In the game of love, some will win, and some will lose. And losing always hurts, especially when it happens on television for the entire world to see—just ask the runners-up of the ABC hit dating reality series The Bachelor (and Bachelorette). The series, which premiered all the way back in 2002, has since spawned several spinoffs and dozens more gut-wrenching heartbreaks. Some contestants turned their lemons into lemonade, and others...well, not so much.
Here, we catch up with the runners-up from both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette to find out what and how they're doing after not finding love.
Trista Rehn appeared on the first ever season of The Bachelor, competing against 24 other women for bachelor Alex Michel's love. The physical therapist and former Miami Heat dancer (get you a girl who can do both!) came in second to Amanda Marsh, but she didn't have too much time to be a sad girl™ about the breakup because soon after she started her own journey as the first bachelorette in ABC history. Trista's time on The Bachelorette led her to firefighter and total sweetheart Ryan Sutter, and the couple got married in 2003.
Today, Trista and Ryan remain one of the few Bachelor pairings to make it down the aisle. They're still married and now have two children who are a perfect mix of their genes.
Remember Charlie Maher? After failing to win Trista's heart on the first season of The Bachelorette, the California-born financial analyst (and actor!) pretty much disappeared into thin air, but do you blame him? He was rejected on live TV for the world to see!
The last we heard of Charlie, he had tentatively started a new relationship and was looking forward to life after The Bachelorette. Same, brother. Same.
At only 23 years old, Kirsten Buschbacher fell in love with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company heir Andrew Firestone on the third season of The Bachelor. Obviously, she didn't get the final rose—Andrew's family somehow had the impression that Kirsten wasn't fully over her ex-boyfriend—but all's well that ends well. Kirsten went on to pursue a career in acting, finding work in the off-Broadway production "Pieces (of Ass)" and even appearing in a documentary about reality TV stars. Now, Kirsten has a thriving career in the corporate end of the retail industry.
Having worked as a reporter for the New England Sports Network (NESN) prior to signing on for the seventh season of The Bachelor, Krisily Kennedy was no stranger to being in front of the camera, so it was natural for her to continue being in the limelight even after she found herself the runner-up for Charlie O'Connell's heart. Krisily went on to join the short-lived spinoff Bachelor Pad but didn't last long on the show.
These days, Krisily is heavily involved in the television and film industry; she started her own entertainment blog and covers press junkets for Regal Cinemas.
Remember The Bachelor: Rome? No hard feelings if you don't—it wasn't the juiciest of seasons in the vault, but at least the locale was gorgeous! Season nine of The Bachelor took its contestants to Rome, Italy to vie for the affections of cosmetics heir (and prince) Lorenzo Borghese. Among the group was Sadie Murray, a publicist from sunny California. She made it all the way to the end of the competition but ultimately lost out to Jennifer Wilson.
After her extended vacation to Italy, Sadie returned and got right back to work. She's a popular influencer with her own blog and is also a TV personality who's appeared on shows like E! News, and The Real.
Brad Womack made Bachelor history when he rejected both of his finalists, Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas. Heartbroken but not down for the count, DeAnna became the next bachelorette and got engaged to American professional snowboarder Jesse Csincsak.
The engagement didn't last long, however; the couple split just months after the show, leaving DeAnna single again. She was able to find love off-the-air with Stephen Stagliano, who just happens to be the twin brother of Michael Stagliano (from Jillian Harris's season of The Bachelorette). Talk about a crossover!
The former bachelorette can now be found sharing recipes and parenting advice on her lifestyle blog.
Fans were initially introduced to Jason Mesnick on the fourth season of The Bachelorette, during which he almost won the love of DeAnna Papas. Less than a year later, Jason became the lead in the 13th season of The Bachelorette. In what many consider to be one of the most dramatic breakups in the franchise's long history, Jason changed his mind after giving the final rose to Melissa Rycroft, deciding that he actually wanted to be with runner-up Molly Malaney...
...and the couple got married in February 2010, their wedding airing in a two-hour special called The Bachelor: Jason and Molly's Wedding. Together with Jason's son Ty from a previous relationship and his and Molly's daughter Riley, the Mesnicks are one big happy family.
Kiptyn Locke competed on Jillian Harris's season, but his hesitation to propose to the Canadian bachelorette was likely what got him cut. (Side note: Why else did you come if not to propose?!) It was a shock to the heart, but with a stay in the Bachelor Pad, Kiptyn made a full recovery. In the Bachelor spinoff, he coupled up with Tenley Molzahn (see next slide), and the two dated on-and-off for years before calling it quits for good.
