Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

By Jake SchroederLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 5:31:53 PM ET
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No guilty-pleasure reality show is nearly as adored as The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. From the charismatic contestants to the romantic stakes at the show's core, it's unsurprising that millions of viewers tune in to get a glimpse of the drama. While the franchise gives off an air of glamour, there’s more behind the scenes than just romance, gossip and wine. These are a few fascinating facts about The Bachelor and The Bachelorette that make the onscreen drama that much more entrancing.

They're Stuck in the Mansion

Unsurprisingly, the filming of The Bachelor keeps contestants confined to the show's iconic Los Angeles mansion. While it might not sound too bad to spend several weeks in such luxurious accommodations, the absence of entertainment can create a boring and tense environment for contestants.

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The inability to leave digs into contestants' nerves, and cabin fever plague many of them. Even when they travel abroad, they are expected to remain in their hotel when they aren't on dates, cutting them off from any fun experiences in other countries. That certainly makes them dependent on their season's lead for a good time!

The Rose Ceremonies Are Lengthy

While the rose ceremonies that the audience sees never take more than a few minutes, the actual filming of these ceremonies is far lengthier. In fact, these emotional segments can take up to 12 hours to film, often into the early hours of the next morning.

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Why is it so difficult to condense these ceremonies? The rose ceremonies are supposed to be polished and perfect, and plenty of human mistakes are made behind-the-scenes, so many reshoots are required Sometimes the lead even forgets the names of contestants, so they sometimes have to create flashcards to help them remember!


Contestants Don't Get Paid to Participate

Considering the commercial success of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, you would think that the contestants would get a cut of the show's profit. However, the contestants are paid only by the experience of being a part of the cast. They don't receive a penny for their involvement.

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The only cast member who gets steady income from the show is the leading man or woman, who is typically paid a six-figure salary. Additionally, the winning contestant receives $10,000 per hour when their wedding with the lead is televised. Another incentive to come out on top!


The Bachelor House Is Owned by a Family

While the mansion may seem too grand to live in full-time, the gorgeous structure is owned by an L.A.-based real-estate developer, Marshall Haraden. He occupies the larger-than-life home with his family 10 months of the year, with the other two months being eaten up by the show's contestants.

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Where do they relocate when their six-bedroom house is occupied by total strangers? Rumor has it that they kick back in the Four Seasons in Westlake. Between the luxurious rooms and the fine dining, something tells us they don't miss their home during filming.


The Ring Isn't Theirs — Right Away

The most highly anticipated moment of every season is when the lead drops down on one knee with the iconic Neil Lane ring. This bit of jewelry — which can cost over $75,000 — is a generous gift from the show to the happy couple.

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Still, there are some strings attached to the glitzy present. Although the women are allowed to keep their rings, the couple can only hold onto it permanently if they remain together for two years following their union. If not, they must return the pricey piece to ABC.


Producers Are Rewarded for Stirring The Pot

Producers play a major role in inventing drama on the show, often working hands-on with the contestants to create emotional, conflict-ridden footage. Why do they push so hard to send certain contestants off the rails? There is plenty for producers to gain based on how well they can manipulate their footage.

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In the book Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure, author Amy Kaufman shared that Scott Jefferies, a former executive producer of The Bachelor, kept "crisp $100 bills in his pocket" to hand out to producers who managed to capture tense scenes on camera. With such a significant incentive, what crew member wouldn't stir the pot?


Contestants Can't Eat on Camera

Considering how many picnics and dinner-dates the contestants participate in, this rule seems especially torturous. Despite being presented with spectacular plates of food, they aren't allowed to consume a morsel during their dates. This is to prevent them from gabbing with food in their mouth or chewing loudly into the microphones.

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How can they resist digging into the extravagant dishes? Most contestants grab a bite to eat beforehand to quell their hunger during the tempting segments. Still, it's hard to imagine that they enjoy spending several hours in front of a meal they can't consume.


Drinking the Days Away

With very limited access to their phones or technological entertainment, how do the contestants on all Bachelor-affiliated shows spend the majority of their days? Drinking. They have plenty of alcohol available to them, and many of them drink all day to fight boredom, which usually stirs up drama in the process.

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"In Paradise, it’s always five o’clock," Bachelor in Paradise contestant Chris Bukowski shared. "I woke up in the morning and I had a glass of vodka soda — actually two — before I went down to the house. I didn’t eat anything. There’s not much to do."


Setting the Stage With Girl Chats

What would The Bachelor be without a little gossip? When the girls huddle together to exchange opinions on their fellow contestants, their would-be romance interest and who might remain in the competition, they aren't doing it solely to be dramatic. Instead, they are instructed to participate in these "girl talks" in front of the camera.

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What is the incentive to participate in these catty conversations? A step outside of the Bachelor's camera-clogged fishbowl. Girls who engage in these chats are rewarded with treats, such as access to technology, primping and nail sessions and more goodies that quiet contestants don't receive.


A Strange Ban on Books

For some people, a three-month vacation from their day job may seem like a great time to get in some good reading. However, bored Bachelor contestants aren't always given the chance to squeeze in a novel. Sean Lowe's season of The Bachelor came with an interesting caveat: no books except for the Bible.

