It’s impossible to watch just one episode of The Bachelor. The reality show has become a guilty pleasure for fans who can’t get enough of the juicy drama! After watching The Bachelor, that’s it; you’re immediately hooked. You will end up watching all of the Bachelor franchise shows, including The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Winter Games, Bachelor Pad, and the most recent spin-off, The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.
Although Listen to Your Heart was a nice quarantine surprise, fans were disappointed that Paradise didn’t happen and can’t wait to see their favorite contestants show up on the beach next summer. Now that Taysha’s season of the Bachelorette wrapped, the first Black Bachelor, Matt James, just started his journey. Due to the pandemic, the Bachelor franchise had its biggest off-air break in the history of the show. Now that it’s finally back on track, Bachelor Nation is so excited to tune in each week.
But while you’re waiting for next week’s episode, here are some secrets you may not have known about The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
Let the “Journey” Begin
The Bachelor and Bachelorette are on an exciting journey to find love, and they keep reminding us. We constantly hear contestants refer to this experience as a “journey,” and it’s no accident. The show actually encourages everyone to use that word. Apparently, they aren’t allowed to use words such as “process” or “experience.”
In fact, Sean Lowe, the Season 17 Bachelor, revealed to Glamour that if the contestants say “process” by mistake, producers will not use the footage and make them retape it using the word “journey” instead.
Shopping for the Show
When we watch the girls walk out of the limousine and meet the Bachelor, they look incredible! Their hair is shiny, their skin is glowing, and they are wearing incredible, glamorous gowns. They also have cool, trendy outfits that they make sure to wear whenever the camera is rolling.
Unfortunately, these fashionable outfits are not courtesy of the show’s wardrobe departments. Every contestant has to bring their own clothes. The only time ABC provides the dresses are is in the finale when the last two contestants wear gowns. Reportedly, a lot of the contestants got into deep debt shopping for the show.
Applicants Need to Take Several Tests
“The Bachelor” doesn’t just give spots out to any pretty face; there is a process that takes place before they are even considered. After filling out an extensive application, which includes pictures and videos, the contestants who land an audition still have more to do.
They have grueling interviews and psychological evaluations. I don’t know how accurate these evaluations are because we have seen some pretty crazy contestants on the show. They also need to take personality tests and medical exams that include STD tests, of course. Lastly, contestants have to go through background checks by a private investigator.
Bring Your Own Protection
The fantasy suite week is one of the show’s big episodes. Viewers can’t wait to see which final contestant the Bachelor or Bachelorette will pick for an intimate, romantic rendezvouswith no cameras. Producers may draw a bubble bath or bring the couple champagne to make the moment even more romantic.
However, they might forget one little but extremely important item. Courtney Robertson, the Bachelor villain and the winner revealed that condoms were not provided when she stayed in the fantasy suite. However, other contestants said that producers made sure they had a bowlful.
The Rose Ceremonies Go All Night
For viewers, the Rose Ceremony only lasts a few minutes. But with perfectly timed commercials and suspenseful cliffhangers, it seems drawn out to folks watching at home, but that’s nothing compared to what the contestants go through.
In reality, the Rose Ceremonies last way longer than you would assume. The contestants have to stand there in complete suspense and fear for hours! They have been known to last from the evening up until the next morning.
The Rings Are Real
Say what you want about The Bachelor franchise, but the one thing you can’t deny is how stunning the engagement rings are. Those sparkly diamonds are every girl’s dream! Although it seems too good to be true, the jewelry is real and produced by Neil Lane Couture.
Neil Lane himself appears on the show and helps the men pick out rings. It’s been debated whether ABC pays for the ring, or if Neil Lane gives them the ring as a promotion for his jewelry company. Either way, the contestants don’t have to drop a penny for that beautiful rock.
But There’s a Catch
Although the bachelor may not have to pay for the ring, it doesn’t come easy. First off, not every season ends in a proposal, meaning – no ring. Whether it’s Neil Lane or ABC that is paying for the diamond, not every couple just gets to keep such an expensive piece of jewelry.
Obviously, they get the ring after the proposal, but a Neil Lane ring comes with some strings. If the couple breaks up within two years after the finale, they have to return the ring. Apparently, some couples purposely stay together for two years and then sell the ring. Sneaky, sneaky.
Be Sad and Give Me Some Tears!
It’s always disappointing when contestants leave, especially if it’s early on. However, once they get sent home, they seem eager to spill their guts. Do you ever wonder why they become unnaturally chatty? This is no accident.
