The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises have had contestants looking for love since The Bachelor aired on March 25, 2002. Here are 42 tell-all facts about the franchise’s journey to love.
The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Facts
42. The Odds Of Love
Can you truly fall in love on a reality show? The odds aren’t great. Only 13 out of 21 seasons of The Bachelor ended in proposals, and of those, only two couples are still married! Even then, this tally includes Season 13, in which Bachelor Jason Mesnick proposed to Melissa Rycroft, then broke his engagement to her in the finale and proposed to runner-up Molly Malaney! Mesnick and Malaney may be the real deal—the couple is still married and have one child together.
41. Ladies’ Choice
The Bachelorette has a better track record, with 13 out of 13 seasons resulting in proposals! 6 of the couples are still together, with 3 of them tying the knot!
40. Bachelor Babies
A combined seven children have been born to couples who met through the franchise. One child each to Bachelor couples Jason Resnick and Molly Maloney and Season 17th’s Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, with five children born to Bachelorette couples: Season 1 Bachelorette Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter not only stayed together but now have two children together, Season 7’s Ashley Hebert an JP Rosenbaum have two children, and Desiree Hartstock and Chris Siegfried welcomed their first child in 2016.
39. It Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number
The average age of a Bachelor female contestant is 26 years old, while the average age of a Bachelorette man is 31. The Bachelorette skews a little older, with Bachelorettes themselves being an average age of 27.
38. 13 Seasons, But 14 Bachelorettes?
The numbers don’t add up! Season 11 of The Bachelorette threw convention out the window and brought in TWO Bachelorettes. In that season’s premiere, the 25 male contestants were given the chance to vote between Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson for which one of them would be that season’s Bachelorette. Kaitlin won, and the power to eliminate contestants was once again back in the hands of the female lead.
37. A Successful Franchise
Not only did the success of The Bachelor spawn its main spinoff, The Bachelorette, it has resulted in several other spinoffs such as Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?, and the upcoming Bachelor Winter Games. Several contestants’ weddings have aired as one-off TV specials. In addition, The Bachelor has been adapted in 22 different countries with local versions airing in Canada, Australia, Poland, China, Russia, Thailand, and many others!
The Bachelor Australia
36. Is “Canadian” A Real Job?
Contestants are often identified by their job title—the most common are “personal trainer,” “business owner,” “model,” and “realtor.” Others are sometimes given quirkier identifiers: Tiara from The Bachelor Season 20 was called a “Chicken Enthusiast,” Jonathan from Season 13 of The Bachelorette was called “Tickle Monster” despite holding a medical degree, and Daniel from Bachelorette Season 12 worked as a model, but was just given the job description of “Canadian.”
35. They’re Only Acting Crazy
In addition to camera and screen tests, all potential contestants are given a comprehensive psychological exam by a psychiatric health professional before the final cast is decided. In addition to the above-the-neck exam, Season 16 winner Courtney Robertson claims she was given an STD test as part of her screening process.
34. It’s A “journey:, not a process”
According to past Bachelor Sean Lowe, producers will make contestants re-tape their interviews if they use words other than “journey” to describe their experience on the show.
33. A Short Season
Season 21 of The Bachelor started filming on September 24th, 2016 and wrapped by November 27th—that means contestants on Nick Viall’s season had less than two months to fall in love. This might account for the terrible odds of Bachelor couples staying together.
32. A Whirlwind Romance
Getting engaged after 6 weeks might seem way too fast, but according to contestant Ali Fedotowsky, the time spent together before choosing the winner is FAR less than that! She told Women’s Health Magazine, “You spend so little time with the person you choose before the final rose ceremony. I would say you probably spend about 72 hours tops with the person you wind up choosing, and 12 of that is spent ‘sleeping’ in the fantasy suite. You can’t really get to know a person in that time frame.”
31. Mr. Right…Or Mr. Right Now?
Casting on the show begins a full year in advance, so contestants sign up well before they know whose love they will be competing for—and in fact before the lead for the next show has even been decided!
30. A Snap Decision
Contestants who are chosen for the final cast only have two to three weeks notice that they will appear on the show! That’s two weeks to quit jobs and make arrangements for the potential two months they will be living in the mansion.
29. Better Pack Light!
Contestants are restricted to only two suitcases for the potential 6 week filming period of the show. According to Ashley Spivey, a past contestant from Season 15 of The Bachelor, some women did bring much more. As contestants are isolated during filming, if a crucial item was forgotten, they were out of luck—though production assistants could be cajoled into making a drugstore run for small items.
