21 of the biggest ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ controversies of all time

Image
‘The Bachelor’ isn’t just about drama-free love. ABC
  • Both “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” have many devoted fans.
  • The shows also have their fair share of controversies.
  • From the worst “Bachelor” star of all time to cast members with terrible pasts, these “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” controversies surpass all others.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” have been reality TV staples for a long time now. And though the “Bachelor” franchise has many fans, it also has quite a few controversies.

In fact, there have been so many scandalous situations that it might be hard to remember all of the things that happened before the more recent seasons of the shows.

Read on to see the moments on “The Bachelor” and its franchise shows that caused the most controversy.


Lincoln Adim’s troubling history came out during the airing of Becca Kufrin’s season.

Image
Lincoln Adim was convicted of indecent assault and battery. ABC

There were a number of controversies during Becca Kufrin’s season of “The Bachelorette” in 2018.

One such controversy came to light when reports surfaced while the season was airing that contestant Lincoln Adim had recently been convicted of indecent assault and battery.

Adim wasn’t invited to “The Men Tell All,” the typical end-of-season reunion special, but viewers didn’t know that until host Chris Harrison told Glamour after the show that he’d been purposefully left out since it wasn’t addressed during the episode.

Warner Bros., the production company that produces “The Bachelorette,” released a statement denying any knowledge of Adim’s legal history.

“No one on ‘The Bachelorette’ production had any knowledge about the incident or charges when Lincoln Adim was cast, and he himself denied ever having engaged in or having been charged with any sexual misconduct,” the statement said.


Jason Mesnick broke up with Melissa Rycroft and proposed to runner-up Molly Malaney.

Image
Molly Malaney and Jason Mesnick are still married. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There have many hated “Bachelor” leads over the years, and Jason Mesnick took the title after his season when he broke up with his finalist, Melissa Rycroft, and got back together with the runner-up on the season, Molly Malaney.

On the final episode of his 2009 season, Mesnick proposed to Rycroft, but on the “After The Final Rose” episode Mesnick and Rycroft broke up and Mesnick admitted that he still had feelings for Malaney.

TV Guide reported that Mesnick and Rycroft did indeed break up prior to the taping of “After The Final Rose,” but that Rycroft wasn’t aware that Mesnick was going to try to fix things with Malaney until they were on set.

Mesnick and Malaney eventually got married and are still together years later.


Arie Luyendyk Jr. broke up with Becca Kufrin and proposed to Lauren Burnham.

Image
Becca Kufrin and Arie Luyendyk Jr. were engaged after the show. ABC/Paul Hebert

When “Bachelorette” season-eight contestant Arie Luyendyk Jr. returned to the franchise in 2018 and proposed to Becca Kufrin in Peru, it seemed as though things might actually work out for them.

Just a couple of weeks after the proposal, however, ABC showed their on-camera breakup.

Luyendyk Jr. told Kufrin that he still had feelings for the runner-up, Lauren Burnham, and wanted to give things a go with her.

The cameras followed Luyendyk Jr. to Burnham’s family home where they reconciled. On “After the Final Rose,” Luyendyk Jr. and Burnham appeared on stage together andLuyendykJr. proposed.

Kufrin went on to become the next “Bachelorette” star.

In 2018, LuyendykJr. and Burnham announced that they’re expecting their first child and got married in a ceremony officiated by Chris Harrison in Hawaii on January 12, 2019.


Garrett Yrigoyen accepted Kufrin’s final rose, but then had to explain himself for social-media comments.

Image
Garrett Yrigoyen apologised on ‘After the Final Rose.’ ABC

In 2018, Kufrin’s season ended with her accepting a proposal from one of the season-long frontrunners, Garrett Yrigoyen.

But controversy found the happy couple anyway, when Yrigoyen’s controversial social-media activity was discovered, including the fact that he has “liked” a number of posts mocking undocumented immigrants, the trans community, and others, as well as posts containing misinformation about victims and survivors of the Parkland school shooting students, as The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Yrigoyen later released a statement taking responsibility for his actions and apologizing. Kufrin stuck by Yrigoyen for a while but the two ended their engagement in 2020.


