If you’re watching season 26 of The Bachelor, then you already know leading man Clayton Echard is one seriously tall drink of water. During the premiere on January 3, the Missouri native managed to look taller than host and former Bachelor Jesse Palmer, who stands at a cool 6-foot-2. While Clayton, 28, is one of the tallest Bachelors in franchise history, he’s not the only member of the over-6-foot club. In fact, out of the 25 stars — Brad Womack was the Bachelor twice — only four of the men were under 6-feet tall.
Obviously, nobody tunes in to The Bachelor because of how tall the leading man is; they tune in to watch him find The One. As it happens, Clayton admitted in the season premiere that he did see a future with former Bachelorette Michelle Young, even though she ultimately didn’t feel the same. But that didn’t stop him from turning his experience into a lesson.
“It just shows me like, I want kids one day. Like, I want a family. I just want to find love so badly, and have a family and start that chapter of my life. I want it more than anything else,” Clayton said between tears.
Season 26 did not lack in typical Bachelor drama. The former athlete said one of his biggest regrets from his experience on the show is the way he handled conflict.
“I should have asked more questions. I don’t necessarily know what in particular I could have done specifically,” he said. “I mean, our days, we were running around doing a million things. It’s not like we had downtime, but I could have in those moments just asked another question or two. And that may have uncovered what I needed to uncover.”
This season culminated in a tense taping of the Bachelor: Women Tell All special, which aired on Tuesday, March 7. Clayton had to face feuds with his former contestants, who also squabbled amid the reunion.
“I do wear my emotions on my sleeve, especially with facial expressions,” the ABC personality said in an interview with Us Weekly. “A few of the women come up afterward [to] tell me, ‘Hey, smile.’ I think it’s pretty apparent that I was a little rattled by this. It really hurts me.”
Despite the drama and emotional toll, Jesse, 43, assured fans that Clayton’s journey is “life-changing.” The former football player flashed a wide smile as he met his 30 contestants at the Bachelor mansion in Agoura Hills, California. His season has come down to contestants Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windy, after Susie Evans was sent home.
Scroll through the gallery below to see a breakdown of every Bachelor’s height from season 1 to today.