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With a few notable exceptions (we're looking at you, Jake Pavelka; ditto, Arie Luyendyk, Jr.), Bachelor Nation couples tend to offer fairly staid reasons for why their relationship wilted.As they're busily shipping off that Neil Lane diamond and hashing out who gets custody of Chris Harrison in the breakup, the once madly in love duos craft statements about their mutual decision to separate and the deep admiration they still hold for each other.And for a minute there, it appeared Clare Crawley and Dale Moss would be following that script.
Confirming their separation on Instagram Jan. 19, the former NFL athlete shared that it was "the healthiest decision for both of us," noting they continued to want "the best things for one another." He doubled down when approached by a reporter while out in New York City hours later, insisting that "Clare and I have a lot of love for each other."
The split was just one of those things, he continued, blaming his and the Sacramento-based hairstylist's packed schedules. "Honestly, we've just got a lot going on in our lives right now," he explained, adding that they had every intention of remaining in each other's orbits as friends: "Clare and I will be cool."
Wellllllll, unless that's some sort of hip new slang, he shouldn't bet on it.
Because not 24 hours after the 32-year-old and the franchise's 16th lead announced the end of their five-month engagement, leaving the door just slightly ajar for a reconciliation, it became clear that their breakup was more Hannah Brown-Jed Wyatt, less Ben Higgins-Lauren Bushnell. Put plainly, multiple sources familiar with the situation tell E! News they believe Moss has been cheating on Crawley throughout their engagement.
He and the woman in question (E! News has chosen not to name her at this time) have been in communication since at least late 2019, but Moss insisted to Crawley, 39, that theirs was merely a business relationship. Still, "Clare has always been skeptical," says one source with knowledge of the circumstance. "She never trusted the friendship and thought it was shady." And as their nascent romance began to splinter, her worst suspicions were confirmed.
The first source tells E! News the woman "has been talking to her friends about sneaking around with Dale." As for Crawley, continues the source, "she has seen proof" that whenever Moss was in New York City without her, he was with his other flame.
One such occasion came in November—not long after Moss' proposal aired on TV and he brought his bride-to-be home to South Dakota. Spotted enjoying a late-night candlelit dinner at Cipriani Downtown, "It definitely looked like a date," shared an eyewitness, noting the pair appeared to leave hand-in-hand. "Dale looked really smiley and happy with her. They were laughing and flirting."
Suffice to say Crawley isn't the type to subscribe to the it's-not-cheating-if-you're-in-a-different-area-code theory.
Signing on to dole out roses after a memorable stint as Juan Pablo Galavis' runner-up, two rounds of Bachelor in Paradiseand a brief Bachelor Winter Games engagement, she was unequivocal about her intentions to find her forever partner. "I am looking for a man that is just like my dad," she explained during her Good Morning America reveal. "Strong, loving, gentle, compassionate and just a real, genuine, kind man."
Of utmost importance, she stressed, was someone interested in cozy Friday nights on the couch, someone "who doesn't want to be in the spotlight."
Basically, someone not like Moss, as she's come to learn. Because for all of his smooth moves and uncanny ability to, as Crawley put it, "show up for me," Moss seemed to arrive at Palm Springs' La Quinta Resort & Club last summer with visions of podcast hosting, modeling work and sponcon dancing in his head, just like others before him.in other words, he was there for the wrong reasons.
Now, as multiple insiders familiar with their relationship describe Moss as a "fame-seeker," the first source notes the signs were there all along: "It is obvious now. Things are making sense to her now. She didn't want to believe it at first but is now heartbroken."
Because Crawley had been certain she'd be able to sniff out an imposter, knowing what she would and wouldn't put up with. But it turns out intuition is powerless in the face of overwhelming chemistry.
As viewers saw, Crawley believed in her soul that she'd found her guy in Moss from the moment he stepped out of the limo. Sure, she'd done a little Insta digging beforehand and she didn't hate his chiseled abs and mega-watt smile, but in person there was something else, that inexplicable belief this was meant to be. "I definitely feel like I just met my husband," she declared breathlessly.