28. And Who Will Feed The Cat?
As contestants don’t have access to phones or internet during filming, they also must make arrangements for their finances while gone. Contestant JJ Lane says, “I had to set up auto bill pay and give my parents my deposit slips and access to email passwords.”
27. It’s Not A Total Vacation…
While contestants on the show are free to lounge poolside and work on their tans, unencumbered by phone calls and emails, it’s not a total vacation for them. Living at the mansion might seem luxurious, but contestants must still do their own cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
26. Creature Comforts
The Bachelor Mansion is definitely gorgeous, but can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable. The mansion reportedly has NO air conditioning, and only four showers that must be shared by up to 31 contestants!
25. If Those Walls Could Talk
Don’t expect to find Chris Harrison, the host of the franchise, chilling poolside during the off-season; the mansion used for filming The Bachelor and The Bachelorette is more than just a reality show set. Marshall Haraden, his wife, and their four children live in the mansion, except for periods during filming when they move into a nearby hotel. “When [the crew] comes, we move out for 42 days,” Haraden said during an interview with TODAY, “Everything we own leaves the property and goes into storage.”
24. Makeover Montage
The 9,000-square-foot mansion gets a fresh paint job depending on whether the next season to be filmed is The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Haraden, the owner of the mansion, states the walls have seen over 44 coats of paint!
23. How DO They Remember All Those Names?
According to Ali Fedotowsky, the Bachelorette from Season 6, a producer always has flashcards and photos of all the contestants should the Bachelorette momentarily forget a name. The rose ceremonies might look continuous, but during filming, the Bachelorette memorizes only a few names at a time, then is able to leave the room to get the names of the next few contestants she intends to gives roses to.
22. A Long Night
The premiere episode of each Bachelor and Bachelorette season is absolutely epic, as contestants arrive at the mansion, introduce themselves to the lead, and then take part in the first rose ceremony of the season. The premiere takes 12 hours to film, and is shot overnight in darkness. According to past contestant Sean Lowe, “On TV, what you see is I hand out a rose, the girl comes forward and accepts it, and then I hand out another rose. In reality, there’s about three to five minutes in between each rose because all 15 cameras have to reposition. That first night lasts until about 7 A.M., and then each one after that lasts until about 3 or 4.”
21. At Least The Love is Real…
The roses used in the rose ceremonies are confirmed by Season 16 contestant Courtney Robertson to be real, but the rest of the roses in the mansion and in the front gardens? Fake.
20. Not That Slick In Real Life
Among the many tricks employed by producers to make the show look magical? They wet the pavement with a hose before the contestants arrive at the mansion, making the driveway look slick and shiny. Female contestants in long gowns beware: the hems of their dresses can get soaked!
19. Speaking Of Canadians…
Contestants are selected from all over the USA, and often show off the diversity of the country and its regional accents. But Jillian Harris, Season 5’s Bachelorette, and the franchise’s first non-American lead, was made to go to speech therapy to get rid of her Canadian accent!
18. Don’t Date On An Empty Stomach
The food on the one-on-one dinner dates may look delicious, but it goes to waste! Contestants will often eat dinner in the hotel before the dates, and the delicious-looking food is merely decoration. This prevents chewing or eating noises being picked up by the microphones, plus avoids any unattractive slurps or spills.
17. An Expensive Journey
Contestants have to buy their own clothing for the duration of the show—ABC only provides dresses for the two final contestants to wear during the finale! Contestant Jillian Harris confessed to remortgaging her house and dropping $8,000 on new clothing, and contestant Olivia Caridi claims she spent over $40,000 on her wardrobe for the show!
16. Don’t Forget Your Curling Iron!
Not only do contestants provide their own wardrobe, they are also responsible for doing their own hair and makeup throughout the show. There is a stylist provided only for the premiere episode and for the final two contestants in the finale.
15. There To Make Friends?
Bachelor contestants may wind up with catty reputations, but according to several contestants, there is a camaraderie that develops, and women are often more than happy to swap beauty tips and to help with each other’s hair and makeup.