Jesse Palmer said the wrong name during a rose ceremony.

Image
Jesse Palmer had to pull Chris Harrison aside to correct his mistake. ABC

Jesse Palmer’s season resulted in a bit of controversy right off the bat, when he said the wrong woman’s name during the first rose ceremony.

As Entertainment Weekly noted in 2004, Palmer said Katie, but meant Karen, which ultimately resulted in both women sticking around.


Lee Garrett posted racist, sexist, Islamaphobic, and homophobic comments on social media.

Image
Lee Garrett had previously been a fan-favourite. ABC

ABC cast fan-favourite Rachel Lindsay as the franchise’s first Black “Bachelorette” star.

But one of her contestants, Lee Garrett, was shown to have a murky social-media past that put him in hot water with fans and Lindsay herself.

As HuffPost reported in 2017, Garrett had seemingly posted comments on social media that were racist, sexist, Islamaphobic, and homophobic.

Because of the known in-depth application and background check all potential contestants go through, many had a hard time believing that Garrett’s tweets were just missed by producers.

Lindsay even had a few choice words about Garrett’s posts during the “Men Tell All” episode.

“I hope that in watching it back, you realise that you were a part of something so great,” she said. “But in case you didn’t, please know that you can exit stage left and meet me backstage, and I will be more than happy to give you a Black-history lesson, a lesson on women’s rights.”


Leo Dottavio was accused of sexual misconduct.

Image
Leo Dottavio had many people in the Bachelor Nation speak out against him. ABC/Craig Sjodin

In 2018, contestant Leo Dottavio, who finished in the top six of “Bachelorette” star Kufrin’s season, was reportedly accused of sexual misconduct.

It all started when former “Bachelor” contestant Bekah Martinez posted on Instagram that she had received what she said were claims from many women that Dottavio had engaged in sexual misconduct.

Dottavio made a statement via his Instagram story, saying, “There have been some recent stories about me that have garnered attention and I want to address them. I want to start by saying no one has ever accused me of sexual harassment. No one has ever come to me in any way and told me I made them feel uncomfortable. However, I am not a perfect person nor have I ever claimed to be.”


On season 11 of “The Bachelorette,” men chose between Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe to be the star of the season moving forward on the first night.

Image
The pair didn’t know who was going to be the ‘Bachelorette’ star until the night of. ABC

For season 11 of “The Bachelorette,” producers wanted to shake things up a bit, so they decided to have two potential stars on the first night.

Britt Nilsson and Kaitlyn Bristowe appeared on the season’s premiere and both met the 25 guys who’d be competing for the heart of whichever woman was ultimately chosen as the lead.

The men voted for which woman would become the lead, with Bristowe winning out in the end.

In 2015, Bristowe told The Hollywood Reporter that the change wasn’t something she was excited by.

Many people had issues with this strategy, arguing that “The Bachelorette” is supposed to be about the women in control, but this twist resulted in the men still holding all the power, which might be why it hasn’t been attempted again.


The “Bachelor in Paradise” sexual misconduct allegations reportedly changed the rules of the show forever.

Image
Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. Paul Hebert/ABC

In 2017, season four of “Bachelor in Paradise” temporarily ended in controversy when Warner Bros. announced that it was suspending filming amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

After an encounter between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, a producer filed a report saying that Olympios may have been unable to give consent due to how much she had had to drink.

After the Warner Bros. investigation said there was no evidence of misconduct, the rest of the season was eventually filmed (without Jackson and Olympios). Warner Bros. also then reportedly implemented a drink limit for contestants.


Brad Womack returned as the “Bachelor” star for a second time.

Image
Brad Womack had two chances on the show. ABC

Brad Womack first appeared as the “Bachelor” star on season 11 of the show in 2007.

Things got controversial that season when he chose not to pick either of his two finalists – the first “Bachelor” star to do so in the history of the show.

People were upset that Womack had walked away with no one, especially considering that he had asked finalist DeAnna Pappas’ father for her hand in marriage.

Then, in 2011, ABC brought him back for season 15 of “The Bachelor.”

