The flight instructor, 25, caught Clayton’s eye on night one. Looking back on their first meeting, the former football player, 28, told Us Weekly in January that Rachel was a “calming presence.”
“When I spoke with her, [the] conversation wasn’t forced, it was very natural,” he explained. “That was one of those conversations night one where I walked out of there, along with other conversations I had, and I was like, ‘I’m already feeling good about these girls early on, like, where could we be at the end of all of it?’ This is great to see night one.”
Clayton and Rachel’s connection grew stronger every time they were together. She landed her first one-on-one date during the January 31 episode and later received back-to-back group date roses.
The Florida resident secured a place in the Bachelorette season 18 alum’s final three alongside Gabby Windey and Susie Evans during the Monday, February 28, episode. In promos for the end of the season, Clayton tells all of the remaining women that he is in love with them. He also informs two contestants — though it is unclear which ones — that he was “intimate” with both of them.
Clayton told Us in December 2021 that he no longer uses “absolutes” after confessing his love to his final three.
“I kind of started laughing in disbelief. I don’t know if it was a nervous — I think it was a nervous laugh,” he recalled of acknowledging his feelings for multiple women. “But you know what, I realized, like, ‘You can’t fight these feelings, you have to allow them to come out.’”
As for his sex confession, Clayton revealed that it was “upsetting for the women to hear it and rightfully so.” However, he wanted to be “very transparent” with them.
“Just understand that once the show airs, that whole scene will play out and there will be an explanation and people will then understand — or at least they’ll be able to see the full picture of what actually happened in the way that it did,” he teased.
Clayton added at the time that he “did some things wrong” as the lead, even though his intention was to do what he “thought was right” in the moment.
“I can’t say that I have any regrets because if I would’ve done things differently, would it have been my 100 percent authentic journey?” he said. “And I think the answer to that’s no.”
Scroll through the gallery below to learn more about Rachel: