Since 2002, the most shocking The Bachelor and The Bachelorette episodes have left viewers to pick their jaws up off the floor, with one episode more dramatic than the next. Controversial moments are commonplace in the Bachelor Nation, as contestants battle it out for the final rose and a chance at love.
We decided to take a walk down Memory Lane and look at some of the most shocking The Bachelor episodes, reminding fans of the drama that has played out over the last 25 years.
Brad Womack, ‘The Bachelor’ season 11
Season 11 took the cake for the most shocking The Bachelor episodes when Brad Womack got the ultimate case of cold feet and chose NO ONE. Finalists Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas were left in tears at the final rose ceremony, trying to figure out what went wrong.
The Bachelor finale ended with Womack coldly telling Pappas, “I can’t look you in the eye and tell you I love you – I just can’t. I have to tell you goodbye.”
Four years later, ABC producers brought Womack back for another chance in season 15. This time around, the final rose went to Emily Maynard. The short-lived relationship only lasted eight months, and the pair broke up. Maynard took it all in stride and became the next Bachelorette.
Rozlyn Papa, ‘The Bachelor’ season 14
In season 14 of The Bachelor, controversial contestant Rozyln Papa was asked to leave the house. As Jake Pavelka was looking for love, Papa was hooking up with the show’s producer. When host Chris Harrison found out, he confronted her in episode 2, and she was sent packing. Later, Papa denied anything happened, claiming ABC was exploiting her to boost ratings.
Harrison told People, “She had a physical relationship with a producer on our show.” He explained, “You cannot do that. There is no gray area … Other girls on the show saw it. The producer confessed more than once to more than one person. I cannot make it any clearer.”
Kelsey Poe, ‘The Bachelor’ season 19
Chris Soules had his pick of beautiful women in season 19 of The Bachelor. One of the contestants vying for his heart was widow Kelsey Poe, who shocked audiences with how she talked about her husband’s untimely death.
Poe, who never made it to the final round, had audiences cringing in episode 5 when she said, “Isn’t my story amazing? It’s tragic but amazing. I love my story!” Fans quickly pointed out how “amazing” is a strange way to discuss the story of her husband’s passing, so soon after his death.
Poe flippantly continued, saying:
“I know this is a show about Chris, but this is my love story too. This is the unfolding of somebody who’s been through something so tragic and you get to watch her pick up the pieces and grow into another person and into another relationship.”
Ben Higgins, ‘The Bachelor’ season 20
By the end of the shocking season, JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell were the remaining finalists. Higgins went “against the unwritten rules of the show,” telling both women that he loved them. In the end, he gave the final rose to Lauren B., leaving JoJo and fans of the long-running series stunned.
Who is still together from Bachelor and Bachelorette? Well, Ben Higgins and Lauren B. might not have worked out, but runner-up JoJo Fletcher is still engaged to her season’s pick, Jordan Rogers. Higgins moved on, too — he is currently engaged to Jessica Clarke.
Champagne-gate ‘The Bachelor’ season 24
One of the most shocking and hilarious The Bachelor episodes occurred during season 24 and was accurately named “Champagne-gate.”
Kelsey Weier brought a special bottle of champagne from home to share with Peter Weber and set up a romantic corner of the mansion to enjoy the champagne during the cocktail party with Peter. Unfortunately for Kelsey, Hannah Ann Sluss wasn’t aware of the meaning of the champagne and ended up opening the bottle before Kelsey had a change. This led to Kelsey storming off and crying.
Eventually, Peter pulled Kelsey over to enjoy a different bottle of champagne, but the drama didn’t end there — while drinking from the bottle of champagne, the fizzy spirit exploded all over her face.
Wes Hayden, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 5
One of the most shocking The Bachelorette episodes was in season 5 when bad boy Texas musician Wes Hayden admitted to having a girlfriend. In his exit limo speech, he bragged that he was “the first guy ever on The Bachelorette to make it to the top 4 with a girlfriend.”
Bustle reflected on the episode 8 revelation saying the whiskey-swilling contestant was only on the reality television show “to promote his burgeoning country music career, giving a bad name to lonely-hearted cowboys everywhere.”
Brooks Forester, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 9
Brooks Forester is responsible for one of the most shocking The Bachelorette episodes when he decided to leave the reality television show. He was considered the front-runner to receive the final rose but felt his feelings weren’t strong enough for Desiree Hartsock to continue with the competition. Even though she told him that she loved him, it wasn’t enough for Forester, and he left.
Despite Hartsock’s heartbreak, she decided to give the final rose to Chris Siegfried. Some fans think she was just settling as she yearned for Forester. Several years after the show ended, Des and Chris married, and today are one of the few couples that are still together from The Bachelorette.
