Bachelor fans, prepare to be surprised because you are about to discover that your favorite reality TV show is *gasp* not based on reality. That is right. There is a reason why The Bachelor has been one of ABC's longest-running shows with over 22 seasons under its belt. People soak up the drama and can relate to the single life of just wanting to find love.
There is so much that goes on behind the scenes of any reality TV show that viewers never know about or even take a moment to think about. The contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have such limited time to get to know each other even though it looks like they spend all day and night with one another. It is so easy to forget that between all those deep conversations and romantic moments that there are cameras and lights surrounding everyone on those shows.
One has to wonder why you would audition to be exposed on such a show all in the name of finding your "true love." Not to mention that you have to compete with many, many other singles so your chances of actually winning and your relationship lasting are pretty slim to none. In any case, people do it anyways and the show has become incredibly popular with high ratings.
Here are 18 behind-the-scenes secrets about The Bachelor that producers do not want you to know.
18 Contestants Have To Buy Their Own Dresses For The Show
You would think that for being such a popular hit TV show, that ABC would have deep enough pockets to dress their contestants on The Bachelor. Heck, it would even be a fashion designer's dream to take advantage of product placement and have their dresses be featured on the contestants. But nope, that is not how it works.
In fact, the contestants on The Bachelor have to pay for their own wardrobe, including the stunning evening dresses. During the third episode of the 20th season on The Bachelor, there was gossip about Olivia at the bachelor mansion, it was whispered:
"Olivia said she spent, like, $40,000 on clothes. It's insane."
Though this assertion looked like mean-spirited gossip, there was a truth that wasn't revealed. Contestants have to splurge on 10 weeks worth of glittery dresses and trendy, yet approachable date outfits. According to Mic, ABC only provides dresses for the two finalists for the finale episode, meaning contestants must bring their own outfits. Even though she runs the risk of being sent home after the first rose ceremony, a contestant must pack enough TV-ready outfits to last the whole competition. Not to mention she must be prepared for travel destinations ranging from snowy ski trips to tropical beaches.
17 They Also Have To Take A Comprehensive Psychological Exam Before Appearing On The Show
According to the Eligibility Requirements for The Bachelor posted on the Warner Bros. website, there is a clause that requires all semi-finalists to undergo a psychological exam to be considered:
"All applicants who are selected as Semi-Finalists and to travel to Los Angeles may be required to undergo physical and psychological examinations and testing (to be conducted in Los Angeles by qualified personnel selected by the Producer) and meet all physical and psychological requirements, as set by Producer in its sole discretion."
According to Cosmopolitan, the casting process begins with filling out a questionnaire online. This questionnaire asks questions like "Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?" "Do you drink alcoholic beverages?" and, "Do you have any tattoos? If yes, what are they? And where are they located on your body?" After that, another application in a further round includes a lengthy psychological test that asks about medical or psychological conditions.
"They have you fill out a multiple choice psych test, to find out everything you're afraid of," says Jesse Csincsak, 33, who proposed to Jillian Harris at the end of the fifth season of The Bachelorette. "They ask you the same questions over and over and over, five different times, five different ways."
This way, producers know what makes you tick. Afraid of heights? You're going bungee jumping. Claustrophobic? Time for a one-on-one date in a cave.
16 The Final Four Is Already Decided On The First Night
Though we would all like to think that the finalists on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette all have an equal chance to get to know the lead, the favorites are supposedly picked from the very beginning. Bachelorette winner, Jesse Csincsak says the final four are picked out on the first night, too. "Producers orchestrate the entire thing, sitting contestants down with the star, then directing others to kick them out. Then they tell the lead, ‘Pick four people you would like to get to know better,'" he told OK!.
This means that when the final four are picked early on, there are many contestants that are just along for the ride.
In other words, they are just getting strung along for the sake of keeping their eccentric personalities on long enough to make for some good old-fashioned prime time TV.
According to Jesse Csincsak in an interview with Starcasm, he revealed: "The Bachelorette actually picks her final four all on night one! I mean come on, if you were in a room with 25 guys for 10 hrs you could totally pick four guys to travel with for the next two months to get to know better. So, out of the final 13, nine of them will actually be sent home by producers, and the actual real eliminations start at final four."
15 Producers Make Sure That The Tears Flow
There can never be a shortage of tears on The Bachelor because, without the drama, the show simply doesn't sell good TV. It really should come as no surprise that producers want to see plenty of crying. Former Bachelor producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro revealed in The New Yorker that her job was to get the contestants to open up to her, and then give them terrible advice, as well as to deprive them of sleep. She even went so far as to admit that she saw it as a "complicated manipulation through friendship" looking back at it in hindsight.
