‘The Bachelor’ alum Clayton Echard wins paternity case, woman ordered to pay his legal fees

Reality

The Bachelor alum Clayton Echard has won the paternity case filed by a woman who had claimed to be pregnant with his twins as a result of a one-night stand.

According to court documents, an Arizona judge issued a decision on Tuesday, June 18, that ruled against Laura Owens, who had claimed to be pregnant with Clayton’s children.

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“Based on a lack of confirmed pregnancy and repetitive [fetal DNA screening] results of ‘little to no fetal DNA,’ the Court cannot establish the Petitioner was pregnant,” judge Julie Ann Mata wrote in her written ruling.

“The Court cannot establish paternity of a nonconfirmed pregnancy lacking DNA evidence despite testing twice. Here, two test results of ‘little to no fetal DNA’ fall woefully short of the 95% required to meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence that Respondent was the father of Petitioner’s alleged pregnancy.”

The judge also found that Laura “acted unreasonably in the litigation” when she initiated litigation “without basis or merit.”

“Without an authentic ultrasound, sonogram, physical examination, and in conjunction with a belief she passed tissue in July 2023, the Court finds the underlying Petition premature at best. At worst, however, fraudulent and made to incite communication, a relationship, or both, with [Clayton],” she wrote in her decision.

“The court further finds that filing a motion seeking mediation for the purpose of telling [Clayton] that the pregnancies were not viable disingenuous at best but certainly misleading to the Court.”

The judge also determined Laura “knowingly presented a false claim” and “knowingly violated a court order compelling disclosure or discovery such that an award of attorney fees and costs is appropriate.”

“The petition was not grounded in fact or based on law,” the ruling states. “The petition was filed for an improper purpose, such as to harass the other party, to cause an unnecessary delay or to increase the cost of litigation to the other party.”

Since the court sided with The Bachelor’s Season 26 star, Clayton has been granted his Petition for Non-Paternity and Laura has been ordered to pay his attorney fees.

Clayton previously claimed that multiple men had reached out to him on social media alleging to have also been targeted by Laura’s pregnancy allegations, and so the judge is also referring the matter to Arizona’s attorney general for further investigation and possible criminal charges to be brought against Laura.

The documents disclose, “It is further ordered, the Court having determined that Laura Owens has a pattern of similar, if not identical behavior, and court involvement, referring this matter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review of Laura Owen’s actions.”

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Clayton’s lawyer Gregg Woodnick told Us Weekly in a statement, “We are pleased with the outcome and Judge Mata’s thorough ruling. We hope this is the end of a long saga for all the victims.”

During a court hearing on Monday, June 10, Clayton claimed that Laura had “fabricated her pregnancy” and that they “never had sexual intercourse” to begin with.

Clayton and Laura’s hearing occurred nearly a year after Laura, who had wished to remain anonymous at the time initial reports of the lawsuit surfaced, accused the former The Bachelor star of impregnating her with twin babies during a one-night stand on May 20, 2023, according to prior reports published by The Sun and Page Six.

Laura filed paperwork on August 1, 2023 alleging she and Clayton had “engaged in sexual activity” earlier that year, and she requested that he take a paternity test.

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Laura claimed that Clayton had denied he was the father of her children and demanded that she prove her pregnancy by taking at-home pregnancy tests.

According to Laura, Clayton then spent the next several months accusing her of lying, blocking her phone number, and refusing her requests that he take a paternity test.

In addition to a paternity test, the lawsuit also requested the court set up a parenting plan if the paternity test showed Clayton is the father of the unborn children.

Clayton responded to the woman’s lawsuit in a court filing three weeks later on August 21, claiming he was the one who had repeatedly requested a paternity test paid by the woman and alleging that the case was “groundless and lacking in merit” because they “never had sexual intercourse.” In addition, he also requested the woman be ordered to pay his attorney’s fees.

When reached by The Sun for comment, Clayton told the website, “My response is in the court documents. I’m not giving it the time of day because it’s baseless. We did not have sexual intercourse.”

In addition, Clayton also told The Sun he planned to sue the woman and claimed she was trying to get him to date her.

Clayton attempted to prove his cooperation by posting a receipt from a paternity test he had taken from a DNA testing company via Instagram Stories the following month in September 2023, Us reported.

And then in October 2023, Clayton revealed that his paternity test results concluded he was not the father of her children.

“They said little to no fetal DNA present. Let’s go baby!” Clayton celebrated in an Instagram video. “I knew that was going to happen and thankfully five months of torture can finally be put to rest.”

Laura, however, claimed in a statement to Us at the time that Clayton was “lying” about the test results.

“I just heard from the lab. Here is the relevant part of the [phone] call. Regardless of what Clayton says, the test is not inconclusive. The ‘testing is ongoing’ because they said that there was an issue with my sample and that they need another sample from me.”

Woodnick Law, PLLC issued a press release in March 2024 on Clayton’s behalf, claiming Laura’s “faux pregnancy” was a “sham” created to spread false information to news outlets about Clayton after he refused to “enter into her ‘dating contract'” and not meeting to “discuss a parenting plan for the pretend twins.”

The statement also accused Laura of “fabricating pregnancies and doctoring medical evidence as a means to extort relationships several times, dating back ten (10) years.” Laura allegedly falsely stated, for example, that doctors had confirmed her pregnancy.

“After failing to appear at her deposition,” the press release continued, “the Court set a status hearing. At the status hearing, the world learned that she claimed she miscarried before her November testimony. L.O. was deposed on 3/1/24.”