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While this may sound extreme, the only books that the contestants are allowed by contract are religious texts. Permission for anything else is up to the team of producers, who decided that Lowe's season would be void of all time-passing texts.


They Aren't Allowed to Have A.C.

Believe it or not, The Bachelor contestants are deprived of a pretty simple amenity: air conditioning. Why aren't they allowed to have an A.C. in the mansion? This rule wasn’t made out of a desire to torture contestants but is rather a testament to the difficulty of sound editing when a noisy A.C. is present.

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Fortunately, the show is situated in Los Angeles rather than New Mexico, or contestants might drop dead of heatstroke. Still, spending three months without air conditioning in an enclosed space with over 20 other people isn't all it's cracked up to be.


Their Dates Are Planned to From Start to Finish

While contestants who are picked for one-on-one dates may feel special to have been chosen, the star Bachelors and Bachelorettes don't have much autonomy when it comes to these outings. In fact, they are often in the dark about the events of their dates.

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All details of these outings are chosen by the producers. Whether its a picnic in the park, a trip to a sports stadium or any other number of scenarios, producers are the ones who decide when and where to drop the happy duo. They also subtly encourage the lead to pick certain contestants for their dates.


The Pressure to Propose Is Intense

Believe it or not, the leading Bachelor or Bachelorette isn't required to propose at the season's end. So why do most seasons end with a massive proposal? It’s not easy turning everyone away when the premise of the show is someone getting asked the question.

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One Bachelor, Sean Lowe, had major second thoughts about proposing. "I started throwing up," he shared in Bachelor Nation. "I was puking on the sidewalk walking down to get the ring and coming back. It was like, 'Whoa. This is forever.' My parents have been married for 43 years. That was a big freaking deal to me."


Producers Care About Consent

While much of The Bachelor is fueled by sexual tension, there is one line that the producers will not tolerate if crossed: lack of consent. Since many of the show's producers are women, they are particularly adamant about ensuring that all contestants consent to any sexual activities.

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They take this so seriously that when footage of a potential non-consensual situation between Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson was uncovered, they shut down filming. A producer told People, "Let me start by saying the safety and care of the cast … is of the utmost importance … we made the decision to suspend filming."


The Show Is BYO Wardrobe

Although the contestants may be under pressure to look glamorous for the majority of the show, the producers don't go very far to help them with their onscreen appearances. In fact, contestants are expected to bring all of their own clothing to the mansion.

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The dress code? Fancy dresses, swimsuits, nice leisure clothes and outfits for every occasion — including 14 dresses for the rose ceremonies. While some contestants have gone deep into debt to pay for clothes for the show, they do receive some goodie-bags with clothing, jewelry and accessories upon arrival at the mansion.


They Do Plenty of 'Frankenbiting'

How do you spice up dialogue when no one is in the midst of an argument or meltdown? By using a tactic called "Frankenbiting," in which editors piece together random clips of audio to manipulate contestants’ comments to make them sound more dramatic, interesting, or ominous.

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In Bachelor Nation, a former editor shared, "You can make it whatever you think. You think, 'Oh, she's going to say something bitchy and we'll use that.' No, no, no. You make whatever she does sound bitchy."


It's All a Part of the Journey

This rule is a particularly strange one: No contestants are allowed to use the word "process." According to Sean Low, If they’re filmed in any segments where they utter the word, the crew is forced to do a reshoot with a word like "journey," instead.

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Where did this strange ban come from? Is "process" too negative or artificial? It's hard to know exactly what led to the elimination of this simple word, but "journey" does have a more positive, adventurous ring to it.


They Only Spend 72 Hours With the Lead

Could you fall in love in 72 hours? Most contestants who make it to the final ceremonies only end up spending about three days of time with the lead. Since the leading Bachelor or Bachelorette has around 40 dates during production, this isn't a particularly surprising statistic.

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Ali Fedotowsky, a former Bachelorette, shared, "You spend so little time with the person you choose before the final rose ceremony … you probably spend about 72 hours tops with the person … and 12 of that is spent 'sleeping' in the fantasy suite. You can't really get to know a person in that time frame."


Controversial Conversations Are Kept Off the Air

While gossip and romantic chit-chat have no trouble getting aired, it's unlikely that you'll see many conversations about political, religious or financial subjects. That’s because such topics are avoided to keep The Bachelor from alienating any part of its potential audience.

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That isn't to say that these discussions don't happen. Many contestants have these conversations with the leads offscreen in order to figure out if they'll be a good fit in the long run. If religious values, future aspirations or political views clash, chances are they won't be a stellar fit for a long-term partner.


Producers' Notes Can Be Ruthless

During the casting process, producers aren't particularly concerned about the feelings of contestants. The thoughts they scribble down during these sessions can come across as rather unkind, ruthless, and nasty.

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Previous producer notes have marked future contestants as annoying, irritating, prettier after they started talking and certain to set fellow contestants off. In Bachelor Nation, Kaufman admitted, "The remarks … don’t paint the kindest picture of the producers. Instead, they come across calculating and formulaic — and certainly not sympathetic."