Before the final rose ceremony, Shapiro admitted that she raised the hopes of the girl she knew was going to be sent home that night. "The night they were going to get dumped, I would go to the hotel room where they were staying and say, 'I'm going to lose my job for telling you this, but he's going to pick you — he's going to propose.'"
In other words, it was her job to make sure that the contestant was crying a river before she got into the limo. "I'd have arranged with the driver to have the song play just until I got a shot of her crying — then cut the music so I could start the interview," Shapiro explained. "They'd often tell us to drive up and down the 405 until the girls cried — and not to come home if we didn't get tears, because we'd be fired.
14 No One Actually Eats On Those One-On-One Dinners
Yes, the food is more so there for decoration rather than eating. There is a reason for this. According to Refinery 29, the producers fill them up before the date even starts so they'll do less chewing and more talking about how much they love each other.
"The food on dates is usually good, but the catch is that you aren't supposed to eat it! No one wants to watch people stuffing their face on a date. If you're eating, you aren't talking," Jaclyn Swartz, who appeared on Ben Flajnik's season of The Bachelor, along with Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise, told Refinery 29.
"Instead, we eat before the dates, as we are getting ready. The producers will bring room service to your room, or a plate of food to where you're getting ready in the house."
Not to mention that filming can take a long time, even longer than a typical date would really last in the real world.
"You have to remember that the dinner portion can last two to three hours," says Ashley Spivey, a contestant on Brad Womack's season of The Bachelor. "You usually talk and start eating. Then, a producer will pull you aside to do a one-on-one interview. Then, you go back to eat while the other person is doing their one-on-one interview. This is when you stuff your face and hurry and eat before the other person gets back."
13 Rose Ceremonies Take Forever To Film
Rose ceremonies are the moments that all Bachelor fanatics are anticipating at the end of every single episode. These moments of truth are the most nail-biting and suspenseful moments in every season. The end result that fans of The Bachelor get to see are glowing gowns, perfect makeup, precise hairstyles, shattered dreams and plenty of tears.
Apparently, what fans see on TV is a far cry from what the rose ceremony really entails while filming. Daily Mail took an in-depth look at the infamous rose ceremonies and unveiled exactly what goes on behind the curtain. Naming their plug as only, "a Bachelor insider", the publication claims that they were given the scoop.
Per the source, "They last for hours, sometimes wrapping up as late as 5 a.m. Despite this, the girls would be required to get up for hair and makeup at 9 a.m. the following morning." Bustle reached out to ABC, but the network declined to comment. A spokesperson for WB also declined to comment. According to this anonymous source, the ceremony can last through the whole night sometimes.
So those emotional reactions when they realize that they were (or were not picked) could arguably be a partial result of the exhaustion.
12 Only The Leads Get Paid For Their Seasons
Unless you are the star of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, contestants do not get paid to be on the show. Repeat. Contestants DO NOT get paid to be on the show.
In hopes of finding the love of their life or just a quick way to get famous (or both), contestants literally have to quit their jobs or education in order to be on the show. However, if you are the star of the franchise, you typically make around $100,000 according to Business Insider.
The highest-paid Bachelorette star was Emily Maynard, who was rumored to be paid $250,000, while the lowest-paid star was reportedly Bachelorette Ashley Herbert, who Us Weekly wrote only made $30,000.
Business Insider stated that those figures are pretty standard across the Bachelor stars too, so we can assume current Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. is likely making six figures for two months of "work."
However, many former contestants on The Bachelor are asked to appear on other TV shows like Dancing With The Stars or do some sort of commercial promotions for certain brands. This is where they get to use their 15 minutes of fame to make the big bucks, even more so than The Bachelor ever paid them.
11 The Mansion Is Actually Someone's Home
Many would assume that the Bachelor mansion is just a long-term rental or a house that ABC owned exclusively just to film The Bachelor. Well, those people assumed wrong because it's actually someone's real home and an actual family lives there when The Bachelor is not being filmed.
Ever since season 11 when Brad Womack was the lead, the owner Marshall Haradan has shared his family home in Agoura Hills, California so that hopefuls can compete looking for love, according to Bustle. Obviously, Haradan and his kids don't live there at the same time the contestants do while filming, so production puts them up in a hotel and they get paid to share their house with The Bachelor. Haradan shared, "They're here 42 days, twice a year."
To avoid contestants crying or any hanky-panky on the family furniture, all the furnishings move out temporarily. "Everything in one day goes out. And then they take two weeks to put it together the way they want it, and they shoot for X amount of days, and then they spend two weeks to put it back."
Though it seems pretty disruptive to just have your family move out twice a year for filming, it could be pretty cool seeing your home on national television.
