ABC’s Bachelors and Bachelorettes have bared their souls for millions of viewers several months at a time as they tried (sometimes successfully) to find love, no matter if their seasons were the best or the worst. Many of the past leads of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette started out as regular people before suddenly finding themselves as minor celebrities with millions of followers on social media. Being thrust into the spotlight, even if the Bachelor stars signed up for it, is undoubtedly life-changing. We’ve seen former leads go on to join (and, in Hannah Brown’s case, win) Dancing With the Stars, host podcasts or even their own TV shows (we’re looking at you, Jojo and Jordan), and start their own companies (want one of Kaitlyn Bristowe’s $15 scrunchies, anyone?).
But aside from receiving new business opportunities on a silver platter and very smartly capitalizing on them, do The Bachelor and The Bachelorette stars change after their seasons? Well, it depends on who you ask.
Bachelor Ben Higgins tried to stay away from dating after his split from Lauren Bushnell
In 2016, Bachelor Ben Higgins proposed to Lauren Bushnell after breaking Jojo Fletcher’s heart. Unfortunately, despite his romantic proposal, the two didn’t make it down the aisle, as noted by People. Higgins hadn’t really been in the real-world dating game for well over two years, since he was on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Bachelorette season before becoming the Bachelor and meeting Bushnell. So how did he navigate single life after the show?
According to Elite Daily, Higgins said to himself, “I’m going to stay away from dating,” and he further acknowledged that he needed to get to know himself again after his Bachelor relationship didn’t end the way he originally planned. After a couple of years in the Bachelor world, Higgins had to find out who he was post-show.
In another interview with Entertainment Tonight, Higgins explained that being part of the Bachelor franchise showed him what exactly he needed in a woman. He told the interviewer, “I need somebody who’s like, ‘Ben, snap out of it, you’re not as low as you feel right now. You’re doing alright'” — someone who can offer him “reassurance” and support. Maybe he found that in Jess Clarke (via People)?
Jojo Fletcher is "very thankful" for The Bachelorette
At the end of her season of The Bachelorette, Jojo Fletcher gave her final rose to Jordan Rogers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always smooth sailing from there. According to People, Rogers was plagued by scandal after scandal while the show was airing, and cheating accusations continued rolling in even after he had already moved in with Fletcher. Despite all of this, Fletcher told Us Weekly that she was “very thankful” for how The Bachelorette changed her life.
Since she spoke to Us Weekly in 2017, the wins have kept coming for the couple. After The Bachelorette, Fletcher and Rogers began renovating homes together, getting back to a level of normalcy that, according to the couple, helped them navigate their new relationship, as reported by E! News. The two turned that business into a renovation show on CNBC, Cash Pad. But despite all the career moves the couple has made since their time on The Bachelorette, the pair remains one of the franchise’s few successful couples.
Nick Viall will never return to the Bachelor franchise
Don’t expect Nick Viall to ever appear on a Bachelor Nation show again. The franchise veteran appeared on two different seasons of The Bachelorette, vying for both Andi Dorfman’s and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s hearts. Then, after a turn on Bachelor in Paradise, he went on to lead his own season of The Bachelor. Finally, it seemed, Viall was going to get his happy ending — or, at least, a shot at a happy ending.
However, just a few months after his proposal to Vanessa Grimaldi aired, the two announced their break-up, as reported by Entertainment Tonight. While Grimaldi didn’t turn out to be “The One” for Viall, he had already been on the show four times at that point, so why not try it again? Well, Viall told Us Weekly, “I’m definitely done with that,” with “that,” of course, being The Bachelor and all of its spin-offs. Viall also told Us Weekly he was thankful for the experience and the friends he made along the way, but it seems he wasn’t meant to find his future wife on the show.
Still though, according to Life & Style, Viall is aware of how much the show changed his life, telling the publication, “I wouldn’t have had the start that I had or the podcast [The Viall Files], obviously.”
Rachel Lindsay has used her new platform to highlight the Bachelor franchise's faults
As the first black lead in the entire Bachelor franchise history, Rachel Lindsay had a lot of pressure before she even started handing out roses. Despite being part of one of the franchise’s few successful couples, Lindsay has not been afraid to call out the show’s faults. As reported by USA Today, she’s been vocal about the show’s lack of diversity, and, according to The Hollywood Reporter, she’s pointed out how unfairly the ending of her season was edited.
But Lindsay hasn’t just been using her newfound voice and platform to get real about The Bachelor’s faults. She told Bustle, “I do a lot of speaking, especially at colleges, just about knowing your worth and knowing who you are. I love to speak to women in that regard.” She further explained that the show gave her this new platform and she wanted to use it to help others know their worth and further a message of empowerment.
