Bachelor Nation might still be recovering from Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s epic finale fail last night, but alas, another day, another Bachelor bombshell.
This time around, the metaphorical mic drop comes in the form of a juicy tell-all, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, released today by Dutton ($15; amazon.com).
Written by L.A. Times reporter Amy Kaufman, the book is the first in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises, detailing everything from how the show was started to the complicated, and often flawed casting process, to what actually happens to that Neil Lane ring when the couple of the moment breaks up (hint: it goes to ring heaven).
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Kaufman speaks with scores of former Bachelors, Bachelorettes, contestants (both the villains and the fan faves), and producers, to lift the veil on the ins and outs of the beloved reality show. She also tries to explain how—and frankly, why—it’s managed to captivate audiences for 35 seasons.
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Celeb fans like Allison Williams and Amy Schumer also lend a hand throughout the book in hilarious essays called, “Why I’m a Fan.” And no surprise here—Schumer sums up her love for the series best, saying: “It’s kind of awful to watch the show. And it’s the thing I most look forward to every week. It’s f-cked up.”
We couldn’t agree more. Read on for nine of the most shocking revelations from what we’re pretty sure Chris Harrison would call the most dramatic book in Bachelor history.
Casting Background Checks Are Thorough, While Psych Tests Are Not
With the help of past contestants and ex-producers, Kaufman details the entire casting process of the show, which ranges from multiple-choice personalities questionnaires to rapid-fire interviews. Then there’s the testing portion. You’re checked for STDs. And then they run your background check, which Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss has said is one of the most thorough in the biz. But according to former Bachelor contestant/villain Rozlyn Papa, the psychological evaluation is when things go awry. When the show’s psychologist asked her if she’d ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, she was honest, revealing her ongoing struggle with depression. “You’d think that would be sort of a red flag,” she says, noting that she assumed the casting directors might be more careful not to place people with heightened sensitivities in triggering situations. “But instead it was almost like, ‘OK, perfect. You’re going to cry. You’re going to say some screwed up stuff.”
The Show Will Pay Contestants’ Bills To Keep Them In The Running
Most contestants have to quit their job to appear on the show for a run that could last for either a couple of days or a few months. And as former Bachelorette Desiree Siegfried revealed when she was on Sean Lowe’s season, she needed to ask producers to cover her rent while she was dating Lowe. “Quitting my job was a huge risk,” she says in the book. “About rent time, I said, ‘I won’t be able to continue unless you pay mine.’” The show ponied up just to keep her around.
The Bachelor Contestant Contract is 27 Pages Long (And Crazy)
To get a shot at love on The Bach, you have to pretty much sign your life away. Not only do you need to agree to the show’s “element of surprise” but also the fact that “producers or others connected to the show may intentionally or unintentionally make representations or omissions concerning the series.” That’s the exact wording on the 27-page document, pretty much warning you that you’ll be manipulated along the way. Also scary? The clause that states producers may use or reveal personal information that may be embarrassing, humiliating, and/or derogatory, may subject contestants to public ridicule, and may portray them in a false light. Whoa.
Bachelor and Bachelorette Finishing School Is A Thing
What does it take to go from a contestant to the star of the show in a few months flat? A little bit of polishing, apparently. Bachelorette Jillian Harris was sent to speech therapy to help soften her thick Canadian accent (they canceled sessions after realizing how her important her voice was to her personality). And for Desiree Siegfried, producers wanted to make sure she’d appear more emotional as the Bachelorette than she was on Sean Lowe’s season. “They wanted me to cry when I talked about Sean,” she says. Lowe himself admits that he was encouraged to keep up his “all-American guy” image and not get “too Hollywood” when he became the leading man.
Bachelors and Bachelorettes Don’t Make A Lot Of Dough On The Show
“It’s not a lot of money,” said Ben Flajnik, the Bachelor in 2012, noting that it’s just enough to cover personal expenses. According to the book, the amount is negotiated and based on what the Bachelor or Bachelorette would have made during the production period. Meredith Phillips, the second Bachelorette, said she only made $10,000, which she was told was the show’s flat rate. Bachelorette Jen Schefft made just under $100,000 for her stint.
Yes, You Get To Keep All Of The Clothes
Once you’re announced as the show lead, you get a whole new wardrobe for the season, curated by stylist Cary Fetman. “You get to keep everything, because it’s all tailored to fit you, which is amazing—but you also get in the best shape of your life to be on national television, so nothing really fit for too much longer after I came home,” admitted Bachelorette Jen Schefft.
ABC Doesn’t Even Own The Bachelor Mansion
Villa de la Vina a.k.a. the Bachelor Mansion is as integral to the series as host Chris Harrison himself, but the network doesn’t technically own the space where all of the rose ceremonies go down. The book reveals that real estate developer Marshall Haraden and his family live in the 7,590-square-foot villa almost 10 months out of the year. When the show is filming, they relocate to a nearby hotel paid for by ABC.
There Are Entire Teams That Plan Those Fantasy Dates
“You need to take a real date and put it on crack,” one segment producer explained. Another former producer Michael Carroll said, “You take [a girl] on a date where she flies in a helicopter over the Hollywood Bowl and f-cking whoever plays. Then you take her to a rooftop and give her a rose and give her a necklace and ‘ahh.’ It’s a panty dropper.” The budget allotted for dates? About $20,000 for each one.
When Bachelor Couples Breakup, the Neil Lane Rock Goes To Ring Heaven
Ever wonder what happens to the Neil Lane engagement rings when couples call it quits? They go to “ring heaven,” as Lane likes to say. Since 2008 when the jeweler partnered with the show, a contract stipulation states that a couple must be together for at least two years before they legally own the rock. And since most Bachelor couples don’t make it that long, most of the diamonds get returned.