10 Casting Starts Over A Year In Advance
No matter if you are a veteran viewer of The Bachelor or a newcomer, there is always that question lurking in your head. You always have to wonder "how did they get there?" when the contestants are unveiled and their backstories are revealed for the first time. What viewers do not get to see is how producers narrow down each of the hopefuls around the nation to decide who ultimately gets to be a finalist on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
In fact, it takes over a year to select the contestants who are going to be on The Bachelor.
Producers already know who the lead will be, but they take their sweet precious time to chose who will be the 20+ contestants on that show.
This is because there is an intense screening process that contestants have to go through before producers are secure enough to consider them for the "role." In a way, this is like acting because even Hollywood actors don't always have to go through such a rigorous process to be considered for a movie role.
Wet Paint conducted an interview with an unnamed contestant about her experience in the casting process. She said that there was a 30-page background form to fill out, she had to give 20 contacts and she had to fill out a 1000 page personality test. These are the materials that take much time to evaluate before producers can consider who goes on the show.
9 Contestants Find Out That They Have Been Selected 2-3 Weeks Before Filming Begins
It looks like ABC just wants to keep their contestants on The Bachelor on their toes as much as humanly possible. After the long process of trying out for the show and being weeded through thousands of other hopefuls, contestants don't find out that they are going to be a contestant until 2-3 weeks before filming begins. Yes, you heard that right. That is literally less than a month before the show starts to let the cameras roll.
According to Insider, many contestants have to quit their jobs before appearing on the show. The process to become a contestant on the show intense — lasting months and involving multiple contracts.
In order to be on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you definitely need to be the type of person who is willing to go with the flow and roll with the punches. Not only do you get an incredibly short notice that you have actually made it as a finalist, but you must give up everything in your life on short notice just for the privilege to appear on that show.
If you think about it, most "normal" people would not want to make that type of sacrifice for A) that small chance to appear on the show and B) the even slimmer chance that they will actually win.
8 Contestants Have To Do Their Own Cooking, Cleaning, And Laundry In The Mansion
This is another service that you would think that ABC would spring for since they have deep enough pockets from what they profit off of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Especially since the Bachelor Mansion is already being filmed at someone else's house so the least they could do is keep it clean with a private maid service. But nope. The contestants are in fact responsible for their own cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
This can't be all that bad since they already have their cell phones, laptops, music, books and any form of entertainment or electronics taken away.
When they are not sitting around having silly conversations or causing drama, they can at least make themselves useful by doing everyday household chores. After all, they are grown adults, and we can assume that they are capable of doing their own laundry and cleaning up after themselves.
They could even practice their cooking skills in order to impress the Bachelor/ette if they really wanted to make productive use of their time. I guess you could say that this is one tiny little aspect of reality TV that accurately reflects reality, which is sort of a breath of fresh air. Kind of.
7 Hometown Dates Aren't Always Filmed At The Contestant's Family's House
These are some of the juiciest episodes on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. The final four are picked and the lead actually gets to travel to the final contestant's hometown to meet their parents and families. The tables seem to be turned because it is the bachelor or the bachelorette who is in the hot seat this time around.
Ever notice how the homes of the contestants are always beautiful and decadent? Many people would assume that everyone must come from a well-off family because The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are shows about beautiful, privileged people. Well, this is all smoke and mirrors some of the time.
According to Huff Post, some people have their hometown dates in a wealthier relative's home for those probing "meet the family" dinners. Also, the contestant has to think of a fun and distinctive local activity for the Bachelor/ette, even if the pickings are slim. This is especially true if they come from small towns of small populations where there wasn't really anything to do.
What is even more surprising is that the contestant cannot talk to their family before the date starts. Again, this is by design so that something unpredictable that could create drama may ensue.
6 Contestants Are Not Paid To Go On 'The (Wo)men Tell All Special'
This really shouldn't come as a surprise since contestants are not paid to appear on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. There are some things in life money cannot buy. One of those things is having the satisfaction of giving your object of affection a piece of your mind after they have rejected you. This supposedly gives the contestants a chance to say their final words and have some closure after the show has reached its end.
On The Women Tell All or The Men Tell All, this is sometimes the most exciting moments of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette even though the show is over.
This is because the contestants are finally allowed to get real because they know that they no longer have to compete with each other anymore.
They also are well aware that they don't have to watch what they say in order to not offend the guy or girl that they are competing for.
This last season, the biggest climax happened on The Women Tell All. Arie Luyendyk Jr. actually made the decision to dump his first choice, Lauren on the final romantic getaway in Peru. The poor girl thought she was going to get proposed to, but really she was getting dumped. On The Women Tell All special, Arie decided to ultimately propose to his second choice, Becca. Talk about a plot-twister.
5 Very, Very Few Couples From 'The Bachelor' Or 'The Bachelorette' Are Still Together
When you look at the reality of the reality TV show that is The Bachelor, you would come to the conclusion that the show does not set a foundation for a long-lasting relationship. One, you only have three months to film the entire season. Two, you can only interact with the Bachelor/ette when the cameras are rolling. Three, you have to divide the attention between you and 20+ other contestants who are competing against you.