Tenley Molzahn dodged a huge bullet when she was sent home by Jake Pavelka during the 14th season of The Bachelor, but it probably didn't feel like it at the time. Still, she mustered up the coverage to give love another chance, joining other Bachelor alums on both Bachelor Pad and Bachelor in Paradise.
Fortunately, like most of the franchise's contestants, Telney was able to find love in the real world. She married Taylor Leopold in a gorgeous backyard ceremony that was even featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. As Mrs. Leopold, Tenley is working in the fitness industry and runs a cool wellness blog called Tenley's Sweet and Free Life.
Landscaper Chris Lambton tried to use his green thumb to cultivate romance with bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, but no dice; he ultimately lost out to Roberto Martinez. Fortunately for Chris, love within Bachelor Nation was still in the cards because he found his soulmate in Peyton Wright, who appeared on season 10 of The Bachelor (Andrew Baldwin's season). The couple exchanged vows in May 2012 and have since had two children together. In addition to starting a family together, Chris and Peyton teamed up to star on the HGTV landscaping series Going Yard.
Chris is kind of a big deal in the home improvement world, even hosting his own show Yard Crashers on the DIY Network.
Ben...oh, Ben. When we first happened upon the winemaker in Ashley Herbert's season of The Bachelorette, we were taken by his soft-spoken nature, his quiet but earnest energy, and his floppy hair. Ashley ended up choosing J.P. Rosenbaum (they're still married to this day and have two lil carbon copies of themselves), and Ben found himself the next bachelor.
Unfortunately, Ben's time in the lead role was less happily ever after and more WTF; he proposed to season 16 villain Courtney "I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends" Robertson twice in 2012, and the couple split for good in the same year.
Besides being romantically linked with Kris Jenner (yeah, we know), Ben hasn't been up to anything wild since his run as The Bachelor other than working on expanding his businesses and golfing, which he really, really enjoys.
Coming in second place to Courtney on Ben Flajnik's season was Washington native Lindzi Cox, who took the whole thing pretty well...considering. She even skipped out on the After the Final Rose special, missing out on Ben and Courtney's dramatic re-engagement. "I don’t really have anything pressing I need to say to Ben," she told EW after the show. "If down the road I do, I can have a chance later.”
Fast forward to 2019, and if her Instagram is any indication, Lindzi is living her best life. The self-proclaimed "best day ever enthusiast" can be seen road-tripping around the country, riding horses, and generally having...the best day ever.
Where do we even begin with this guy? The son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk (and an accomplished race car driver himself), Arie was a notable public figure in many households long before he joined 29 other men in the fight for Emily Maynard's heart. He didn't win the final rose, but like a true competitor, he dusted himself off and tried again, becoming the franchise's 22nd bachelor.
As The Bachelor, Arie got a lot of criticism for the way his season played out; initially, he proposed marriage to Becca Kufrin, but after some time to think, Arie changed his mind and broke up with her—on camera.
Arie Luyendyk, Jr., may have been Emily Maynard's second pick, but Sean Lowe wasn't far behind, and the second-runner up got his shot at love in the 17th season of The Bachelor in 2013. The Jesus-loving gentlemen found his soulmate in Catherine Giudici, leaving Lindsay Yenter out in the cold after a tearful (mostly on his end) breakup.
Lindsay bounced back shortly after her heartbreak, finding her perfect match in Karl Swanson; the couple got married and now have two little ones together. She even credits Sean for helping her see the kind of man that she needed to be with. "After doing the whole show, it made me realize I need to find guys who I want as a husband and as a father instead of going after the bad boy," she said shortly after getting engaged. "And I really, really think that Sean has opened up my eyes to that, and I'm so thankful for that."
When Desiree Hartsock broke things off with Drew Kenney during what he hoped would be their best date ever, Bachelor Nation was crushed. Granted, Desiree made the best choice for herself—she and winner Chris Siegfried are still married with two children—but Drew was a really nice guy.
Fortunately for him, Drew ended up meeting and falling in love with Amy Long, fellow Bachelor alum (she was a contestant on Juan Pablo's season of the show). The couple turned lemons into lemonade and have been dating ever since.
Drew hasn't just been lucky at love since getting sent home; his career is also on the up and up. He's starred in two films, including one with veteran actor Danny Glover, and even picked up modeling along the way.
If you're anything like me, you've probably blocked Juan Pablo Galavis's nightmare season of The Bachelor out of your mind, and for good reason—he was nothing short of terrible. But, if you can for a moment, think back to his runner-up, Clare Crawley. Juan Pablo pretty much slut-shamed her for their MUTUAL possible ocean hookup towards the end of the season, enraging Clare to the point that she had no choice but to tear into him at the final rose ceremony. Needless to say, she didn't get the ring.