Sean Lowe admitted that after his elimination, when he was in the car on the way back to the hotel, producers drove in circles until he opened up about his feelings, making a 10-minute ride much longer than it needed to be. Other contestants confessed that they play sad music and do just about anything to get tears and raw emotion out of you.
The Bachelor Mansion Is a Family Home
The Bachelor mansion is stunning. It seems like the contestants get to live in a palace while on the show. But the house isn’t just sitting there empty when the show isn’t being filmed. In fact, neither the network nor the Bachelor franchise even owns it.
The luxurious and famous Bachelor mansion is actually a real family home. The residence belongs to a family of four. However, they move out twice a year and rent their home to ABC. So, next time you see the luxurious home, remember: an ordinary family lives there.
Chris Harrison Has His Opinions
Chris Harrison is a huge part of the Bachelor franchise. The man does it all: He acts as the host, confidant, and a relationship counselor to the lead as well as the contestants. He offers encouraging advice and is known to share his personal thoughts after the fact.
For example, in 2015, he revealed which Bachelor or Bachelorette he believed chose the wrong person. He thought Andi Dorfman shouldn’t have picked Josh Murray and also didn’t see the relationship between Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi going anywhere. He turned out to be right.
It Gets Boring
It looks like the contestants have a really nice life while at the mansion. With all the traveling (pre-Corona), exciting activities, glamourous dates, and roses, it seems like a dream vacation to me. However, it’s kind of boring.
In addition to leaving their jobs and families, the contestants aren’t allowed any contact with the outside world. Unfortunately, they are forced to spend most of their time stuck in the mansion. Don’t get me wrong, the mansion is amazing, but while the lead is off on one-on-one dates, the contestants are left to entertain themselves.
No Entertainment Allowed
One of the biggest reasons the mansion get so boring is because they don’t really have many ways to amuse themselves. As we know, they have no cellphones or Internet access, but objects that seem less harmless are also forbidden.
There is no television, which also means no movies. That’s right, they can’t chill and watch a movie while the lead is off on a date. They also can’t listen to music, and books were also big no-nos for a while. It’s unclear whether books are allowed these days because contestants have mixed answers. But apparently, Bibles are allowed.
Only Two Suitcases
Since you can’t bring books or any fun gadgets, packing is a little lighter, which is helpful. Since each contestant is only allowed to bring two suitcases, it gives them just enough space for all their outfits. But veteran contestants advise newcomers not to pack to light…
Depending on how long they stay, contestants need all kinds of different looks because nobody wants to repeat an outfit on TV. However, it could be quite embarrassing to bring two full suitcases if you get sent home on the first night.
Not Everyone Makes Money
If you leave your job, family, and pretty much your entire life to go on a reality show, it better be worth it! I mean, they are living out of suitcases, being edited on TV, and uncertain about what the future holds. On the bright side, at least they are making major cash, right?
Not necessarily. Unless you are the lead Bachelor or Bachelorette, you don’t get a dime as a contestant. The only time a previous contestant will get paid is if they are hired to make an appearance on the show. Some people gain followers, which earns them sponsorship money. But the forgettable contestants walk away with nothing.
Not making an income after leaving your life for a reality show can be extremely disappointing, especially after the amount of money the cast spends on new makeup and outfits for the show. Contestants have admitted to going into debt shopping for the show.
Becca Tilley, who was on two seasons of the show, revealed how she found creative ways to keep her pre-filming spending under control. She said that she borrowed clothes from friends and went to Forever 21 for cute outfits instead of wearing expensive designer clothes.
Cameras Don’t Stop Rolling
If you want to apply for the show, just remember that you need to sign a contract agreeing to be filmed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s right, you are giving ABC full permission to film you at any time, and they can use whatever embarrassing footage they want against you.
But it’s not just the cameras you see that you need to watch out for. The contract also informs contestants that hidden cameras and microphones are not off-limits. So basically, no privacy whatsoever. Be ready for anything.
Hometowns Are Not What You Think
Bringing your potential future spouse home to meet the family is an exciting and nerve-wracking moment in any relationship. The Bachelor isn’t really an exception. The nerves and emotions are all there, but there is one small difference between hometown dates on the bachelor and meeting your potential life-partner’s family in real life.
Although they are called “hometown dates,” they don’t necessarily take place at the family’s actual home. The show often rents or even borrows houses to feature in the episode. Ever wonder why they all have such nice houses? The show usually brings the “home-cooked” meals as well.
Speaking of homes, the contestant’s worlds completely change after the show, as they are adjusting back into society and their normal lives. For starters, they may have to find a new job because they gave up their old ones to be on the show.
They also can’t speak about their “journey” until the season finale and can get sued if they do. They suddenly have so much attention on them. Between a ton of new followers and all their embarrassing moments on screen, adjusting to life in the limelight might take a while.