This time, Womack proposed to finalist Emily Maynard, but the two later broke up. Maynard went on to become the “Bachelorette” star for her own season.


Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi had a post-breakup interview on ABC with Harrison.

Image
Vienna Girardi and Jake Pavelka had a very public relationship and split. ABC

In 2010, Jake Pavelka proposed to the season’s “villain,” Vienna Girardi, at the end of his “Bachelor” season. But the two weren’t able to make things work.

Harrison hosted a sit-down between the two for viewers to get answers about what may have gone wrong, and things got pretty ugly.

As People reported, Girardi accused Pavelka of emotional abuse, while he said that she undermined him throughout the entirety of their relationship. The conversation was pretty much a mess from start to finish, with Us Weekly noting that it resulted in Girardi leaving in tears.


Womack reportedly broke up with Maynard by CC’ing her on an email.

Image
Brad Womack reportedly broke up with her via email. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

When Womack and Maynard’s relationship didn’t work out, it cleared the way for the fan-favourite to appear as the lead on “The Bachelorette” later on.

But for a while fans didn’t know many specifics about how their relationship ended.

In 2016, Maynard wrote a book called “I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love” that shed some light on how things went down.

According to Bustle, Maynard disclosed that Womack broke up with her by CC’ing her on an email he sent about the breakup to producers.


Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado had a dramatic post-show relationship.

Image
Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado were on an early season of the show. ABC/Craig Sjodin

Byron Velvick was the season-six star of “The Bachelor” in 2004.

Velvick proposed to Mary Delgado in his season finale, but the two had a volatile relationship.

As PopSugar noted, the two split in 2009, but during their relationship, Delgado was arrested on one count of battery for allegedly punching Velvick in the face.


Rozlyn Papa was sent home for having an “inappropriate relationship” with a producer.

Image
Rozlyn Papa continued to deny the allegations. ABC

A cast member on Jake Pavelka’s season, Rozlyn Papa, was sent home relatively early on in the season after Harrison confronted her about supposedly having an “inappropriate relationship” with a producer in 2010.

Harrison said that the producer owned up to the relationship and that some of the other women saw the two together, but, as CBS reported, Papa denied that anything ever happened between them.


Juan Pablo Galavis’ entire season was filled with problematic moments.

Image
Juan Pablo Galavis and Nikki Ferrell didn’t last. Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational

Juan Pablo Galavis was supposedly a fan-favourite when he was selected to be the “Bachelor” star in 2014, but his season was controversial pretty much throughout.

As UsWeekly reported, he made comments about how there should never be a gay lead because it would set a bad example for kids. He also notoriously dismissed any and all concerns from the women on his season with “It’s OK.”

People also accused him of slut-shaming finalist Clare Crawley after the two apparently hooked up. Ultimately, he selected Nikki Ferrell in the end, but refused to tell her that he loved her or propose marriage.

Ferrell and Galavis have since ended their relationship, and Crawley went on to be on “Bachelor in Paradise” twice and most recently on “Bachelor Winter Games” where she had a short-lived engagement to Benoit Beauséjour-Savard.


Bentley Williams, who was on Ashley Herbert’s season of “The Bachelorette,” was not interested in Herbert and made that known throughout filming.

Image
It seemed like Bentley Williams didn’t want to be there. ABC

Bentley Williams appeared on Ashley Hebert’s season of “The Bachelorette” in 2011 and stirred up plenty of drama.

As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Williams called Hebert an “ugly duckling” and also said privately that he had feelings for Emily Maynard, and that he’d hoped that she would have been the lead, ABC News reported.


Bristowe and Shawn Booth spoiled their season of “The Bachelorette” by Snapchatting a photo together.

Image
Shawn Booth and Kaitlyn Bristowe spoiled the season. ABC

Bristowe beat out Nilsson to be the season-11 star of “The Bachelorette,” but then she accidentally spoiled the ending to her own season.

As E! News reported, Bristowe posted and then quickly deleted a Snapchat post of her lying in bed with Shawn Booth, who proposed to Bristowe at the end of her season.

