The Bachelorette is making history for its 2020 season. Clare Crawley will lead Season 16 of ABC's dating reality series, and at age 38 (and turning 39 during filming), she will be the oldest lead in franchise history — not just on The Bachelorette, but The Bachelor as well. Clare's casting was confirmed during Monday morning's episode of Good Morning America.

Clare said that her age will be an advantage on The Bachelorette. "I have more years under my belt," she said. "More learning and knowing what I want — and knowing what I won't settle for." She said she wants a man who will "take off his armor" to open up and be vulnerable, because that's what strength is to her. She said she's "been known to date younger guys," so a younger cast won't be a problem for her. She's more concerned that the guys may have a hard time dating a woman older than them.

Clare, a hairstylist who grew up in Sacramento, California, made her franchise debut in 2014 on Juan Pablo Galavis' season of The Bachelor, finishing second, with a memorable breakup. She and Juan Pablo went for a racy swim in the ocean the night before the final rose ceremony, but then the next day Juan Pablo said that he regretted it and didn't want his daughter to see what happened between them. She was understandably hurt and angry and told him, "I would never want my children having a father like you," as she walked away from the final rose ceremony. He chose Nikki Ferrell, and Andi Dorfman was picked as the Bachelorette.

She then appeared on the first and second seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, where her most notable scene was when she was edited to seem like she was confiding in a raccoon, a comedy bit the show has used several times since then. After a few years off, she returned for The Bachelor Winter Games in 2018, having a hilarious confrontation with a German contestant named Christian Rauch, who got mad at her for not keeping her jacuzzi appointment with him. She went home and rekindled an off-screen relationship with Canadian contestant Benoit Beausejour-Savard, who she met on the show but didn't commit to due to the drama with Christian. They got engaged during Winter Games' reunion show, but it wasn't meant to be, and they split a few months later.

Clare's casting is not the first time the franchise has reached into the past for a lead. Arie Luyendyk Jr. hadn't been on the show since 2012 when he became the Bachelor for the 2020 season. Clare was chosen over everyone from the current season of The Bachelor with Peter Weber, as well as more recent fan favorites like Tia Booth and Tayshia Adams.

Reality Steve first reported Clare Crawley's casting.

The Bachelorette Season 16 will premiere this spring. The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Episodes are available to stream on Hulu the following day.

Clare Crawley, <em>The Bachelor Winter Games</em>Clare Crawley, The Bachelor Winter Games