ABC Might Pay for Your Wedding
The same way the network pays for the engagement ring, ABC may also foot the bill for a “Bachelor” wedding. It’s no secret that the Bachelor franchise is extremely popular. The reason they continue to make spin-offs is that people keep tuning in.
A televised Bachelor wedding can only mean one thing: more viewers, which means more money for the network. So, if a Bachelor couple wants to tie the knot on screen, ABC will pay for everything and give the newlyweds a hefty paycheck to start their lives together.
No Eating… on Camera…
The one-on-one dates on the Bachelor are absolutely amazing. I mean, how do you not fall in love after a helicopter ride and then champagne in a hot tub?! These extravagant dates end with dinner, and the food looks absolutely divine every time.
But the truth about these uber-romantic dinner dates is that neither of the contestants touches the food. In fact, they are fed before the date. The reason is that apparently, nobody looks good while stuffing their face. If there is one thing the show takes very seriously, it’s making sure everyone looks attractive… at least most of the time.
The Limo Order Matters
From the beginning, producers seem to have an idea of which contestants would be the most popular and the best fit for the lead. Think about it: It’s all in the casting. They make sure there are some crazies for drama, but they are also aware that there is no way the bachelor will end up with some of these women.
It’s usually the strange or unmemorable contestants that come out last, while the front runners are seen first. According to former Bachelor Sean Lowe, the limo order does matter. It can give contestants a leg up.
Emotions Are Real, Even at the Beginning
The Bachelor is no stranger to extreme emotional reactions from contestants, especially those who are rejected during a Rose Ceremony. This mostly happens when someone gets sent home on the first night or early on in the season. Former contestant Kaitlyn Bristowe revealed why in a Tweet:
“Imagine going into debt from packing suitcases of cute outfits, getting in a limo to meet the man of your dreams, having a few cocktails in a mansion… to be told Nah, I have like 20 other girls to choose from, then hopping on the bus of shame at 8 a.m. You would cry too.”
The Final Four
While watching from home, there is so much romance, drama, and emotion leading up to the final four contestants. But that’s not the reality of the situation. There is a lot of editing that goes into making it look like stiff competition, but that’s not really the case.
If you’re filled in a room with over 30 potential partners, you likely know who you like and who has no shot from the beginning. Bachelorette winner, Jesse Csinsak, admitted that the show picks the final four on night one.
Just because the contestants get to live in a luxurious mansion doesn’t mean they get to be treated like royalty. In fact, their life isn’t as extravagant as you would think. First off, they sleep in shared rooms in bunk beds! In addition, they have to cook and clean after themselves and do their own laundry.
There is also no gym, so contestants really have to find creative ways to stay in shape. They probably want to keep their bikini bodies, considering chances are most of them are going to end up on Bachelor in Paradise.
Drinks, Drinks, and More Drinks!
On the first night, the contestants are given wine. There are drinks available at the mansion, group dates, and there is almost always a nice bottle of champagne during a one-on-one date. It makes sense that drinks are poured in the house all day. It’s not like the contestant have anything else to do.
As we know, alcohol also helps people loosen up and open up. Former contestant Leslie Hughes told The Daily Beast, “It’s how they get you to be more talkative, more sensitive.” The producers on this show are smart and definitely know what they are doing.
They Don’t Drink Thaaaat Much
In Season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise, there were sexual misconduct allegations that were taken very seriously. Since then, all Bachelor Nation shows limit the alcohol consumption permitted to two drinks an hour (which contestants learn how to get around). Host Chris Harrison said he never intentionally tried to get contestants drunk.
“That’s a big misconception of the show,” Chris admitted to The Hollywood Reporter. “That we push it, and that we need it, and we want it. But that really doesn’t help us. Someone being sloppy drunk and being out of it does not give us good television.”
The lead Bachelor or Bachelorette isn’t the only one whom contestants fall for. One of the main reasons the contestants are isolated from the world with no entertainment is so that they can focus all their attention on the star. But naturally, they get to know some of the folks working on the show.
Bachelor Jamie Otis revealed to Women’s Health that she personally watched relationships form between girls in the house and producers: “There are more of these producer/contestant relationships than viewers realize. They’re always kept hush-hush.”
They Barely Know Each Other
When it comes to falling in love, there are no rules. People meet under the craziest circumstances and somehow figure out a way to make it work. But most of us can agree on one thing; it takes a little while to truly get to know someone, but on The Bachelor, they fall in love in a matter of weeks!
