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It's every woman's dream to be on The Bachelor, even if they won't admit it. A three-month all-expenses paid vacation with the opportunity to quit your job to do Instagram full-time afterward? If you're trying to front like that isn't an ideal lifestyle, you're lying to us and yourself. Being a contestant on The Bachelor or its sister series The Bachelorette isn't just sunset picnics in Thailand and poolside mornings in Los Angeles, though. There's some messed up stuff going down behind-the-scenes, and as the show becomes more ubiquitous and unstoppable overtime, the more ~dramatic~ revelations reveal themselves in tell-alls, interviews, and pseudo-celebrity podcasts.
Somehow that doesn't make the show any less appealing, but you might as well know what you're getting into before you pay for lash extensions and show up to a cattle casting call. Read up on these 40 Bachelor BTS facts to prep for the first day of the rest of your life (or to live vicariously through other people's pain, you do you).
The Bachelor's stance on allowing books changes from season to season. While Wells Adams and Whitney Fransway told The Verge they were allowed to bring books on the show during 2016 and 2017, the only book allowed during Sean Lowe's season was The Bible. Religious texts are always allowed, but anything else is entirely up to the discretion of that year's production team. Another thing the contestants have to go without? Air conditioning. That's right: three months with no books, no cell phone, and no AC, in exchange for a lifetime of Fab Fit Fun #spon content.
The only men I trust are Chris Harrison and Neil Lane. That's right, I said it. Amy Kaufman's Bachelor tell-all revealed that the happy Bachelor-winning couples only get to keep their Neil Lane engagement rings if they're together for more than two years. Anything less and the couple needs to return the ring to ABC, and they're not allowed to sell it. Talk about motivation to stay together longer. Money estimates these rings to cost up to $67,000, so that's a good chunk of change to incentivize their love.
In order to be cast on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you have to go through an intense screening process that includes medical testing. Mike Fleiss's former assistant Ben Hatta told Amy that the biggest reason contestants who made it to the medical test were cut was because they had herpes. According to Ben, the Bachelor production team would sometimes be the first people to reveal to the potential contestant that they had an STD. Not making it onto the show and having herpes is definitely adding insult to injury.
In an early display of BDE, Amy revealed that Desiree Hartsock from Sean Lowe's season of The Bachelor asked producers to pay her rent during the show. Apparently, she was living paycheck to paycheck and told ABC that she wouldn't be able to stay on the show unless they paid her bills. She did stay on the show (and eventually became The Bachelorette), so there's a good chance that production agreed to her request. Do you think she needed to use some of her Bachelorette money to pay them back?
If anyone was wondering why Desiree would need the producers to pay her rent while she was filming the season, it's because Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants don't get paid to appear on the show. The only cast member who gets paid is the season lead, who gets a salary similar to what they would make during their regular job. Emily Maynard was supposedly the highest-paid lead, with a rumored $250,000 stipend. Amy notes that it would be pretty weird for the lead to make less than six-figures now that the shows are so popular.
The Bachelor mansion, Villa de la Vina, belongs to a family, who lives in their home roughly ten months out of the year. The house has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, and Elle revealed it belongs to real estate developer Marshall Haraden. Word on the street in L.A. is that the family lives in the Four Seasons in Westlake while their home is being used for filming, so my guess is they're not too pressed about giving up their home for a staycation, even if it is during the school year.
The funniest factoid from Amy's tell-all book was that Bachelor producers would track contestant's menstrual cycles and schedule their one-on-one interviews when they were most likely to be a hormonal, emotional wreck. Is anyone surprised by this? The Bachelor mansion is just thirty drunk women whose periods slowly sync until someone inevitably pushes their biggest frenemy into the pool. This is what we tune in for, people!
Another revelation that was kind of a given? Frankenbiting. Frankenbiting is when someone re-edits recorded audio to mean something totally different than the original statement. Producers have admitted to Amy that they would make comments sound however they wanted them to sound in order to further their chosen narrative, and it has been long suspected that if you can't see a contestant's face while they're talking, their audio has probably been edited. This is how Clare Crawley was able to deny allegations of having sex with Juan Pablo Galavis in the ocean on camera, even though the jury is really still out on that one.
Producers sometimes pressure contestants and leads into proposing when they don't think they're ready. Big Effing Deal producer Elan Gale reportedly tried to get Chris Bukowski to propose after Bachelor in Paradise, which didn't go over well, and Amy said ~some~ producer convinced a puking Jesse Csincsack that popping the question to DeAnna Pappas was the right idea. Turns out Jesse should have listened to his gut (in this case, literally) because he split from DeAnna after only a couple of months. Still, it definitely made for better television.
