The Truth About Bachelorette Star Zac Clark's History With Addiction

Season 16 of popular reality TV show The Bachelorette premiered this week and, even for a show that's infamous for serving up steaming hot drama, this installment promises to be extra juicy. According to spoilers from blogger Reality Steve, the show's lead Clare Crawley departs early on with frontrunner Dale Moss, and is subsequently replaced with Tayshia Adams. (We guess it's true what they say —  women really do know what they want!)

If Reality Steve's spoilers are to be believed, we also know that Tayshia hits it off with one of Clare's contestants, Zac Clark. But just who is the man Bachelorette host Chris Harrison claims is "a really good guy" with "a heart of gold"? It turns out there's a lot more to Zac than just good looks and charm, including a troubling past with substance abuse that has inspired him to establish a sober living clinic. Here's the truth about Zac's history with addiction.

Zac Clark became addicted to pills and alcohol as a teenager

According to a 2014 Reading Eagle story, Zac Clark's addiction issues manifested at a young age and only worsened as he got older. After starting out with pills and alcohol, Zac graduated to more severe drugs like heroin and crack, at one point even voluntarily asking doctors to remove his gall bladder so that he could get his hands on more heavy duty prescription drugs. In the article, Zac candidly discussed his dark spiral. From trying to figure out how to get drugs during his honeymoon — yes, like Clare Crawley's rumored Bachelorette replacement, Tayshia Adams, Zac's been married before — to an eight-month drug binge that culminated in his arrest for crack possession and driving while intoxicated, Zac now owns his past behaviors.

"I had the numbers of five people who I could call at any time and buy their extra doses off them," he admitted. But there's a silver lining to this tale! After hitting rock bottom, Zac spent four-and-a-half months in a treatment center, which equipped him with the tools he needed to start afresh and rebuild his life. "I was proudly discharged without taking any medications," he shared. And he's spent his sober years trying to help others who are in the throes of addiction, too.

Zac Clark got clean and has since devoted his life to helping others

Zac Clark's road to sobriety is nothing short of inspirational. For over a decade now, the New Jersey native has channeled his powerful story for the greater good, helping other addicts to shed self-destructive habits and move forward in a positive direction.

In 2017, Zac co-founded Release Recovery, a transitional living facility in New York that prioritizes connection and community for addicts hoping to get clean. The program also cultivates relationships with addiction specialists and consults with families who want to help to help their loved ones reintegrate back into the world following rehab.

On top of that, Clark regularly competes in marathons to raise money and awareness towards addiction and mental health issues. According to the official ABC bio, his work with the recovery program "has become his life's purpose." His profile continues, "He's never been in a better place, and now, he wants to continue building his amazing life." But will The Bachelorette be his ticket to another level of happiness?

Will Zac Clark find his happy ending?

While Zac Clark joined The Bachelorette cast to find love, as most do, his fate remains up in the air. Thanks to the combined chaos of the coronavirus pandemic, filming restrictions, and recasting, there are a lot of unknowns moving forward. But Reality Steve has proven he's the gift that keeps on giving by, once again, coming through with spoilers that claim Zac makes it all the way to Tayshia Adams' final four. "I can report today that I'm almost positive Tayshia's final four are Ben Smith, Zac Clark, Brendan Morais, and Ivan Hall," the blogger wrote on his website.

While we don't know yet who Tayshia picks to be her future husband, early speculation is that this season's ending is "messy." Could it be any messier than The Bachelor's dramatic season 22 finale, which featured Arie Luyendyk Jr. proposing to Becca Kufrin, only to then change his mind and dump her on camera for Lauren Burnham a mere few weeks later? Only time will tell. Be sure to keep an eye out for Zac, who's believed to play an important role throughout the entire rollercoaster season. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).