According to Mata’s 19-page ruling, Laura ultimately admitted she had altered multiple tests to show higher, viable hCG numbers. She also confessed to having shown Clayton an old sonogram from a YouTube video that had been posted seven years ago.

Laura claimed she first contacted Clayton — who became real-estate agent earlier that year — because she was looking to buy a short-term rental property in Spring 2023.

“Clayton and I met for the first time and hooked up,” she wrote in a court filing, according to The Sun. “I hadn’t been with anyone since March of 2022 after being raped and violently assaulted and was not on birth control.”

“I spent the night at Clayton’s apartment, then looked at the houses with him the following morning. Afterwards, he took me aside and said he wasn’t ready for anything serious because The Bachelor had really destroyed his mental health.”

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Twelve days later, according to Page Six, the filing claimed Laura visited an urgent care facility and confirmed she was pregnant after two prior at-home pregnancy tests had come back positive.

She then allegedly immediately sent Clayton a copy of urgent care facility’s June 1 test — resulting in The Bachelor alum responding that he didn’t believe she was pregnant and sending her a series of “erratic, illogical and threatening” messages.

The messages — screenshots of which were included in the lawsuit — reportedly included comments such as, “I don’t believe you for a second,” “I legitimately hate you right now,” “You have lost your mind and I hope YOU think about how terrible this is that you would subject me to this,” “My hatred will only grow if you decide to put me through all of this,” and “My personal hell would be having to have you be a part of my life.”

However, on June 17, Laura agreed to go back over to Clayton’s apartment and urinate in front of him to take another pregnancy test he had purchased himself.

When that test also came back positive, Clayton said he no longer believed Laura wasn’t pregnant but still continued to insist he could not be the father as they only had oral sex.

“I wanted you to come over to confirm what I was doubting. And it did confirm that. So, I don’t see you as a liar anymore,” he reportedly wrote in a message included in court filings.

However, Clayton then allegedly told Laura that even if he somehow was the father, he wanted nothing to do the child and urged her to have an abortion.

“I would like for you to get an abortion (if you are pregnant with my child, which I still don’t believe, but it doesn’t really matter either way),” he allegedly wrote the woman, according to The Post.

“If you do not, that’s your choice. Then, in that case, if it ends up being my child, I have decided that either you’ll take 100% custody of the child, or it will be put up for adoption. I will not be raising it in any capacity.”

Laura reportedly also claimed Clayton then went through “periods of silence and him blocking [her phone number]” and accused her of “taking fertility drugs or weight loss pills that altered the results” and even suggested her anti-epileptic medications were the cause of the positive result.

“Clayton’s behavior since [the pregnancy test] has been cold and heartless,” she wrote in her filing, The Sun reported.

“He has come up with bizarre scenarios where he has claimed that I only wanted to explore a relationship with him because I wasn’t actually pregnant, but wanted to get pregnant with his child during that time, even though I had been very clear that I had no expectations of having sex with him if we did.”

“He then said that my anti-epileptic meds made me test positive (which I quickly disproved), or maybe I was taking fertility drugs or weight loss pills that altered the results.”

She allegedly “offered more than 50 times in writing” for Clayton to take a prenatal paternity test at the place of his choosing and eventually paid a $725 deposit for him to take a test on August 23, 2022, only for The Bachelor alum to eventually refuse and force her to cancel the appointment.

The day before she filed her paternity lawsuit, Laura had also sent a letter to the Scottsdale Police Department claiming she was concerned for her safety.

The subject of the July 31 email, which was filed with her lawsuit and obtained by The Sun, was “Threats, intimidation, verbal abuse, endangerment and extortion from Clayton Echard.”

In the email, Laura reportedly wrote: “When I told him I was pregnant, he started writing erratic, illogical and threatening messages. He has been clear that being a father has not been in his life plan and would get in the way of his dating and professional life.”

It then continued: “I am very concerned about my safety and I don’t know what actions Clayton will take because he is so volatile, controlling, demeaning and hateful. I have asked him on many occasions to reassure me that he will not hurt me or our unborn babies, and he will not respond to that simple question. I told him I would file a police report if he didn’t.”

In addition, Laura’s lawsuit also accused Clayton of repeatedly trying to “gaslight” her.

“He gave me the reasons why he felt that I was not the woman for him, like because he had had a dream years ago where he was at a park with his wife and she was blond,” she wrote in the filing, according to The Sun.

“I’m a brunette, so it clearly wasn’t me… He also said that he was attracted to ethnic women, and as a petite white girl, I was not his type… He said that having a baby would impact our individual dating lives and that he always ‘swiped left on women with children.'”

“Clayton’s main concern at this point is his image, and he has decided to try to convince the public that he is a changed man from who he was on The Bachelor. He is a self-centered, unchanged man whose main goal is to get on Dancing with the Stars. He even threatened to sue me if I went public and that meant that he was not invited on the show.”

Clayton sought to have Laura’s protective order “invalidated” in court “based on the alleged fabrication,” the documents state, while Laura argued that even if she was never pregnant, “the sexual activity between the two, and [Clayton’s] subsequent harassing online conduct” were sufficient to sustain the order regardless.

Clayton starred on Season 26 of The Bachelor, which was filming in late 2021 and aired on ABC in early 2022.

Clayton picked Susie Evans as his final bachelorette, however Susie rejected Clayton when the season’s Final Rose Ceremony was filmed in November 2021, saying she didn’t think he was her “person” after having learned he had slept with both Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia.

Clayton and Susie then reunited after filming ended and were dating when The Bachelor season’s After the Final Rose special aired on ABC in March 2022, but announced their split about six months later in September 2022.

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About The Author:
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski

Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.

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