Participating in the Bachelor franchise has been a long and bumpy road for Clare Crawley. From telling off everyone's least favorite Bachelor to struggling in finding love on Bachelor in Paradise, Clare has flourished off-screen in recent years, making it clear that she's not settling for a sub-par romance. However, Bachelor Winter Games was clearly Clare's time to shine, as she met the charming Benoit Beauséjour-Savard and still found romance with him post-show after they initially parted ways on TV. After their surprise engagement on the Bachelor Winter Games reunion special, fans can't help but adore Benoit and Clare's love story.
As much as I'm already envisioning beautiful French-speaking babies with perfect hair, Clare and Benoit's engagement did come completely out of the blue for viewers. The last we saw of the couple, Benoit left the competition in Episode 2 after Clare couldn't commit to him over German contestant (and Jacuzzi-Gate instigator) Christian. It was heartbreaking to watch because, dang it, I've been following Clare's journey to love for too long to have it end that way!
While Clare didn't mention Benoit to cameras after his departure, her attempts at a relationship with Christian didn't go so well. When the remaining couples were faced with a kissing competition in Episode 3, the two had yet to kiss, prompting them both to decide to leave Winter Games. Compared to Clare's almost cinematic goodbye to Benoit, this moment felt very anti-climatic.
At the reunion special, Clare was singled out to speak to Chris Harrison, and, given the video montage of her greatest Winter Games moments, their exchange almost felt like it was leading up to a surprise Bachelorette announcement. Alas, the franchise subtly reminded us that Rachel Lindsay would continue to be the only Bachelorette in her 30s when Chris broke the news that Clare was in love. Understandably, the room exploded when Benoit was revealed to be Clare's secret boyfriend. He joined her onstage, and their relationship was revealed.
Clare then spoke about wanting a man who wouldn't give up on her, and Benoit remained true to her and "put up with my crazy," as she explained it. Clare was in tears during the explanation of their relationship, and when Benoit stood up, it was clear what was about to happen. Anyone trying to compose a marriage proposal needs to consult the beginning of Benoit's:
I know you have been through a lot and there's gonna be issues everywhere, whenever these challenges, we face those...we'll be a lot stronger together. You never give up on love, this is the best thing about you, and I'd never give up on you.
Before he got down on one knee, Benoit said something beautiful in French, officially winning my heart, and then popped the question. In tears, Clare accepted, and any single girl out there who related to Clare's Bachelor plights suddenly felt hopeful.
Proving that Benoit is the devoted friend who was always there in this rom-com of a situation, he apparently texted Clare after filming wrapped in mid-December to check in on her. Sparks flew from there, and here we are now, with the first engaged international couple of Bachelor Nation.
And to think that it all may have started over eggs in the kitchen.
Before the season premiered, Clare made it clear that she knows herself well enough to tell when a relationship is right. Now in her late 30s, it's clear that she's confident in her decisions, which makes me even more excited and optimistic about her future with Benoit. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she said:
There's so much backlash on being my age and being single. It blows my mind, and it's like, what's the alternative? Being my age and having settled for someone that's not right for me? Because I think at this age, I know exactly what I'm looking for. I know exactly what I want. And that, to me, is a better opportunity, versus somebody who doesn't really fully know themselves coming in… I'll wait forever.
Congratulations to Clare and Benoit! No pressure, but I'd be totally down for a picturesque televised wedding in autumnal Montreal at the end of the year.