Not all eleventh hour concerns spell doom for Bachelor couples. Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici are one of The Bachelor's greatest (and for a long time, only) success stories. Amy's book revealed that Sean went to Catherine's room at midnight the day before his proposal because he needed to know their family would center around Jesus Christ. Sean and Catherine have been married for over half a decade, but their unaired last-minute chat was the only thing standing between a lifetime of wedded bliss and another finale freak-out.
How did we not know that America's DILF Chris Harrison has written a romance novel? It's called The Perfect Letter, and Entertainment Weekly says Chris used his years of witnessing love bloom and wither on The Bachelor inspired his debut work of fiction about risky love and its possible consequences. The book is only five dollars at Barnes and Noble, so there's really no reason *not* to give it a try. The plot follows a New York book editor who isn't ready to answer her boss/boyfriend's proposal. When she runs home to Texas for the first time to gain some fresh air and clarity, she runs into her first love. Secrets and lies stand in the way of the old couple finally finding their happily ever after.
Courtney Robertson was the OG "not here to make friends" Bachelor contestant, and her tell-all was the GOAT. She made it very clear that the producers encourage contestants to have sex in the fantasy suite, but they apparently don't provide condoms on the Big Night. That revelation was followed by a classic Courtney overshare about all the sex she had anyway, but apparently, producers asked her if she was on birth control during casting and all contestants have an STD screening, so maybe they were trying to save some money after covering all of their bases. There's a chunk of time between casting and filming where contestants can go sow their oats, though, so it's possible that it's only a matter of time before a cast-wide HPV outbreak.
Bustle did a deep-dive into the reported "two suitcase" rule. It's a thing, but a lot of contestants ignore it and bring five suitcases anyway. Looks like the rule-abiding girls just have to suck it up and borrow from their friends because there's no way they could fit two months of clothing for every climate possible in just two suitcases, especially when you factor in accessories, toiletries, makeup, and hair-styling equipment. And shoes! If you do make it far enough to travel, you have to bring all of your suitcases with you, you have to lug them around yourself, and any extra baggage fees are your problem.
A lot of weird Bachelor rules are really meant to make sure filming goes off without a hitch. There's no AC because the sound would interfere with the sound, contestants can't play music out loud because of copyright laws, and no one eats the date food because it would be picked up by their mics. There is a time and place for ASMR chewing, and this is not it. Courtney wrote that contestants also just didn't want to talk with their mouths full or be filmed chowing down, so they'd let the one-on-one date food go to waste.
It makes sense that contestants wouldn't be allowed to leave the Bachelor mansion in Agoura Hills, just in case they saw any spoilers while out and about. What's shocking is that, again, according to Courtney, the girls couldn't even leave their hotels when traveling abroad. Their only chance to see the exotic locales they visited would be during their dates, which lends itself to the theory that the women are sequestered mostly to create a weird dependency on the series' lead for their happiness and to give them cabin fever.
Courtney's book I Didn't Come Here To Make Friends revealed that the only place contestants were actually free from the cameras was the shower, so a lot of girls would go in there to cry. It's honestly a relief that contestants weren't filmed in the shower (apparently with Colton Underwood as the exception that proves the rule) because we wouldn't put it past ABC to have no concept of a right to privacy. It must suck to have to pee and be waiting forever for a girl to get out of the shower because she just needed a good cry, but that's probably why they chose a mansion with nine bathrooms. They really do care!
It's been known that Britt Nilsson, the Bachelorette That Never Was, would rarely shower and always reapplied her makeup before bed because that sounded insane from outside of the Bachelor bubble. Apparently, this was commonplace even back in Courtney's day because contestants never knew when they would be woken up for filming or what footage of them would be aired on national television. Better to beat your face before bed than be caught in front of millions of Americans without your false eyelashes.
Not surprised but definitely disappointed. Sure, the contestants have enough time on their hands to do all of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry in the world, but this vacation comes with chores. MarketWatch and Buzzfeed have both written about the ~insider scoop~ that while grocery shopping is done for the contestants (for obvious reasons), everything else is on them. On the bright side, you don't have to pay for lodging *or* food while at the mansion, and you have an in-unit washer and dryer.
