Bachelorette Clare Crawley sparked engagement rumors when she was spotted by the paparazzi wearing a diamond ring in her hometown of Sacramento, CA, this past week — only days after the airing of the Season 16 premiere.
The intrigue surrounding Crawley's journey to find true love shook the Bachelorette Nation in early August, when a number of celebrity news outlets reported that the 39-year-old, four-time contestant had been smitten by former football player Dale Moss during the first two weeks of shooting. Insiders claimed that she had fallen in love, left the show and had to be replaced by Tayshia Adams.
Shortly after the paparazzi shots surfaced on Monday, Crawley took to her Instagram page to explain to her 660,000 followers that the diamond ring was not an engagement ring, but instead, a symbol of self-love and empowerment.
Alongside an animated selfie, she wrote: "People have noticed I wear this ring on my wedding finger, and have asked why! The truth is because it is a commitment to myself first and foremost, to embody self-love."
She went on to explain that in the past she had found herself in relationships where there was little or no reciprocity.
"And in the end would feel depleted and empty," she wrote. "This is my promise to myself, to make sure I always had enough self-love that no matter what happened, I was committed to loving myself unconditionally, and that is something no man could take away from me. @missdiamondring." She punctuated the post with a red heart emoji.
Earlier in October, Crawley spoke about the same diamond ring during an episode of Bachelor Happy Hour, a Bachelor Nation podcast.
“I wanted to get something for myself that I never have to give back to anybody, that nobody can ever take away from me, that will always be mine and that comes first over anything. So self-love and you know what? I will never ask anything of a man that I can’t get for myself.”
The Bachelorette returned to ABC on Tuesday, October 13, and it was immediately apparent that Crawley was captivated by Moss, a 32-year-old pro athlete-turned model.
“I definitely feel like I just met my husband, I’m shaking,” Crawley said during Episode 1. Not surprisingly, she gave Moss the coveted first impression rose.
She told Us Weekly that her first encounter with Moss was "breathtaking."
Crawley's odyssey continued to play out in last night's episode and viewers came away from it sensing that something big was about to go down.
Credit: Screen capture via Instagram/clarecrawley.