‘s finalists include Madison Prewett, Hannah Ann Sluss and Victoria Fuller, many fans wondered if Brown would return for another season.

Related: Bachelor Stars Who Returned Again and Again

“I’m still like currently just sitting at a coffee shop like just waiting for somebody to happen. I think that being on the Bachelorette is a way to find love … I don’t think it’s my only option to find love,” she said on the “Scrubbing In” podcast last month. “I’m still having hope with the coffee thing … Like somebody is just going to show up. I do think there was a lot of good that came out of it.”

Brown first debuted on Colton Underwood‘s season of The Bachelor and then became the Bachelorette. While she got engaged to Jed Wyatt in the end, they broke things off shortly after filming wrapped after she learned he had a girlfriend back home.

While ABC did have conversations with the former pageant queen about coming back, a source confirmed exclusively to Us Weekly that they decided to go in a different direction — and they are extremely happy with their choice.

Meanwhile, Bachelor Nation has weighed in on their own hopes for the next lead, including Weber, 28.

Related: Bachelor Winners: Where Are They Now

The season 24 Bachelor chose his own contestant, Kelly Flanagan, as his pick. “Kelley would kill it. Kelley is so ready, Kelley is one of the smartest people I’ve met,” he told Entertainment Tonight of the attorney. “[She has] such a strong presence. … I definitely had questions at first if she was really ready and wanted this. I was wrong, she truly was,” he added. “I think she can absolutely make an amazing [Bachelorette].”

Other popular guesses included Tia Booth, Tayshia Adams and Kelsey Weier.

The Bachelorette season 16 premieres on ABC Monday, May 18, at 8 p.m. ET.

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