Have you ever noticed the faint glow of daylight (or full glow of full-on morning) rising over the Bachelor mansion as contestants are eliminated on night one? Yeah, that isn't just really good ABC light technicians. The first rose ceremony (and the whole first evening) can take twelve hours to film. There have been times contestants would arrive at 7 PM and leave at 6 AM the following morning. This helps emotions to run super, super high on night one, as the women just keep pounding back white wine spritzers and fighting sleep deprivation.
A deeply weird rule is that contestants are not allowed to use the word "process." Anyone who referred to filming as a process would have to re-film their talking head using the word "journey," which then explains why all of these people are constantly talking about their "journey" as if that's something normal people say all the time in casual conversation. This fun tidbit was revealed in Sean Lowe's relatively tame tell-all, For the Right Reasons: America's Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, and Why Nice Guys Finish First.
The Bachelor or Bachelorette doesn't get to plan their elaborate dates. In fact, the day's festivities are as much of a surprise to the season's lead as it is to the contestants. The lead doesn't find out where the date is or what they'll be doing until the morning of, or occasionally the day before. Desiree Siegfried admitted to Women's Health that the lead does get to pick who goes on the dates, even though producers will give their suggestions in the beginning, but everything else is up to ABC.
No one wants to be remembered as the outfit repeater, but ABC only provides dresses for the final two women to wear during the finale. That means contestants have to buy or borrow the nine dresses to bring for the show, just in case they make it to the end. Jillian Harris revealed on her blog that she spent over eight thousand dollars on clothes for the show, which still seems pretty excessive. Had Tobi and Fashion Nova not been invented yet?
JJ Lane, a contestant on season eleven of The Bachelorette, told Market Watch he had to set up automatic bill pay, give his parents deposit slips to pay his rent, and share his email passwords in order to make sure his bills and rent were paid while he was on the show. That no-internet rule is strict enough to extend to necessities like making sure you don't get evicted and paying your electric bill, so contestants need to prep for the long-haul even if they're unlucky enough to get eliminated on night-one.
Speaking of packing and prepping, JJ also told Market Watch that contestants sometimes only have two or three weeks notice before leaving for the Bachelor mansion. That means all eight thousand dollars worth of clothes, six weeks of bill autopay, and saying goodbye to your employers must be settled in a roughly two week period. That's not a ton of time to uproot your entire life and ruin your savings safety net, but it can be high-key worth it.
The Haraden family spilled to People Magazine about what it's like living in the Bachelor mansion. Not only do they have to leave for forty-two days, but they also need to move everything they own into storage and all nine thousand square feet of the mansion's rooms gets repainted based on whether The Bachelor or The Bachelorette is being filmed. The Villa de la Vina has seen almost fifty coats of paint in the last seventeen years. Tourists apparently try to hop over the backyard gate while the family is at home, which must get annoying. Ah, the price of fame.
Allure's article on Bachelor beauty secrets blew our mind. Y'all better save some of that wardrobe budget for a makeup master class at Sephora because ABC only springs for a makeup artists for the first and last episodes of the season. The rest of the time, it's up to the contestants to do their thing. Same goes for hair, so this might be the time to spring for Keratin hair extensions unless you want to figure out how to reapply your tracks by yourself after two months of filming.
Jesse Csincsak won The Bachelorette after that aforementioned puke fest, but he's pretty sure the final four are picked out on night one. He told OK Magazine that he heard producers orchestrating the entire evening, telling girls when to interrupt other contestants' time with the star and instructing the lead to tell producers which four contestants he'd like to get to know better during the process. If he's right, that would explain why the first impression rose recipient is almost always in the final four.
In what must be a devastating blow to the high volume of personal trainers that come through the mansion's doors, there's no home gym at the mansion. There's a worn down path in the backyard that has become an unofficial track for contestants, who will often deadlift random household objects. There's no room for weights in your carry-on when you're trying to cram two months worth of evening gowns into two pieces of luggage. Courtney (yes, her again) told Allure that workouts had to be improvised, but occasionally producers would take girls down to the gym for thirty minutes at a time, which is barely long enough to get in a good run on the treadmill.
This little tidbit was never meant to be a Bachelor fun fact — it was revealed when Andi Dorfman wrote a guest column for The Holywood Reporter begging fans to stop the double standard revolving around the fantasy suites for the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. She's not wrong, but she also let it slip that the fantasy suites are filmed over the course of a few weeks and are spread across multiple hotel rooms to allow the star to chill for a sec and take some time to think in-between the dates.
