After Clayton, 29, ended season 26 by reconciling with Susie Evans, host Jesse Palmer confirmed that Gabby, 31, and Rachel, 26, would be the first joint Bachelorettes ever. “I am so happy for her. I truly am!” Rachel said during the After the Final Rose special in March. “It’s crazy. This is insane and I’m excited to do this journey with you. We did it once together. We’ve been through the most crazy experience together.”
Gabby, for her part, added: “I’m a girl’s girl through and through, so having a friend by my side is the best thing I could ask for.”
At the time, the duo noted that they wouldn’t be competing against one another in the search for The One. “Everyone keeps asking,” the ICU nurse said during an interview on Good Morning America that same month. “We just got thrown in. But I have faith and a lot of trust and I love Rachel to death and I know we’re gonna have each other’s backs the whole way, so there’s really not a doubt in my mind that it’s gonna end up well.”
In response, Rachel gushed about her strong connection with Gabby due to the Bachelor franchise. “It’s actually insane the things me and Gabby have been through [on the show],” she added. “We always knew that we had a bond forever and to get to do this together, now [she’s] never going to be able to get rid of me!”
Ahead of the premiere, former Bachelor Nick Viall weighed in on what he was hoping to see as a viewer. “[I] can’t wait to see two Bachelorettes. Don’t know how that’s going to go, but I’m sure it will be wild,” he exclusively told Us Weekly in March.
The “Viall Files” podcast host, 41, added that he was hoping the twosome would work together instead of against one another. “I don’t think it’s going to be a good look for anyone to pit them against each other,” Nick continued. “I hope and expect to see a lot of camaraderie and … a sisterhood between the two [women]. I’m sure there’ll be drama and there will be ways to kind of elicit that, but I’m optimistic that it won’t be in any way Gabby versus Rachel. That’s my hope.”
The Bachelorette premieres on ABC Monday, July 11, at 8 p.m. ET. Scroll through to meet the cast: