Six years after Ben Higgins came under fire for saying “I love you” to two contestants on The Bachelor, season 26 lead Clayton Echard is set to drop the L-bomb three times.
“I did break the seal. I think it was going on for a long time. I don’t know if anybody was ever saying it, I know they weren’t showing it. I look back now, and I would say, ‘Hey, it’s just not a wise thing to do. It’s not helpful,’” the season 20 star, 32, said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast during a joint interview with Wells Adams ahead of their participation in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. “I don’t know what the benefit of telling anybody that is unless, like, you know you’re gonna be with them or there’s something in the future for you.”
In the years following the 2016 season with finalists Lauren Bushnell and JoJo Fletcher, it’s become more common for the franchise’s leads to say “I love you” to multiple contestants.
“I know that’s how a lot of people feel because you’re in an environment where you’re dating and you’re connecting and then you get to the end and you’re looking around and you’re like, ‘I want this person know how I feel about them because I don’t know where this is gonna go,’” Ben continued. “So you say it and then you look back and you’re like, ‘That was probably hurtful for everybody involved, including the person that said it.’ So I would just advise any lead — but I mean, since I did it, many have done it so nobody’s listening to my advice and that’s fine, a lot of people don’t — I would just say, ‘Don’t say it.’ Like, hold it in or tell yourself it or talk to your pillow.”
In the teaser for season 26, Clayton is shown telling three different women he is in love with them.
“What we’ve seen with Clayton is something that we haven’t seen before — which again is not wise — when he also said, ‘Hey, I was intimate with two of you or three of you, whatever the number was there.’ I don’t know in what scenario you feel like that’s gonna be helpful,” the “Almost Famous” host told Us. “Something at the end of this thing takes a turn that we haven’t seen yet or [aren’t] expecting yet. And I think it’s gonna put him a situation to be as open and vulnerable and as honest as possible, or he’s just word vomiting and that could not end well for him, I would think.”
While both Bachelorette alums told Us that they are watching Clayon’s season, which kicked off earlier this month, they admitted that they spend more time talking about golf than about Bachelor Nation when catching up off air.
“It’s the best women golfers in the world. Last year, they had to win a tournament to get into this one,” Wells told Us of this weekend’s tournament. “With a bunch of celebrities who are terrible at golf, and we’re all gonna go play golf together on the Golf Channel and on NBC. … It’s kind of a bummer to know that these amazing athletes on the LPGA, like, if they win a tournament, it’s not as much as the guys do and that doesn’t seem fair because they are so freaking good at this game. And so I think that’s kind of the idea of why we are here to get more eyes on the sport. … It’s insane how good these women are at golf.”
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Fans can tune in to see the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Friday, January 21, from 12:00 p.m. ET to 3 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel, Saturday, January 22, from 3:00 p.m. ET to 5:00 ET and Sunday, January 23, from 2:00 p.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.