It's not the safest thing in the world to have the front of your house broadcast on national television. Read: The people trying to hop over Villa de la Vina's fence. Even the Kardashian's use a fake exterior shot of their homes on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and they live in a well-guarded gated community that's impossible to find even if you put it into Google Maps. Naturally, many of the homes you see during hometown dates aren't actually that contestant's home, but a decoy. Taking it even further, The Huffington Post learned that some contestants will use a wealthier relative's home for the interior shots to appear better-off.
Sean Lowe revealed in his book For The Right Reasons that there was a dress code all contestants (male or female) had to follow while filming. You cannot bring clothing with stripes, small checkered patterns, giant patterns, solid white, or branded logos. TBH, this is pretty standard protocol for all filmings, whether you're an audience member at The X Factor or a contestant on the biggest reality dating series in the world. It's to prevent fabrics that will look wonky on camera from disrupting filming and to avoid any copyright issues from showing branded logos.
Sean also revealed in his book that his first kiss with eventual winner Emily Maynard wasn't aired on the show, and producers made it look like their second kiss was really their first. Since not all of the kisses are shown during the broadcast, it's amazing that the entire cast doesn't get mono. Imagine how much kissing there must be on seasons like Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Chris Soules's IRL, when it already looks like it's a bit much even in the final edit.
Even though producers have strict rules for the cast to follow, sometimes the season's star will make special requests. Sean was famously allowed to bring a book, and other requests he made that should have been Major No's were allowed. This included asking to drive back from a one-on-one with Catherine with the stipulation that they didn't talk, letting his sister come onto the show for a week to give him advice (even though they're not supposed to see their families), and sneaking onto the internet to Google his final two after begging a producer to let him borrow his iPad to "listen to music." Sounds like Sean's book might have gotten some people in trouble.
If you think The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have proposal spots that look too good to be true, you're actually kind of right. These beautiful pastoral scenes are actually carefully constructed by the producers during weeks of work. Bridges are built, ponds are dug, and plants are, well, planted. This can be used as leverage, like when producers mentioned it to Sean when he was debating whether to propose to Catherine. Drama! Yes, this fact is also from Here For The Right Reasons, a true wealth of fun facts.
Ali Fedotowsky told Women's Health that the season's star spends a maximum of 72 hours with the winner, including the twelve hours spent "sleeping" in the fantasy suite, during the two months of filming. When you put it like that, it actually makes the series' success rate pretty impressive for being able to have multiple long term relationships come out of such a short, intense time frame on the show. It also explains why shows like Bachelor in Paradise have a higher success rate by such a large margin because these beautiful people looking for love are actually given time to get to know one another.
Ben Higgins really seems like he went on the show for the right reasons, so it makes sense that he made sure to talk to his frontrunner about his faith (like Sean and many other Bachelors before them, Christianity is a really big deal in Ben's life). Ben told Buzzfeed that his conversations with Lauren Bushnell about the big-picture issues like religion weren't shown on camera, but they definitely did happen.
Jesse Csincsak isn't the only contestant to open up about the insane Bachelor and Bachelorette casting process (but he did seem to do *a lot* of interviews, including this one to OK Magazine), but they all agree that the producers sequester possible contestants for multiple days in a hotel room (foreshadowing for the rest of the process journey, perhaps?) during their psych evaluation. That's one way to make sure you see everyone at peak crazy. This is also around the time the producers give medical examinations.
There are tons of hilarious anecdotes about the lengths Bachelor producers go to maintain continuity during reshoots. Sean's outfits were saved in chronological order just in case he had to do any new scenes, one girl remembered having to put dirty gym clothes back on later in the day to do a talking head about a group date earlier that day, and Catherine Giudici recalled to Allure about being instructed to recreate makeup and hair looks after the fact for pickups regardless of what style she had to do for later in the day or evening.
One of the most spot-on descriptions of The Bachelor obvi came from one of the series' leads. Jillian Harris told Allure that the lack of internet, phones, music, books, or outside contact creates a need for intimacy that is only ever fulfilled by the series' lead coming to take you away from the house or hotel room you've been sequestered in and reward your patience with affection. So, basically, it's self-imposed Stockholm Syndrome, as Jillian described it.
The hands-down best trick from Allure's article on Bachelor beauty confessions was Jillian Harris sharing Chris Harrison's beauty secret: Midol with caffeine. Apparently, together they become a diuretic that debloats you, while the painkiller aspect helps contestants stand for longer in heels. Jillian still takes it before going out, like most people would pop an Advil. Probably not great for your liver, but Chris Harrison has been doing this for so long, he probably knows more about women's beauty than most women.