Hannah Brown said she struggled in the aftermath of her Bachelorette season
The wounds from Hannah Brown’s Bachelorette season cut deep. After Brown fell in love with singer Jed Wyatt, outlets started reporting that Wyatt, whom Brown got engaged to at the end of her season, had a girlfriend before joining the show, as noted by People. The kicker? That girlfriend was allegedly waiting for him to come back so they could resume their relationship. In August 2019, shortly after all of this became public knowledge, Brown took to Instagram to share how she was doing. The answer? Not well.
In the post, Brown admitted she was “struggling” in the aftermath of her season, before then listing all of the ways her life had changed since competing on Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor and subsequently leading her own season of The Bachelorette. She also revealed that, after her season ended, she could “barely keep up with [her] own life.”
Since her Bachelorette season is over, hopefully Brown will have time to reflect on this phase of her life and all of the changes and can move forward.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. liked to date around before his time on The Bachelor
It’s hard to imagine a Bachelor more hated than Arie Luyendyk Jr. The Bachelor star infamously proposed to Becca Kufrin on his season’s final rose ceremony, only to break her heart by ending their engagement and going back to runner-up Lauren Burnham. Fans had to watch the entire soul-crushing thing unfold on TV, and, according to The Washington Post, people were super unhappy with Luyendyk after seeing how it all went down.
But Luyendyk’s shock ending might have been the best decision he ever made because it set him up with the life he has now with a wife, a daughter, and the kind of family most people only dream of having, as noted by E! News.
Before he started a family though, Luyendyk was a notorious player, a fact he freely admitted in an interview with GQ, saying, “What 36-year-old man hasn’t dated around if they’re single?” Fair enough, but, if his post-Bachelor life is any indication, those days are very much behind him.
Kaitlyn Bristowe said she has "PTSD" from The Bachelorette
Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette was rife with drama. Though her days of being the Bachelorette are long over, Bristowe revealed before the beginning of Peter Weber’s season that she still struggles to watch the show.
Bristowe was the subject of a lot of internet hate after sleeping with then-contestant Nick Viall before the fantasy suites, as reported by The Guardian. In her season’s Men Tell All episode, host Chris Harrison read some of the horrible tweets directed at Bristowe after the episode in which was seen getting intimate with Viall. If that wasn’t enough torment, Bristowe has also been outspoken about her lasting feud with The Bachelor executive Mike Fleiss, as noted by Us Weekly. While the full details are unknown, Bristowe has never been shy of explaining that Fleiss is the reason she wasn’t allowed to appear on Dancing With the Stars.
It’s not hard to understand that, even though Bristowe has made a lot of friends and lasting relationships through the show, Bachelor series are hard for her to watch these days. She revealed in an Instagram post that she questions “watching every season due to a little PTSD, overwhelming emotions, and knowing a little too much.”
Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky said she owes her life to the show
Former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky’s season was, in her own words, “another lifetime ago,” as reported by People. As the star of The Bachelorette‘s sixth season, Fedotowsky got engaged to Roberto Martinez, but, as is the case with many Bachelor franchise seasons, it wasn’t meant to be. Still, Fedotowsky told Parade that she is a “superfan” of the show.
Like many Bachelor franchise stars before and since her season, Fedotowsky enjoyed newfound stardom after her season ended — and that is what led her to her now-husband, according to E! News. The two met through a producer on a show Fedotowsky worked on after her Bachelorette season ended. While The Bachelor didn’t change her life by introducing her to her future husband, she did admit to Parade, “I know that I owe my life to the show.”
Now a blogger, Fedotowsky uses her post-show platform to share what she chooses about her life (via Parade).
Colton Underwood wasn't prepared for life after The Bachelor
The Bachelor host Chris Harrison often claims that each season will be the “most dramatic ever” and, well, after many, many seasons, it’s not often that the show delivers on that claim. Colton Underwood’s season, however, was certainly one of the most dramatic ones. From the beginning, it was clear that Underwood only had eyes for contestant Cassie Randolph. What wasn’t so clear, though, was how Randolph felt.
Ultimately, after Randolph decided to leave the show because she wasn’t ready for an engagement, Underwood stopped production to go after her. And the two eventually wound up together. But Underwood and Randolph struggled to adjust to life after The Bachelor. The former Bachelor told Us Weekly, “We went from these more simple, more normal lives and then all of a sudden, we film a show and then you’re thrown into craziness where everyone is very hyperaware of everything that goes on in your life and your relationship.”
Being put under a microscope and having their every move criticized would make it difficult for any new couple to thrive, and in Underwood’s words, “Nobody could ever prepare you for what life is like after that.”
