“Now, I could have never planned what happened because I was nominated. I never actually signed up. And I turned it down over, and over, and over again,” the 32-year-old former football player dished on the “Raising the Bar with Alli and Adrian” podcast on Wednesday, January 13. “And I actually finally committed to it four days before everyone was supposed to leave for the show. And the only reason I committed to it was because Clare was announced as Bachelorette at that time.”
ABC named Crawley, 39, the season 16 lead in March 2020.
“She was so confident and passionate about it,” Moss said of watching the hairdresser on Good Morning America. “And I know that she had been through this before, but I felt by watching her that this was her time and she was exactly where she was meant to be.”
Season 16 of The Bachelorette was forced to suspend production for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The series subsequently pivoted to filming at one location — La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs — and Crawley met her contestants (including Moss) in July 2020. Within the first two weeks of filming, news broke that Crawley was so smitten with the South Dakota native that she stopped filming the show to be with him.
The Sacramento resident, who previously competed on season 18 of The Bachelor, seasons 1 and 2 of Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Winter Games, later admitted to social media stalking her suitors before shooting began — and Moss stood out.
“Dale, in a lot of his [Instagram] Stories, he would talk about his mom and he’d talk about his family. He was with his family a lot and that is something that deeply resonates with me,” she told Entertainment Tonight ahead of the October 2020 premiere. “I just felt on any level, whether it be friendship, whether it be a romantic connection, I just felt like there would be that good connection with him. But you ultimately don’t know if it’s a romantic connection, because you’re just seeing him through social media.”
Moss proposed to Crawley during a November 2020 episode of The Bachelorette. ABC then called in Tayshia Adams, who competed on season 23 of The Bachelor and season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise, to meet her remaining suitors (and four new men). Adams, 30, got engaged to Zac Clark during the finale last month.
“A lot of it was timing,” ABC exec Robert Mills told Variety about both season 16 leads leaving with a rock on their finger. “You can certainly say that the pandemic changed everything. For Clare, she spent all this time thinking about these guys and then she met Dale and knew immediately. There was a lot of time for reflection through quarantining. And for the guys, you had to really want to be there — the fact that we had announced Matt James already meant you’re not there to be The Bachelor, or to get 15 stamps on your passport [with travel restrictions]. You were there to fall in love.”
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.