The Proposal Spots Are Hand-Built

Do the show's gorgeous proposal spots seem a bit too dreamy to be natural? For the most part, they are. While the proposal settings are often stunning outdoor locations, the producers put a ton of work into transforming their chosen spots into dream platforms to pop the question.

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How do they prepare a proposal location? They build bridges, plant flowers, create ponds, dig wells and invent other romantic bits of scenery to make the scene sparkle. Oftentimes, developing these locations can take upward of a week of careful construction and arrangement.


The Contestants Do Their Own Cooking

One would think that a show as successful as The Bachelor could afford chefs for the contestants, right? Nope. In addition to doing their own laundry and keeping their spaces clean, the contestants are expected to cook all of their meals on their own. Fortunately, they have a well-stocked kitchen to work in and plenty of pre-prepared food at their disposal.

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"In terms of actual meals, we had to cook for ourselves," former contestant and winner Lauren Bushnell shared with Buzzfeed. "The fridge is stocked full of goodies. And there's candy and there's the best snack drawers you can ever imagine."


The 'No Internet' Rule Applies to Bills

While many bills are paid through online services, the show's contestants aren't allowed access to the internet to keep up with fiscal responsibilities. Although producers presumably don’t want contestants to be evicted, lose their phone services or go into debt, their no-internet rule puts a hard stop on any financial management.

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Former contestant JJ Lane told MarketWatch, "I only had about two and a half weeks from when I officially got the word. I had to set up auto bill pay and give my parents my deposit slips and access to email passwords."


The Contestants Face Serious Cyberbullying

Their time on The Bachelor may introduce them to lives of glamour, yet once the season's filming is over, contestants must return to their former lives. While some experience smooth transitions back into their normal routine, many of them face judgment from friends, family and strangers online.

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Contestant Rosalyn Papa was called a bad mother by her son's teacher, while the son of Chris Bukowski was targeted by online trolls. According to former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, "I was getting death threats, which is insane."


The Cameras Catch Some Wild Rendezvous

With 24 hour monitoring from the show's cameras, not everything that is filmed in the mansion makes the final cut. Contestants seem to be acutely aware of this — and often forget about the cameras altogether. When contestants become desensitized to the constant filming, some camera-caught behavior becomes a bit too wild to make it to your screen.

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According to one of the producers from Bachelor in Paradise, "There are cameras everywhere and there’s nowhere to hide, so when cast members behave outrageously, they allow themselves to forget there are cameras — and just get caught up in the moment."


Producers Keep Tabs on Contestant Menstruation

Most viewers aren't interested in reality shows that lack drama and meltdowns. As noted previously, the producers go out of their way to promote fights and heartache. What you might not have realized, however, is exactly how far they’re willing to go.

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Because recording people every waking hour of the day apparently isn’t invasive enough, the producers keep tabs on the contestants' periods. According to former producer Ben Hatta, "It helped the producers, because now you've got someone who is emotional — and all you want is emotion."


Bachelor in Paradise Is Paid for by Mexico

The newest Bachelor spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise, is a sweet investment for the show's studio … especially since they're not footing most of the cost. Instead of ABC paying production fees, the Mexican Tourism Board took over most of the show's charges as a show of gratitude for the publicity it brings in.

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A source from the show told People that, "They pick up the tab for practically everything in exchange for all the free publicity the show gives them — but is not a good look and is not likely to be something Mexico Tourism wants to welcome back."


Mental Instability Influence Casting

In Bachelor Nation, Kaufman admitted an unsettling fact: Producers favor unstable applicants due to the drama they produce. This theory was backed up by contestant Rozlyn Papa, who expressed to the producers early on that she felt she shouldn't be cast because of her depression.

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She felt that The Bachelor ultimately overlooked the wellbeing of its contestants. "If they really were trying to protect you," confided Papa, "you'd think that would be sort of a red flag and they would say, 'Well, maybe this is someone who can't handle this kind of pressure.’"


They Shoot Through Rain, Wind and Heat

Although poor weather has left contestants covered in rain, sweat and mud, the crew doesn't halt production under such circumstances. Stylist Cary Feldman told Entertainment Weekly, "During Rachel’s finale [of The Bachelorette], she was looking stunning, she was wearing a $40,000 dress … all of a sudden [there was] a windstorm at that last second."

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"I’m watching sequins and hand-beaded crystals flying off and just threads blowing in the wind. A tree was falling over. There’s nothing you can do, you just keep shooting. You can’t stop — you could never recapture that moment of real life, so you just roll."


The Contestants Often Find Careers as Influencers

While they may not be rolling in dough during the filming season, former contestants from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have no shortage of media opportunities. Many previous contestants chose to become full-time Instagram influencers. This may not seem like a practical career, butt the social following for winners and losers can equal major income.

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Thanks to their fan bases, the money that contestants make off of social media advertisements can be substantial. It's estimated that contestants rack up between $250 and $10,000 per Instagram post, depending on how many followers they have. Not too shabby!