When rumors started to emerge in August that Clare Crawley quit The Bachelorette mid-filming to pursue a relationship with her contestant Dale Moss, many people (including Bachelor blogger Reality Steve) speculated that the two of them must have talked via DM before the show. How else does one build such a strong connection so quickly? But Clare put those rumors to rest during The Bachelorette premiere when she revealed that the only contestant she'd heard from pre-show was Blake Moynes. Many fans still aren't buying it, but the fourth episode of the season took the theory head-on.
Clare directly refuted the notion that they’d talked during the November 5 episode when asked point blank by host Chris Harrison. “Not one bit. Not one word. I swear on my dad’s grave,” she said. She added that she had Googled him pre-show and followed along with his social media posts, which she could relate to because some were about the anniversary of his mother’s passing or his sister being in a care facility. She admitted that their connection was “built up before we even got here,” but most of that was in her own head. It wasn’t until she met Dale that she saw he felt similarly.
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To recap, during the premiere, Blake said he'd reached out to Clare on Instagram after he saw her post an Instagram Story about how she was dealing with a lot. "I want[ed] to check in, [see] if she's okay," he explained. Clare then confronted him about his DM on night one of filming. "Over quarantine, it was really hard for me. You were the only guy who reached out to me the entire time," she said. "There are these weird rules that we have to follow for the show of not contacting somebody. So, you broke the rule."
It ended up working in Blake's favor, because Clare told him that she was grateful he checked in on her, even if it was breaking a "rule." She said, "To me, the fact that you risked not coming on [the show] and putting that on the line at a time when I was really struggling, it meant everything to me."
This seemed to clear up any possibility that Clare's reported fiance, Dale Moss, talked with the Bachelorette prior to filming. But tell that to the fans:
Her claims about Blake didn't do much to satisfy Bachelor Nation. Fans on Reddit have closely analyzed her conversations with Blake and Dale and many cannot be convinced that Dale and Clare didn't talk before the show. Some of the "clues" include Clare saying, "I knew it," after Dale's limo exit, "I've been waiting for this" right before kissing him, and Dale asking about her mom during their first conversation.
However, some of Clare's comments can be explained away when you consider that she may not have talked to Dale, but she could very well have looked him up prior to filming. Clare had the luxury of knowing who her contestants were for several months before stepping onto the set due to The Bachelorette production delay. That's part of why she was mad when contestant Brandon Goss didn't know anything about her — she knew he had time to Google her, because she Googled her men.
Host Chris Harrison confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that Clare did do some online snooping before filming. "She definitely took a peek," Harrison said. "But we also had the opportunity to continue to cast her show. So coming into night one, she really didn't know who was going to be there."
That could explain her obvious relief when seeing Dale and her exclamation of "I knew it." She saw the initial cast roster and knew the show was doing additional casting, so it's entirely possible she liked what she saw on his social media and was hoping he'd be in the final group of guys.
As for Dale asking about Clare's mom, Clare was open on social media during quarantine about missing her mother:
Her mom is in a live-in facility because she has Alzheimer's and dementia, and Clare didn't like having to be away from her. Blake said he reached out to her because he saw her posts about her mom, so it's reasonable to assume Dale also saw her publicly available Instagrams, too.
It's also possible that Dale is just a good listener. When Clare and Dale sat down on night one, he asked how her quarantine went. Clare said it was hard because of everything going on with her mom, and that's when Dale asked how her mother was doing. These conversations are always edited so it's possible that Clare first explained what was going on and it's also possible that he's just a nice person whose natural follow up question to a comment about mom stuff being difficult is the very human response: How is your mom? None of this means they talked before meeting.
As the rumors have continued, Clare again shut them down on Us Weekly's Here For The Right Reasons podcast. "There was never a moment where I was going to reach out or I wanted to reach out [to the contestants] because I knew that this was going to happen eventually where I was going to get the chance to meet these guys,” Clare said following the show's premiere.
"I didn't want to kind of prejudge anybody and shoot myself in the foot by having these conversations and putting that at risk. 'Cause it's like, you only really know when you meet them in person and it can actually be around their pheromones to see them in person to know, do we have that connection? So if I was to start something up with a guy beforehand, it would just be doing myself a disservice … I’d be putting it all on the line for that? I mean, that makes no sense to me."
And if Clare and Dale did talk, it would be weird for Clare to go out of her way to hide it after being honest about Blake speaking to her pre-show and to continue talking about it at length. It's also worth noting that Bachelor blogger Reality Steve also claims to have confirmation that there was no contact between Clare and Dale before the show.
Now that we've cleared that up, can we all just accept that this is a nice thing and a potential "love at first sight" situation? After Clare met him on night one, she said she felt like he could be her husband. As Clare explained it to Entertainment Tonight, "It was one of those intangible, goosebumps all over the body [things]. Like, what just happened?" She added, "Just standing in front of a man, connecting on that level, and it being electric between each other — I've never felt that instantly like that before."
So that's it, people: Dale didn't need a leg up of pre-show DM-ing. Sometimes nice things just happen.
This story has been updated. It was originally published on Oct. 13, 2020.