In a way, you are expected to play the role of an actor or actress. Even when the final contestant gets chosen and they are "proposed", the odds are stacked against them that their relationship will last. In total, there have been 35 seasons of gorgeous singles trying to find love on ABC, according to Insider.
Though "The Bachelor" has been airing for 22 seasons now since 2002, only one couple from the show is still together. Meanwhile, out of 13 seasons of "The Bachelorette" since 2003, six of the couples are still together, according to Insider.
The most famous couple who have managed to stay together are Trista Rehn and Ryan Sutter who got married on December 6, 2003. Trista was the first female lead on The Bachelorette and they now have two kids together.
4 The Ring Is Incredibly Expensive
The ring is all bought and paid for by ABC, so you better believe that it will be top of the line and nothing less. To say that the ring used for the final proposal is pricey is an understatement. According to Us Weekly, the ring Jef Holm gave to Emily Maynard cost $68k. Sean Lowe revealed in his tell-all book (via Bustle) that Catherine's ring cost $75k. The ring Chris Soules gave to Whitney Bischoff, the one with the 3.6-carat diamond, cost in the neighborhood of $92k, according to Us Weekly.
Basically, the ring costs the equivalent of an entire year's salary for someone in their mid-career level.
Bustle reports, "the exact details of the ring have always been shrouded in mystery. It's not known for sure whether Neil Lane "donates" the rings in exchange for the promotion, or if ABC foots the bill, but one thing is for sure: the contestants definitely don't have to put any money down." If Neil Lane forgoes the cost in exchange for product placement, that meant The Bachelor is essentially a prolonged commercial for the jeweler… which wouldn't be all that surprising.
3 But You Can't Keep It Unless You've Been Engaged For 2 Years
Since the couples from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are known to split up more times than not, people often wonder what happens to that beautiful, expensive ring when they actually do break up? Do they get to keep it? It looks like there is a timeframe as to when you can keep the ring.
According to Entertainment Tonight, if you break up before the two-year mark of your engagement, the ring goes back to production. Neil Lane, the jeweler who designs the rings that go on The Bachelor revealed what happens to his rings. "I make rings hoping that people stay together forever, but after they get the ring, I don't have a say in it, and what happens after that, I don't know," Lane, who designs six rings a year for the franchise, told StyleCaster. "Where the ring goes, I have to say, I don't really know. I just say it goes to ring heaven."
You have to wonder if there has been an incident where one of the ex-contestants sells the ring to the pawn shop. Even if they get only half of what it's worth, you are still looking at a good $40-$50k right there and that would be enough to pay off your student loans.
2 There Is A Lot Of Down Time
Just like any other reality TV show, contestants are denied access to the Internet, cell phones, books, music or any means of technology or communication when filming. One season of The Bachelor takes around three months total to film, according to Leslie Hughes, a contestant on The Bachelor during Sean Lowe's season. She said, "The only things I was allowed to keep were my journal and my Bible." In other words, your only entertainment in Bachelorland is you, your castmates, and lots of alcohol."
"We were so bored all day," Olivia Caridi, a contestant on Season 20 of The Bachelor, told Allure.
"There was so much downtime. We were always doing beauty routines because that was literally all we had time to do."
Daniel MacGuire (from Season 12 of The Bachelorette starring JoJo Fletcher, and Season 3 of Bachelor in Paradise) told The Verge that on The Bachelorette, "three or four guys brought guitars… but [the producers] often didn't want them to do that… they want everyone to engage with each other, they want everyone to be talking… They want dialogue and talking and discussion and that kind of stuff, they don't want people to go off and listen to music."
No wonder, because if all you have to do is interact with each other, then that makes the drama more likely to happen. Perfect for television ratings.
1 Sometimes, Even The Producers And Contestants Have Relationships
Sometimes when things just don't work out in front of the camera, they could work out behind the camera. There have been instances that have occurred when one of the former contestants ended up dating or even marrying one of the producers of The Bachelor.
Season 16 contestant Jamie Otis told Women's Health, "There are more of these producer/contestant relationships than viewers realize — they're always kept hush-hush." Since the producers are the ones that are supposed to set up the contestants for drama and a good storyline, perhaps they play favorites. Or maybe the contestants develop some sort of form of Stockholm Syndrome. After all, it is the producers who are the people who are the puppet masters behind the scenes.
On one hand, this makes sense because there are so many women and only one guy on The Bachelor. Since only one girl can win, that gives plenty more women that become single and available once they are kicked off the show. Also, the producers get to know the women on a personal level behind the scenes while they are filming. Though this is an unusual way to fall in love, sometimes fate has an agenda.