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Clare's Response To Rumors She Quit 'The Bachelorette' Makes Things Confusing

The Bachelorette has been back for about half a second and things are already getting complicated. On Oct. 13, Bachelor Nation eagerly watched as Clare Crawley's love story (or the next chapter of it, at least) continued on national television. Going into the Season 16 premiere, fans already had theories about what would go down, but Clare's response to rumors she quit The Bachelorette puts all of the previous speculation in question.

While fans usually have a few theories about how things turn out when heading into each season's premiere, this time, the depth of the rumors were taken to a whole other level. After filming was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the show was recast multiple times, viewers thought that would be the end of the twists. On Aug. 3, however, Life & Style reported Clare left The Bachelorette after only two weeks of filming because she reportedly fell in love with contestant Dale Moss. From there, the gossip mill churned, with some reports stating Clare locked herself in a closet because she didn't want to date any guy who wasn't Dale; others said she got engaged to Dale under a giant fireworks display.

At this point, fans have been viewing these rumors pretty much as fact (which is why no one was surprised Dale got Clare's first impression rose on Bachelorette Night 1), but according to an interview Clare gave with Entertainment Tonight following her season premiere on Oct. 13, fans may be in for a surprise.

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"I did not quit the show ... I stayed the whole time, I went, I did what I was going to do there. I showed up, I didn't quit anything," she told ET on Tuesday.

While she didn't confirm or deny the engagement rumors, Clare slammed the notion that she hid from producers. "I can promise you I did not lock myself in a closet ... that was one [rumor] I heard that I was throwing a fit and I locked myself in a closet," she told ET. So, the closet thing is out, but with it is the idea that she "quit" the show, which makes the whole "she runs away with Dale" reports pretty confusing.

Now, this actually doesn't mean the two aren't engaged. Maybe they stayed at the resort to film post-engagement, which would mean she technically didn't quit. Or, after they got engaged, production might have just phased out their story to make room for Tayshia Adams, who reportedly takes over as the new Bachelorette. On the other hand, maybe Clare and Dale aren't engaged after all, and this has just been one giant ruse created by puppet master — I mean, producer and host — Chris Harrison. Whatever turns out to be the truth, this is one season that will keep viewers on their toes each and every episode.

Season 16 of The Bachelorette continues on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.