10 Former ‘Bachelor’ Franchise Stars Reflect on Their Experience (PHOTOS)

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JoJo Fletcher

“If you start to feel like you’re losing yourself, come back and go back home and ground yourself — and that was a big thing for me,” Fletcher told Us Weekly this month when asked for advice for newest Bachelorette Hannah Brown. “Listen, it’s crazy. The way that that show takes you to another level is wild.”

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Becca Kufrin

“The show bonded us in a unique way that most think is fake or crazy, but it’s real, I promise,” Kufrin wrote on Instagram after reuniting with her fellow Bachelorette stars in May. “Some of us found love on the show, but we all found love in each other. So, see Mom? It works.”

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Rachel Lindsay

“[The racism and backlash] never stops,” Lindsay told Emory University students in March, opening up about her Bachelorette experience. “I can post a picture and there is some troll on my page, no face, no followers, saying something to me. … I have moments where it truly does get to me. You just have to keep yourself grounded with those who know you and know your worth.”

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Arie Luyendyk Jr.

“I always describe the experience as reading the best book you’ve ever read with all the beautiful details and moments you paint in your mind, then watching the movie version and leaving disappointed because so much was left out,” Luyendyk Jr. wrote in a 2018 Today.com essay. “This is how I describe my experience — the focus was on all the wrong parts in the book.”

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Emily Maynard

“I still look back, and I think, ‘What in the world?’” Maynard told Us Weekly in 2016. “My girlfriend and I would watch the show and just laugh [and say], ‘Who would ever agree to do this?’ And I still watch it, and I think, after all the embarrassing things that happen on this TV show, ‘Who in their right mind would ever agree to do this show, much less twice, like I did?’”

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Jason Mesnick

“There was some backlash,” Mesnick told Arie Luyendyk Jr. on The Bachelor in 2018, reflecting on breaking up with his winning contestant to pursue the runner-up. “I remember the cover of People magazine said ‘Bachelor Betrayal.’ What I heard people saying was ‘cheater,’ which wasn’t true. But people yelled at me in the street. It hurt. I mean, people are going to be angry with what you did. You’re putting yourself out there in a way that people aren’t going to like, and they’re going to say things that aren’t really nice.”

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DeAnna Pappas

“People always ask me if I went on for the right reasons, and as dumb as it sounds and as cliché as it sounds, I really did,” Pappas explained to E! News in 2018. “I was sold on the love story and the happy ending.”

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Jake Pavelka

“America travels on this big journey with you,” Pavelka explained in a 2018 episode of The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast. “When you’re upset, they’re upset. When you’re happy and you have a great date, it’s like America has a great date. They expect the fairy-tale ending. That is definitely an expectation at the end of The Bachelor.”

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Travis Stork

“I’m a doctor who was taken out of the hospital, out of the ER, and all of a sudden, you’re in front of a camera,” Stork told OK! Magazine in 2018. “And then you come home, and the show is being watched by millions. This is before social media, before Internet streaming. It was back when so many people would tune in, and your life changes on a dime. And I definitely struggled with it because my anonymity was gone.”

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Jen Waterman

“It was fun to be in the spotlight, but it was also very challenging in that I hated hearing what other people had to say about me,” Waterman, née Schefft, observed in a 2017 Cleveland Magazine interview.

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By now, more than three dozen people have starred in The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, and just as not all seasons have had a happy ending, not all of the franchise’s former leads have fond memories of their time handing out roses.

While we wait to find out who will be Bachelor No. 24, click through the gallery above to see what former Bachelor and Bachelorette stars have said in retrospect about their televised love journeys.

The Bachelor, Season 24 Premiere, January 2020, ABC