Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 26 of The Bachelor.
The Missouri native met 31 women during his first official day as the lead, and one actually self-eliminated hours before the limo entrances began.
Salley Carson joined the cast shortly after she broke off her engagement, and she actually met Clayton on the day she was supposed to get married.
While the 26-year-old thought that she was ready to participate in the journey, she was very emotional in the hours leading up to the first party at the Bachelor Mansion. She decided to introduce herself to Clayton early.
Though the two agreed that there was definitely a romantic spark between them, and Clayton eventually offered her a rose, Salley chose to walk away from The Bachelor ahead of the first night. Does Salley ever come back, or is her time on the ABC series actually over?
Does Salley Carson come back on 'The Bachelor'?
While many past Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants have been engaged or married before, Salley was the first to start her journey on the show on what would have been her wedding day.
In the hours leading up to the limo entrances, the Virginia native decided to visit Clayton in his room to discuss her mixed feelings about being on the show. The two connected during their discussion, and Clayton asked Salley if she would accept one of his roses.
"Why did he have to pull out a f-----g rose?!" Salley said when she left Clayton's room to think. "I'm torn in half."
After contemplating her next move for a few minutes, Salley decided to leave. She noted that she wasn't ready to move on following the end of her engagement, even though Clayton was "the nicest guy" she had ever met.
Since Clayton and Salley had an immediate bond, and the 26-year-old was clearly conflicted about what to do, many fans of the show have been wondering if she will come back at some point in the future.
Though unexpected returns following eliminations have become common in recent years on the franchise (like past stars Luke Parker, Ed Swiderski, Bennett Jordan, Ben Smith, and Alayah Benavidez), it does not appear as if Salley will be joining the ranks.
Based on the spoilers for the season on Reality Steve, Salley does not participate in the rest of the season, nor does she make it to any of the rose ceremonies. There is always a chance that she could return for some sort of discussion with Clayton, but this has not been included in the speculation surrounding Season 26.
Salley Carson broke up with her ex-fiancé shortly before she went on 'The Bachelor.'
As Salley mentioned to Clayton, she was supposed to get married on the day that the limo entrances filmed, which was Sept. 26, 2021. The Season 26 contestant was previously engaged to Avery Buchholz, a neurosurgeon based in Charlottesville, Va.
While Salley did not discuss the timeline of her relationship and her split on the show, she only called off her engagement at the end of August 2021 (which was also around the time she had her bachelorette party in Mexico).
Salley also didn't share much about why she broke up with her fiancé, but a source told The Sun that there was infidelity on Avery's part (this has yet to be corroborated publicly by either of the exes).
"It was not a mutual decision, Salley ended it. There was infidelity on his part, he was unfaithful and that’s when things ended for good," the source stated about the split.
Though she originally hoped that she could "heal" from the break-up by participating in the show, it ultimately proved to be too much for Salley.
Her time on The Bachelor has come to an end, but the compelling story regarding her engagement would make her an ideal fit for Bachelor in Paradise.
The Bachelor airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.