Ashley Hebert feels grateful for the Bachelor franchise
Ashley Hebert became the Bachelorette after Bachelor Brad Womack chose Emily Maynard on his season. That wasn’t the last Hebert heard of Maynard, though, as the “winner” of Womack’s season was popular with Hebert’s cast. The men who were supposed to be vying for her heart were, according to People, openly talking about how they would have preferred it if Maynard was the Bachelorette. According to The Daily Beast, the comparisons to Maynard were just one ingredient in the torment Hebert had to endure during her Bachelorette season. She also had to deal with one of the series’ worst villains, Bentley Williams, who cruelly roasted her on a group date — marking one of the most cringeworthy moments on The Bachelorette — and she had a contestant turn down her offer of a fantasy suite date.
Despite all of that, though, Hebert is grateful for her experience on The Bachelorette. In a post on Instagram, she said being a part of the Bachelor family was “one of the best things [she’d] ever done.” She explained, “It gave me my husband, my babies, and the courage to be who I’ve always believed I could be.” Despite the inarguable difficulties she faced during her season, Hebert met her now-husband on the show and is clearly very thankful for it.
Bachelorette Jillian Harris would be excited if her kids joined the franchise in the future
Even though Jillian Harris didn’t find love on The Bachelorette, she did use her appearance on the show to launch a rather successful career in entertainment, as noted by Bustle. She’s appeared on several home renovation shows and is even the co-host of Vancouver’s Love it or List it.
Though Harris originally set out to find love on The Bachelorette, she told People that, after the show when she met her now-husband, “there were so many things [she’d] learned and so many things [she’d] gotten out of [her] system.” While her season of the long-running ABC series didn’t pan out the way she originally planned, Harris is very fond of the show and her personal experience. To Entertainment Tonight, she noted that if her kids grew up and wanted to join the show she’d be all for it, as it is “an amazing experience” (via Bustle).
Bachelor Sean Lowe has distanced himself from the franchise
Sean Lowe has the distinction of being one of the only successful Bachelors in the show’s long history, as noted by Entertainment Tonight. As such, Lowe has become somewhat of a poster child for the franchise, frequently appearing on the series’ newest seasons to offer advice to the new leads. However, that doesn’t mean he still considers himself a part of Bachelor Nation. In fact, far from it.
Sean Lowe and his wife, Catherine Giudici, are, in Lowe’s words, “not the typical Bachelor couple.” He further explained to Entertainment Tonight, “We don’t do a lot of the Bachelor reunions and go and meet up — that’s just not us.” Even though they’ve distanced themselves from Bachelor shows, that doesn’t mean the couple didn’t face their own set of struggles when their season ended.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Giudici struggled after the show when she moved to Los Angeles to be with Lowe while he filmed Dancing With the Stars. She left behind everything she knew to pursue her relationship with a man who, just a few months prior, she didn’t even know.
These days, Lowe told Us Weekly that he doesn’t even watch the show.
Bachelorette Emily Maynard said her time on the show was a "train wreck"
Former Bachelorette Emily Maynard got engaged twice during her time on both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but neither of those relationships lasted, as noted by ABC News. Despite this, Maynard still considers herself a fan of the Bachelor franchise, telling ABC News, that it is “the best TV on TV.”
However, Maynard, who has been involved in some of the craziest Bachelor moments you didn’t see on TV, also freely admitted that her time on the series was a “train wreck” and that she has no business giving current and future leads any advice. While those comments might have been made to ABC News in a bit of jest, Maynard told WCCB Charlotte that doing the show “brought on a lot of anxiety.” This sentiment was echoed when Maynard spoke to People about Bachelor Arie Luyendyk’s season, saying that during the show “you feel so off and you don’t know who you are and you have people telling you who you are and why you should feel that way and you feel so much pressure.”
Today, though, Maynard lives a relatively low-key life with her husband, away from the Bachelor world and its pressures (via Bustle).
Andi Dorfman said The Bachelor taught her how to date in the real world
Andi Dorfman didn’t find lasting love on either The Bachelor or her own season of The Bachelorette, but she did learn a thing or two about dating. Dorfman told The Washington Post, “Obviously on the show you’re not going to love 25 people, but you’re going to have to date some people you know you’re not going to end up with. It kind of taught me to converse with somebody without having to be in love with them or promise them anything.”
After her break-up with Josh Murray, the winner of her season, Dorfman moved to New York, where, according to The Washington Post, she settled into life as a single woman. Though, like presumably all Bachelor contestants, Dorfman originally set out to find love, she learned something else about herself instead: “I think about my life as a whole and realize I’m generally happy being alone.”
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