Clare connected with Canadian angel Benoit Beausejour-Savard on The Bachelor: Winter Games, and the couple quickly fell in love and got engaged on the show. However, things went left even faster, and they called it quits just after a month.
Nonetheless, Clare is still doing her thing; fans of the 37-year-old can keep up with her latest moves on Instagram.
In the immortal words of Aaliyah, "If at first you don't succeed, dust yourself and try again." Nick Viall really took that to heart, appearing on both Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe's successive seasons of The Bachelorette. After being the first runner-up twice, ABC took pity on Nick and gave him the chance to do the curving as the star of The Bachelor—we all know how that turned out. He proposed to Canadian teacher Vanessa Grimaldi (which led to Bachelor Nation's sweetheart Rachel Lindsay becoming the next bachelorette!), but the couple quickly parted ways due to irreconcilable differences.
Now, Nick is one of the most famous faces in the franchise. He started a very popular podcast called The Viall Files, he's a noted Instagram influencer, and he's been in a number of films. Maybe coming in second isn't always a bad thing.
Ben Higgins is a beloved bachelor in the fandom, but even the most loyal of fans have had a hard time forgiving him for confessing his love for both Lauren Bushnell and JoJo Fletcher but kicking the latter to the curb during the final rose ceremony (maybe it was that weird letter from her ex during hometowns that set him off?). The consensus was unanimous: JoJo deserved better.
And better was what she got. The Dallas-born real estate developer met her match during her run as The Bachelorette when she gave her final rose to former college and professional football quarterback Jordan Rodgers in 2016. It's been three years, and the couple is still going strong, serving us couple goals daily. Can't wait for the wedding!
Former competitive swimmer and living Ken doll Robby Hayes made a splash on JoJo Fletcher's season of The Bachelorette, but his real impact came when he joined Bachelor in Paradise. While in Mexico, he connected with fellow castoff Amanda Stanton, and the pair tried to make it work in the real world. The exes' short-lived relationship evolved into a full-on internet beef that had fans clutching their pearls. Yikes.
No one could quite understand why Nick Viall didn't give Raven Gates his final rose, but when it was all said and done, it was definitely for the best—for her. Besides finding a lifelong group of best friends from her time on The Bachelor and later Bachelor in Paradise, Raven also found a lifetime partner in Adam Gottschalk, a contestant from bachelorette Rachel Lindsay's season. The couple got engaged in May 2019 and are currently planning their big day, which is certain to include some of your favorite faces from Bachelor Nation!
It's physically impossible to talk about Rachel Lindsay without talking about Peter Kraus. Besides being, IMO, one of the most handsome people to ever grace this franchise, Peter is also one of its most controversial contestants. He had a strong connection with Rachel from the jump, but Peter's decision not to propose despite being head over heels in love with our bachelorette led to what may be the saddest Bachelor/ette breakup we've ever seen. Like, cry-your-falsies-off sad.
But you can't keep a good man down. Peter is back home in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, looking and being the perfect man that he is. He's been hard at work expanding his fitness empire and basically being the best (doggy) dad ever. *swoon*
When all was said and done, Arie's runner-up Lauren Burnham eventually won the grand prize of her man's heart. The two reunited during the season finale, with Arie getting down on one knee to pop the question in front of the live audience (who was understandably less than pleased by the turn of events).
In November 2018, Lauren and Arie announced that they were expecting their first child together, and the couple tied the knot in January 2019 in a ceremony officiated by Chris Harrison himself. Their daughter Alessi was born in May 2019.
Fan favorite Blake Horstmann was devastated to not be Becca's final choice on the 22nd season of The Bachelorette, but luckily, we'll get to see Blake get another chance at love when he flies to Mexico for the upcoming edition of Bachelor in Paradise. And from the looks of it, this Colorado bachelor is really taking advantage of his options, if you catch my drift.
Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor was memorable for a number of reasons (that fence jump!!), but the most shocking thing about his time as the bachelor was the fact that he broke the unspoken rules of the franchise by cutting two women at once to be with his final choice, Cassie Randolph. Hannah Godwin was unceremoniously dumped in Portugal and had a super relatable reaction to the turn of events.
Today, the Bachelor alumna is busy creating digital content via Instagram and modeling with major agencies. Oh, and she's also slated to make an appearance on Bachelor in Paradise. Stay tuned.
Also cut from the chopping block of Colton's heart? Miss Tayshia "Deserves the World" Adams. The Cali-born phlebotomist was a strong contender throughout the season, making many of us believe that she would receive the final rose, but in the end, Colton decided to jump
fence ship for Cassie instead.
While Tayshia was in the running to become the next bachelorette, that honor went to fellow contestant Hannah Brown. But not to worry; Tayshia is headed straight to Paradise, and I have a feeling that our girl will have no problem finding love on that island.
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