14. Sensory Deprivation
Contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have limited access to phone and internet while filming, in part to ensure the secrecy of the final outcome and prevent spoilers. But music also isn’t permitted during filming, due to rights issues, and movies are only occasionally shown. Contestants have said they were allowed to bring printed mateirals, but in Season 17 of The Bachelor, contestant AshLee Frazier claims, “the only book allowed on set was the Bible.” Contestants are instead encouraged to spend time together and talk to pass the time, and one can imagine limited access to any media would only ramp up the drama.
13. Not A Bad Job If You Can Get It
Leads on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette do get paid for their appearance on the show, though the amount can vary. Bachelor Ben Higgins says the amount the lead is paid is commensurate with what they’d make during that time at their regular job. Ashley Hebert reportedly made $100,000, while Emily Maynard was rumoured to have been paid $250,000.
12. Diamonds Aren’t Forever?
It’s a well-kept secret about whether the show has to pay for the Neil Lane rings used on the show, or whether they are donated, but even after the proposals are answered with a “Yes!” the rings remain the property of the show. Contestants who break their engagements within two years of the show’s broadcast must return the rings, and even after two years they must give the show written notice if they intend to sell the rings.
11. No Rose?
Producers on The Bachelor are notorious for the lengths they’ll go to to get good tape. Sean Lowe claims his ride home took a lot longer than it was supposed to. He told Glamour, “I realized…these guys are just driving around until I say the right thing. I knew if I didn’t, we were just going to drive around all night.”
10. Cry, Cry, Cry
As if being on The Bachelor wasn’t stressful enough, producers reportedly have some tricks up their sleeve to ensure contestants give them emotional reactions. Former producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro admits to plying contestants with alcohol and depriving them of sleep in order to ensure a camera-worthy meltdown from a volatile contestant.
9. Sleepover Parties
Fantasy Suite visits usually take place in a single episode near the end of the season: this is when the lead gets to spend some off-camera overnight time in a luxury hotel room with each semi-finalist. However, according to Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, while the show makes it seem like Fantasy Suite visits happen back to back, the contestants are given some down time in between each one. This lets the contestants prepare emotionally and de-stress in time for the big dates.
8. A House But Not (Their) Home
Hometown dates, in which the lead travels to the hometowns of semi-finalists, are a Bachelor tradition. But if the contestants seem a little out of place, it could be because they’re not home at all! Andi Dorfman told Huffington Post that some contestants stage their dates in the home of a wealthier relative.
7. Life After The Bachelor
Contestants often report difficulty returning to their regular lives after appearing on the show. Lauren Bushnell, who won the hand of Ben Higgins in Season 20, found her new fame made her job as a flight attendant difficult. Jessica Holcomb, who was eliminated a mere 3 weeks into Season 5, felt humiliated by her appearance on the show—she left her job as a lawyer and changed cities after the show aired.
6. It’s 2017
Before Rachel Lindsay was cast this year as the first Black Bachelorette—in fact, the first Black lead in Bachelor and Bachelorette history—the show had often been criticized for not including enough contestants of colour. In 2012, the franchise was the target of a class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, though the case was ultimately dismissed. Rachel’s cast was the most diverse in the show’s history.
5. From The Screen To The Page
If reality TV is a little too low-brow, don’t worry, there is plenty of Bachelor-related literature. There have been over 18 books written byFormer contestants, ranging in genre from juicy tell-all memoir (Courtney Robertson’s Not Here To Make Friends), to historical fiction (Lorenzo Borghese’s novel The Princess of Nowhere), with cookbooks, children’s fiction, and poetry also represented.
4. Art Imitates Life
One of the original producers of The Bachelor, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, created a scripted fictional TV series called UnREAL based on her experience working on The Bachelor. UnREAL is entering its third season on Lifetime Network, and heavily features producers on the show manipulating cast members in order to get good tape.
Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
3. Chris Harrison Is The Real Deal
Contestants only seem to speak highly of host Chris Harrison: Bachelor Ben Higgins told Buzzfeed that Harrison was great to talk to when things were tough. According to contestant Lauren Bushnell, Harrison passed his time either playing golf or drinking mimosas in a bathrobe!
2. Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places
According to contestant Jamie Otis, relationships between contestants and production crew aren’t all that uncommon. Rozlyn Papa was sent home early from Season 14 after being accused of having a relationship with a producer on the show.
1. Exercise The Old Fashioned Way
The mansion may be a great place to stay, but there is no gym equipment! Contestants often run up and down a hill behind the mansion to keep fit, and have admitted to using household items as free weights in order to keep their figures toned during filming.