Nick Viall, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 10
Nick Viall was the runner-up in The Bachelorette season 10. After the final rose ceremony, he said to Andi Dorman, “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why you made love with me.” Many fans thought this was inappropriate and slut-shaming, as it’s not typical for people to discuss what happens in the Fantasy Suite.
Viall got another chance at love when he returned to season 11 to give it his best shot with Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe. In one of the most shocking The Bachelorette episodes, the pair hooked up and had sex before the official Fantasy Suite finale episode.
Ryan McDill, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 11
Ryan M. was such a drunken disgrace in season 11 of The Bachelorette that he didn’t even get the chance to do the infamous limo exit scene. Host Chris Harrison put him into a white van and sent him on his way after his irrational behavior.
After touching Kaitlyn’s butt in the first episode, The Bachelorette contestant sealed his fate by making offensive jokes. ABC stated on the show’s website, “Chris had no choice but to tell Ryan that since he wasn’t on the show for the Right Reasons, it was time to go home.”
Chad Johnson, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 12
Chad Johnson was one of the most hated contestants ever on The Bachelorette after his threats, aggressive behavior, and violence toward other men in the house. In episode 4 of season 12, the angry contestant said, “And when this ends, you go home, and you think when you go home I can’t find you?” Chad continued, “You think I won’t go out of my way to come to your house? I’m dead (expletive) serious.”
Dubbed as “Chad-ageddon,” the season was filled with threats of physical violence. Contestants fearing for their safety at one point hired a security guard to protect them in the mansion from the temperamental contestant. The Bachelorette for season 12, JoJo Fletcher, eventually gave Alex the rose and sent Johnson home, much to the delight of the other men in the house.
Sometimes, the biggest drama occurs when the season of the television reality show ends, and contestants get back together on “After the Final Rose” to reveal some of their juiciest secrets. Here are a couple of the most shocking moments that still have fans talking.
Nick Viall, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 10
In season 10 of The Bachelorette, Nick Viall became a legend in The Bachelor Nation when he opened up about what really happens in the Fantasy Suites. He candidly discussed sleeping with Kaitlyn Bristowe and shocked fans when he revealed in the “After the Final Rose” special that he also slept with Andi Dorfman.
Viall told People, “I slept with two women that at the time I felt deeply for and thought there was a good chance I could end up with.” He said, “By a lot of people’s opinions, I’m slutty or a man whore simply because of those two things. It’s a little silly. I’m no saint, but that’s not who I am.”
He also admitted to regretting spilling the beans about having sex with Dorfman because she got “a lot of flack,” and he “wasn’t trying to accomplish that.”
Jason Mesnick, ‘The Bachelor’ season 13
Jason Mesnick was one of the first The Bachelor contestants to change his mind at the final hour. In Season 13, episode 11, Mesnick told his fiancée Melissa Rycroft that he can’t stop thinking about Molly Malaney.
He does the unforgivable and dumps Melissa during the “After the Final Rose”episode. Mesnick eventually married Molly and the couple recently celebrated 11 years of wedded bliss.
Malaney was already moving on and signed to do the next season of The Bachelorette. When she found out her future husband had changed his mind about Melissa, she said it was easy to back out of the show knowing that Mesnick wanted another chance.
Hannah Brown, ‘The Bachelorette’ season 15
In season 15, episode 13 of The Bachelorette, Hannah Brown shocked viewers during the “After the Final Rose,” saying that she “f—–” Peter during their overnight date in a windmill.
Brown, not shy dishing about her sexual encounter, confessed, “I will say I was a little dishonest about something. Since it’s out there, and I did say that there was something that Peter and I did twice … It was actually four times.”
Arie Luyendyk, Jr., ‘The Bachelor’ season 22
At the “After the Final Rose”finale of season 22 of The Bachelor, many fans of the long-running television reality series were unhappy with Arie Luyendyk, Jr. He became one of the most hated bachelors after breaking off his engagement with Becca, admitting he was still in love with Lauren Burnham, who was next in line for the final rose.
During the tell-all show, Luyendyk proposed to his true love, Lauren. The bachelor told People, “I made a huge mistake. I went with my head, and I shut down those feelings for Lauren.” The professional race car driver explained, “The relationship with Becca was great, but my heart wasn’t with her.”
It turns out he knew what his heart wanted, and the bachelor turned realtor is currently living the dad life. He and Lauren married in 2019, and last month the couple welcomed twins to join their growing family.
Peter Weber, ‘The Bachelor’ season 24
In season 24 of The Bachelor, Peter Weber’s mother got a little more involved than the typical meet and greet episode that focuses on the parents.
Cosmopolitan explained that during the live taping of “After the Final Rose,” Weber’s mother, Barbara, “made it known that despite Peter’s wishes to get back together with his runner-up, Madison, she wouldn’t accept Madison into their family.”
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