Who Is Zac Clark, the 'Bachelorette' Frontrunner With a Courageous Backstory?

He's in recovery and runs a sober living facility in New York.

Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark
(Image credit: Craig Sjodin / Getty Images)

Spoilers for this season of The Bachelorette. A lot has happened on The Bachelorette this season, to put it mildly. After Clare Crawley left her own season to be with contestant Dale Moss, Bachelor Nation favorite Tayshia Adams stepped in to take over (you can read full spoilers for the season here if you're curious). One contestant who survived elimination rounds from Crawley and later became important to Adams is Zac Clark. He has a courageous and kind of unconventional story for a contestant—he's been sober for many years, and his life's work is devoted to helping others like him, including the sober living facility in New York he cofounded to help people in recovery. Here's what we know about him as of this moment (and this post includes spoilers at the end, so don't read the subsection if you don't want to know, please!).

Where is Zac from?

Clark is from Haddonfield, New Jersey. Given that his facility is in upstate New York, he likely lives close by. That's a long way from Adams, who is from Orange County, California.

He played baseball in college and initially intended to pursue a career in sports. According to his official ABC bio, he's still very much into Philly sports, particularly the Eagles, and he still celebrates sports events with his family. Like Adams, Clark was married once, but got divorced.

His love for his family appears all over his social media:

Per a recent Instagram, Zac was actually nominated for The Bachelorette by a friend of his:

What does Zac do?

In a Reading Eagle article initially spotted by Reality Steve, Clark was already speaking out about his addiction and recovery in 2014. That article talks about his history—early addiction starting with alcohol as a kid, prescription meds like Adderall in college, morphine and other powerful prescribed drugs after a brain tumor removal, culminating in a voluntary removal of his gall bladder in order to get more prescriptions. He was arrested for possession of crack cocaine and driving while intoxicated and spent 4.5 months in a treatment center. From the article:

But the internal struggle continues even after treatment. "Don't let this suit fool you," he said. "I am a degenerate alcoholic and drug addict

Clark is now sober and has been working to help others for almost a decade. In this video, he talks about his experience and motivation, as well as his current work:

Clark founded Release Recovery in 2017 with his cofounder Justin Gurland—a 17-bed transitional living facility in West Chester, NY, that focuses on connection and community for addicts hoping to get into recovery. They also have a center for women in New York on the Upper East Side and opened a Men's Program in New York in 2020. They also consult with families and individuals who need help and cultivate professional relationships with addiction specialists and mental health experts. Recently, they were visited by New York Senator Shelley Mayer:

In addition to that, Clark runs marathons to raise money and awareness about addiction and mental health—including proceeds that go to the treatment center he went to.

What happens to Zac on Tayshia's season?

Clark and Crawley never got much screen time together, but things really ramp up when he meets Adams. If you're not ready for the ending to be spoiled, stop reading.

Still here? Okay, here goes: Clark wins Adams' season, according to Reality Steve. He gets her final rose—but Reality Steve hasn't been sure if they get engaged, or even if they're still together. There's a suggestion that Adams might still hold a torch for another contestant, Brendan Morais, who leaves abruptly when he realizes he's not ready to jump into an engagement. Another contestant, Ben Smith, is eliminated but returns for the finale—but ultimately, Adams picks Clark.

Clarified Reality Steve before the finale:

"I’d be really shocked if she didn’t get engaged at the end of this thing. So that bit info was probably wrong. Tayshia has said the word husband and engaged so many times the last few episodes, it really makes no sense to get to the end and NOT have that. Hell, that’s only happened twice in the last almost 30 or so seasons – Juan Pablo and Colton’s. I just don’t see that happening here. So she definitely picked Zac and good chance they’re engaged."

Zac Clark pretending to propose to Tayshia Adams

Zac pretending to propose to Tayshia early in her season.

(Image credit: Craig Sjodin / Getty Images)

Adams, for her part, has made clear that she absolutely fell in love during her season, and given that we know that she hands Clark her final rose, it's safe to assume that they did fall hard for each other. But Adams has also said that she told multiple contestants "I love you," which might mean she loved Morais or others as well.

Writes RS: "As for where they stand now, that’s anybody’s guess. Some people have told me they aren’t together, some have told me they still are but it’s not that solid, and some have said it’s never gonna last. She’s a SoCal girl who wants to be an influencer. He runs a sober living facility in NY. So that’s where we stand at this point."

There's also the question of that quote-unquote "engagement ring" that Adams was spotted wearing on her Instagram Story. Reality Steve says: "I can’t imagine she’d be that stupid to take a pic with her ring on if she’s engaged, but, we’ve seen people spoil it in the past, so I guess it can’t be that unbelievable."

Tayshia Adams Instagram story

(Image credit: @tayshia / Instagram)

Either way, there will be no After The Final Rose this year because of quarantine precautions, so we may have to get the answers to all of our questions via a Zoom call between Chris Harrison and Adams and Clark—or, if they've broken up, a Zoom call between Harrison and each of them—which feels a little underwhelming. But we'll see!

Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.