Former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky discussed the limited time on her E! blog: “Honestly, everyone I’ve met from this show admits that they didn’t actually fall in love on the show but after the show. Why? Because you don’t really know the person when you’re on the show. You spend a total of 12 hours together in the first two months of the show and it’s under very strange circumstances.”
Participation Is Mandatory
Some of the dates we see on The Bachelor look like an absolute dream: Hot tubs in the middle of the desert, bungee jumping in a foreign country, or zip-lining through the jungle. In high adrenaline scenarios like this, the real question is, how do you not fall in love?
But sometimes, the dates can get pretty crazy, especially group dates. The group dates involve a lot of people and are usually some kind of uncomfortable or even dangerous competition, but everyone needs to participate according to the contract: “Applicants must sign a release attesting to the fact that the applicant understands and knowingly and willingly agrees to assume such risks.”
They Can’t Remember Everyone’s Names
So, the big question is how in the world does the lead remember everyone’s name?! Especially early on in the season when there are like 30 contestants competing for their heart. Well, the truth is, they don’t actually remember everyone’s name. In fact, they may not even remember all their faces.
Ali Fedotowsky revealed in her blog that producers are always nearby with flashcards with the names and photos of each contestant, so the lead won’t embarrass themselves or one of the people fighting for their love. Now things are starting to make a little more sense.
You’re Gonna Have to Freeze
The producers go to great lengths in order to make everything appear perfect on screen. We already mentioned that the contestants can’t eat on the dates because it doesn’t look attractive. Well, neither do oversized jackets, apparently. They don’t want footage of “a small woman draped in an enormous blazer.”
During the premiere of Colton Underwood’s season, a contestant said, “I love freezing,” and a producer stopped the Bachelor from giving her his jacket. Also, in Peter Weber’s season, Madison Prewett said, “it’s frickin’ cold out here,” but Peter didn’t give her his coat.
Goodbye Job, Hello Reality-TV
We mentioned how you pretty much have to drop your life to be on the show. Season 20 contestant Olivia Caridi admitted that she had to quit her job: “I did not give up my career. I am confident that I will get another job in broadcast news to continue my career in the television news industry.”
She wasn’t the only one. Bachelorette contestant JJ Lane said he was struggling to find a job after the show: “I didn’t understand the magnitude of the show and how hard it is to get a real job right after. Everyone knows who you are, and employers see it as a distraction.”
Doesn’t Pay the Bills
There are many reasons contestants sign up for The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Some people are looking for fame, fortune, true love, or a combination of all of it. If I had the guts, dating on reality TV actually kind of sounds like fun. However, I don’t know if I’d be able to take it that seriously.
Anyway, as fun as it might seem, contestants don’t actually get paid to be on the show, so quitting your job and spending thousands on wardrobe isn’t always worth it, especially if you get sent home night one. The money comes from followers and social media, but ABC pays contestants nothing for just appearing on the show.
But the Lead Gets Over $100,000
The real money comes when you are the lead. The star of The Bachelor or Bachelorette makes a hefty $100,000, according to famous Bachelor spoiler, Reality Steve. Apparently, Emily Maynard was the highest-paid Bachelorette making a $250,000 paycheck, and the lowest-paid star was Ashley Hebret, who made a reported $30,000 (but Reality Steve said she made at least $100,000).
The real money comes after the show’s finale when the star and the winner are allowed to go public and make appearances on talk shows and reality shows. From Dancing with the Stars to Marriage Boot camp, you can see former Bachelor stars on TV.
The Average Age
In 2015, Alice Zhao figured out the average age of female contestants on The Bachelor on her blog A Dash of Data. The average age of female contestants was historically 26, while the actual Bachelor himself was 31.
Meanwhile, the average age of the Bachelorette is 27, while the contestants are 29 years old. I guess the results don’t come as a surprise. The late 20s and early 30s seem like the average age for someone to be ready to settle down and find their life partner. You can find Zhao’s full breakdown on her blog.
The Villa de la Vina
We already mentioned that ABC doesn’t actually own the famous mansion and that a family rents it out to the show for filming. The house is called Villa de la Vina and is owned by a 59-year-old man named Marshall Haraden. When they rent out the 7,500-square-foot mansion to the network, they take everything with them, including their furniture.
The family home sits on 10 acres of land in Agoura Hills, California. ABC uses the house for 42 days at a time, twice a year: once to film The Bachelor and the second time to shoot The Bachelorette.
Producer’s Plan Limo Gimmicks
Contestant Ashely Palenkas revealed that producers saw the book 50 Shades of Grey by her nightstand and decided to play it up. They asked Ashley to pretend she was obsessed with the story. According to Ashley, she hadn’t even finished reading the book.
