Rachel Lindsay Says She's 'Thrilled' About Tayshia Adams Becoming the Bachelorette
Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley on season 16 of The Bachelorette, multiple sources confirmed to PEOPLE
"When I stepped in as Bachelorette, I wanted to pave a way for more diversity, for more people who look like me and who didn’t look like the typical lead," the 35-year-old reality star, who was the first Black Bachelorette on the ABC franchise, told Entertainment Tonight on Monday. "So to see another Bachelorette of color, I’m thrilled."
"I have been fighting for inclusion, and I‘ve said before that Tayshia would be an excellent Bachelorette, so I am more than happy to pass the torch," she continued. "I am so excited to see what she’s going to do, how she will represent herself and her journey to find love."
"Now she’s in the driver’s seat, and I’m excited to see her get this opportunity," Lindsay added.
Multiple sources recently confirmed to PEOPLE that Adams, 29, was replacing Crawley, 39, on the upcoming season of The Bachelorette. A source with knowledge of the situation said that Crawley fell in love with one of her original suitors after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic delayed production in March.
"One of her potential guys found a way to get in touch with her and they began talking," the source explained. "By the time filming officially began, they were basically already in love. No one else stood a chance. It just became so obvious from her subsequent few dates that her heart wasn’t in it and she just wasn’t feeling it. Then she said she wanted out."
The source added that Adams was brought in as a back-up.
"Tayshia was game and ready to go," the source said. "What remains to be seen is if more men will be brought in now to give Tayshia a full roster of suitors."
Another insider promised the cycle to be "the most dramatic season ever."
"There's more to the story than just [Clare] falling for someone and not wanting to see what else could happen with other men," the insider teased to PEOPLE.
A rep for ABC and The Bachelorette had no comment when reached by PEOPLE. Adams has not yet commented.
Fans began speculating about Crawley's status on the show over the weekend after Reality Steve tweeted a Reddit theory that alleges she was being recast. Crawley fueled rumors that she had left the franchise after liking a tweet about Adams being her successor.
"I'm sure many would be thrilled with Tayshia, too!!" read the tweet, according to a screengrab captured by Entertainment Tonight. The like has since been removed.
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Crawley was first seen filming at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs, California, last month. The resort was closed to everyone but the cast and crew due to COVID-19, with everyone wearing masks and being tested as precautions.
As for how the casting shakeup will affect production, "because of quarantine, it’s not as simple as just starting over," a source told PEOPLE. "Everyone is being tested and contained within this bubble so anyone coming from the 'outside' is potentially a problem. So that still needs to be fully resolved at this point in terms of Tayshia’s suitors."
A premiere date for season 16 of The Bachelorette has not yet been announced. It was expected to air in late September/early October.