Of course, there was no confirmation that Bristowe and Booth were, in fact, together at the end of the season after she posted that Snapchat shot, but plenty of fans were convinced that her slip-up was telling.

The two announced their break up in late 2018, but Bristowe is now dating former “Bachelorette” contestant Jason Tartick.


Nick Viall competed for love four times and they all were unsuccessful.

Image
Jen Saviano and Nick Viall on ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’ ABC/Rick Rowell

As Marie Claire noted, Nick Viall has appeared on four different seasons of “Bachelor” franchise shows in some capacity, and has made it to the final two on two different seasons of “The Bachelorette.”

He was also the “Bachelor” star himself, proposing to Vanessa Grimaldi, though the two later split.

“Bachelor” Nation has many opinions on Viall, but there’s little doubt that his appearances, coupled with what fans called his slut-shaming comments to “Bachelorette” star Andi Dorfman on “After The Final Rose,” have made him one of the most controversial contestants in the show’s history.


Chad Johnson was kicked out of “Bachelor in Paradise” by Chris Harrison.

Image
Chad Johnson on the first night of ‘Bachelor in Paradise.’ ABC

On the third season of “Bachelor in Paradise” in 2016, Chad Johnson went home after just one night in Mexico.

Johnson started drinking right when he got to “Paradise” and things escalated from there. He accused Daniel Maguire of being “un-murder-y,” called Sarah Herron a “one-armed b—-,” and was asked to leave by Harrison the next morning.

Johnson didn’t leave without a fight, and left the show by saying “F— you, Chris Harrison.”


Kufrin started falling for Colton Underwood, only to discover that he had dated her friend.

Image
Colton Underwood and Tia Booth did end up dating for a bit on ‘Paradise.’ ABC

Kufrin’s season of “The Bachelorette” was filled with drama, and some of that drama came from the fact that Colton Underwood had some sort of relationship with Tia Booth, Kufrin’s friend, and fellow former contestant from Arie Luyendyk Jr’s season.

Underwood and Booth had spent a weekend together while Luyendyk’s season was airing and while Booth was still in the running for “Bachelorette.” Underwood was in the running to be cast on the season and apparently told Booth that he was going to go on the season whether or not it was her.

Underwood told Kufrin once he was on her season that he had briefly dated Booth. Although Kufrin said she was troubled by the news, she decided to keep him on anyway.

After hometown dates, Kufrin met up with a couple of her friends, including Booth, and Booth told her she still had feelings for Underwood and didn’t think he would make it this far. Kufrin seemed upset and sent Underwood home at the next rose ceremony.

Underwood and Booth were both cast on “Bachelor in Paradise” and began dating after a lot of back and forth on the show.

Underwood broke up with Booth and went on to be announced as the new “Bachelor” star – and Booth voiced her support for Underwood.


Clare Crawley decided she didn’t need an entire season to find her match.

Image
Dale Moss and Clare Crawley had only known each other for a few weeks before getting engaged. ABC

In 2020, Clare Crawley made TV history as the oldest bachelorette to date, but her run took a shocking turn when she decided to leave the show after the season’s fourth episode to marry Dale Moss.

When Crawley first met the former NFL player during the season-16 premiere, she said she felt like she had just met her husband. That night, Moss earned the first-impression rose, which was the start of what would soon become a major point of contention among the other contestants.

Throughout the following weeks, tensions grew between the other suitors and Moss over Crawley’s unequal attention. This dispute came to a head during a once-well-intentioned roast, after which Crawley called Moss her “fiancé” to the producers.

On episode four, Crawley had a heart-to-heart with Harrison and told him she had fallen in love with Moss. After being given the ultimatum to either break up with the other contestants to be with him or follow through with the season, she and Moss shared an overnight date, and soon after, he proposed.

Once Crawley accepted the proposal, she left the show and her title as the bachelorette, and former contestant Tayshia Adams took her place.

Read More:

13 people from the ‘Bachelor’ franchise who have been linked to celebrities

‘The Bachelor’ franchise is dying. Here are 8 ways ABC could save its cornerstone reality show.

12 of the strangest dates in ‘Bachelor’ franchise history