Sean Lowe told Glamour, “I remember one of the producers said to me [before filming The Bachelorette], ‘You are going to be the first one out of the limo. I didn’t think much of it. But then he said, ‘Because you are first, everyone here thinks you are going to do well.’ They wanted to get the show started off on the right foot.”
No Contact With the Outside World
We know the contestants are isolated from the world, but the extent of it is extreme. Chris Harrison told Entertainment Weekly, “There’s no TV or Internet in the house – the whole thing is to be about the Bachelor and the show.” That’s why everyone is so in love… they have nothing else to focus on…
Ashleigh Hunt revealed in The Ashley’s Reality Roundup that “We are not allowed to speak to family or friends or until we get home. Phones and computers are taken away the day you get there. We [would] sit in the house or by the pool; it gets pretty boring.” She added, “You cannot leave the house, ever.”
They Give Gift Bags
We mentioned a lot of the downsides of becoming a contestant. From quitting your job to spending thousands on clothes, chances of actually finding love on the show are rare for the applicants. However, it’s not all bad. They get a nice gift bag when they arrive at the mansion.
The gift bags include sponsored items for the contestants to use or wear on TV. These fun items include bathing suits, yoga mats, and more! Considering sitting by the pool and yoga are pretty much the only things to do at the house, this gift bag is a useful surprise.
Fully Stocked Kitchen
Even though we don’t see much eating on screen, ABC makes sure everyone is fed. Contestant Katie Levans Lovelock said, “Oh my god, there’s so much food. And alcohol. It’s weird, but the mansion becomes your home so it’s kind of like a really jacked up a well-stocked sorority house. The pantry, fridge, freezer, etc. were all overflowing with food to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions.”
“I gained weight through the process. There’s a lot of food and alcohol at your disposal, which is hard,” Courtney Robertson revealed to Allure. “I usually tried to start drinking later in the night and watch myself. It can be stressful, though. I remember overdoing it one night and waking up with an empty bag of Doritos in my bed.”
It’s no secret that people are drinking on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. “It’s how they get you to be more talkative, more sensitive,” Leslie Hughes said. “When I came in for the producers’ weekend, I remember it was like 12 noon!’ and they’re like, ‘Welcome to the Bachelor family.’”
“A lot of people drink. If you are smart, you don’t drink that much! I was in the middle,” former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky said. So, you pretty much have unlimited alcohol. From beer, wine, champagne, and shots, there is something for everyone. After all, drinks mean more drama!
The Truth About the Fantasy Suites
Former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman came out with a book entitled Its Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After.” In it, she revealed that the Fantasy Dates are spread out over multiple weeks, not back-to-back as they appear on the show.
“What people likely don’t realize is that the Fantasy Suites are stretched out over a two-week time span,” she admitted to The Hollywood Reporter. “It does come in one quick episode, but this isn’t back-to-back like viewers see.” So, they aren’t immediately going from one fantasy suit to the next. That’s kind of a relief!
Not a Great Success Rate
No matter how much of a hopeless romantic you are, most of us understand that finding love on reality TV isn’t very realistic. I mean, the chances are already low for a contestant to get picked, but the chances of the happy couple staying together are even lower. In fact, only one couple from the show is still together, Season 17’s Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici.
Jason Mesnick technically met his wife Molly Maloney on the show; however, she wasn’t his winner. He dumped the winner, Melissa Rycroft, for the runner up, Molly. Similar to Ari’s season, where he dumped the winner, Becca Kufrin, for his now-wife, Lauren. Meanwhile, The Bachelorette has a higher success rate with six couples still together. That can change at any given moment with a surprise break up.
The Shiny Driveway
In the season premiere of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, we always see the contestants introduce themselves to the lead as they come out of the limo. But did you ever realize the driveway is super shiny? There is actually a reason for this.
Former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky gave us some of the most strangely specific fun facts about the show during a liveblog for E! The producers want it to look shiny, so they hose it down with water before filming to achieve that look. “It makes it look shiny and pretty! But if you have a long gown on, it gets soaked!” Ali confessed.
Producers Pick the Dates
The reason why everyone falls in love on these shows is because of the glamourous dates all around the world. How do you not fall in love while in a hot air balloon ride followed by a champagne picnic on the beach? Well, that’s the trick; these dates are designed to make you fall in love.
If someone took me on a romantic helicopter ride, I would want to marry them. The adrenaline plays tricks on your mind and associates the fun with the person, so you basically convince yourself that you are in love. Unfortunately, the leads aren’t that romantic, and as you can imagine, the producers pick the dates.