Bachelorette contestant Zac Clark captivated fans with his moving backstory during Tuesday's episode of the ABC reality show.
Zac, 36, and Tayshia Adams, 30, embarked on a one-on-one date at the start of the episode, during which they took wedding photos as a bride and groom and then sat down for a romantic meal.
Though Tayshia was nervous about being back in a wedding dress after her first marriage ended in divorce, Zac quelled her fears and made her feel comfortable throughout the photoshoot, leading Tayshia to wonder about the possibility of actually marrying him.
"It didn't scare me," she said in an on-camera interview. "It didn't scare me at all."
As his romance with Tayshia moves forward, here's everything to know about Zac, from his past struggles to how he made it on The Bachelorette in the first place.
He’s been through a lot.
As he told Tayshia on the show, Zac struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction after he had to have surgery on a brain tumor upon graduating from college.
During the dinner portion of their date, Zac opened up to Tayshia about his past, including how recovering from the tumor exposed him to pain medication and led him to start drinking. He also got married during that time.
"I was hanging out with some sketchy people," he said, explaining that he went on to get arrested, got a DUI and was left by his wife.
"For the next eight months, it got pretty gnarly in a bad way. Scary," he recalled. "It was touch and go. Moments of, 'I'm not sure if I'm going to make it to tomorrow.'"
He turned his life around, however, after a bank teller called his dad to come to pick him up from the bank, where Zac was attempting to withdraw money from his father's account.
"That moment had some type of spiritual, crazy moment of clarity," he said, explaining that he then went to rehab for four and a half months, and now serves on the board of the same facility where he recovered.
"I believe in miracles. I shouldn't be sitting here," Zac told the cameras. "So if I know that I'm a miracle, then who's to tell me that I can't come on a TV show in the middle of a national pandemic and find love with someone as amazing as Tayshia? No one. I won't let them."
He has used his experience with addiction to help others.
In 2017, Zac founded Release Recovery with partner Justin Garland, an addiction treatment center and transitional living facility in Westchester, New York.
Since then, they have also opened separate centers for men and women in New York City.
"Release is more than just a place to live," their website states. "Release is a community dedicated to helping clients discover their potentials and live their best lives."
New York State Sen. Shelley Mayer visited the center last year, according to a post on Zac's Instagram page. "I guarantee lives will be saved as a result of today's inspiring conversation," he wrote alongside photos from the visit.
He hails from the Garden State.
Zac is originally from Haddonfield, New Jersey, where he grew up "in an amazing home with an amazing family," he told Tayshia during their date.
In college, Zac played baseball and initially intended to pursue a career in sports. Though that dream never worked out, he's still a major sports fan — particularly for the Philadelphia Eagles.
His sister signed him up for The Bachelorette.
Zac wasn't kidding about having a supportive family.
According to a recent Instagram post, his sister, Kat, was the one who first signed him up to be on The Bachelorette.
"Who needs a dating app when you have @katcannici?" he captioned the post, a screenshot of a text message exchange between him and his sister.
In the exchange, Kat asked him his height and weight for the application (6-foot-1 and 182 lbs., for those wondering) to which Zac asked if she was finding him a date. "I'm gonna send an app in for Bachelorette," she replied. "They're recasting."
"Better be funny," he replied — and the rest is history.
He’s a six-time marathon runner.
Though Zac never pursued sports professionally, he has remained an athlete throughout his life, completing his sixth marathon in November 2019.
The reality star also uses the opportunity to raise money for the treatment center he attended and now serves on the board of, Caron Treatment.
"To me, the NYC Marathon embodies something that our nation needs more of: LOVE," he wrote in a 2018 post about an upcoming race. "It is the one day of the year that the entire city comes together and cheers for the same team."
He gives back.
In addition to raising money through his marathons, Zac is committed to giving back in other ways. In October, he helped raise $450,000 for Caron Treatment, alongside former NFL star Peyton Manning.
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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