And the more she and Moss bonded over the loss of her father and his mother and, yes, made out, the more certain she was that the rest of her suitors could pack their bags and go home. "We have this connection where it feels like I've known him forever," she explained to producers. "It's that intangible chemistry that you just can't make up and you can't replace."
Even better, he seemed just as all-in, telling Crawley, "When we met, I felt love and, like, that's what I came here for. I'm falling in love with you through this process. I'm not afraid to say that at all. My heart is open and I'm not gonna fight that."
Can you really blame a girl for getting swept up in it all?
By the time she was flashing a shiny new 4.5-carat diamond, Crawley was so far gone, she bristled at the mere suggestion that what they had was anything less than love at first sight.
"How he makes me feel is literally, like, sunbeams out of my heart, like, into the world," she explained to Harrison at their make-shift After the Final Rose special. "And I know that sounds so stupid, but I just feel it to my core. And whether it took one day or 10 days or two weeks or two years, this man makes me happy."
So she dove head first into a future as Mrs. Dale Moss, giddily referring to the South Dakota State alum as "my husband", announcing her intention to have babies ASAP and dreaming up the perfect way to cement their bond with a collection of island-based elopements. And she brushed off any and all criticism.
"I'd be lying if I said it's been easy because I'm human," she admitted on Good Morning America of people questioning Moss' commitment. "The things people say without knowing the full truth and without seeing exactly how things really happened and genuinely happened, it just blows my mind in a world right now where there's so much negativity and hate and hard things going on right now."
But, actually, the full truth seems to be worse than most suspected.
Because Crawley couldn't shake her anxiety that Moss' friendship wasn't as platonic as he claimed it to be. "Dale would always reassure Clare that it was nothing serious," says the source, but "multiple people have told Clare that Dale was parading around NYC with this girl." Each time, continues the source, "Clare would confront him about his relationship and tried to question him about it, but he would always deny it."
(A source close to Moss, however, denies romance rumors, saying "Dale was faithful to Clare throughout their entire relationship. He is committed to staying on good terms with Clare and has nothing but love and respect for her." As for the woman in question, the source notes she is a longtime friend who was helping Moss find an apartment in NYC for him and Crawley.)
While his so-called friendship "was a root cause of a lot of their arguments," says the first source, Crawley's worries were only compounded by the differences in lifestyle that became increasingly apparent after they left La Quinta's grounds.
Moss, who spent time on various NFL practice squads before training his focus onto modeling and hosting opportunities, "doesn't want to give up the party life," says the source. While Crawley prefers a quieter lifestyle, having put her roots down in Sacramento where she can be close to her mother as she battles Alzheimer's disease, "He loves the NYC scene," notes the source. "His partying would be a problem in their relationship and would cause many fights."
Bottom line, continues the source, "She just wants to get married, settle down and have children. They were on complete different pages"
And yet, even with everything seemingly stacked against them, Crawley held out hope she could make it work with the man she'd called her "dream come true." As reports emerged they were taking time apart, Crawley assumed this was more of a break than break-up.
"She believed they were working on their relationship," a second insider familiar with the circumstance tells E! News. "And then Dale abruptly posted to his Instagram page that they had parted ways. Clare was in shock by this and felt completely blindsided." However, the Moss source insists he told Crawley prior to announcing the split on social: "He wanted to release his statement a week earlier than he did. She asked him for some time to process it all. Dale respected that, and waited."
In that moment it was as if all the red flags coalesced into one giant scarlet banner. "She feels he knew the truth was going to come out about his shady friendship," explains the second insider. "She feels he wanted to break up quickly because the truth was eventually going to come out."
Now fully done with the athlete, a "completely devastated" Crawley is "focusing on herself right now," says the source. "She is trying to process everything since the split happened so fast and abruptly."
But should she require a distraction, there's at least one potential suitor ready to treat her to coffee. So maybe her journey is just beginning..
With reporting by Amanda Williams
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