Few modern reality shows are as beloved, and as notorious, as ABC's The Bachelor franchise. The 18-year-old show—so, older than Billie Eilish, to put that in perspective—began as one ordinary man trying to find love, and has evolved into a cacophony of tears, spin-off shows, alcohol-fueled contestants accusing one another of not being there for the "right reasons," and 1,000 Instagrams ads for Sugar Bear Hair. Whether you're there to witness the birth of true love or you're invested only in the drama, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make The Bachelor franchise the gloriously insane performance art that it is.
Most contestants break down at some point about "giving up everything to be here," and now you know why. It's rumored that the highest-paid Bachelorette star was Emily Maynard, who was believed to have received a whopping $250,000 for starring on the show.
After all is said and done, the contestants usually find out that they've been accepted onto the show about two to three weeks before filming begins.
According to former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, the person giving out the roses "goes into the rose ceremony room and says a few names at a time and then leaves to get the next few names." Totally understandable when you're dating, like...30 people.
The word "journey" is famous in The Bachelor world. If contestants talk about how the show was a "process," the producers will make them start the interview over to use the word "journey" instead, according to 2013 Bachelor Sean Lowe.
A stylist and makeup artist is provided for contestants only during the premiere episode and for the final two contestants in the finale. In between all of that, contestants are on their own when it comes to their glam.
In previous seasons, the contestants were able to bring whatever kind of printed materials they wanted, just not magazines. That rule changed for the filming of season 17 of The Bachelor, which starred devout Christian Sean Lowe. Contestant AshLee Frazier claims that "the only book allowed on set was the Bible."
Sean Lowe revealed that clothing items with "stripes, small checkered patterns, big patterns, and solid white" aren't allowed.
According to Lacy Faddoul from season 18 of The Bachelor, some girls would bring more than just bathing suits and sunscreen to Paradise. "On Bachelor In Paradise, there were a lot of lonely nights. Luckily, most of us had brought vibrators," she said. "Some of the girls would name their sex toys and sing songs about them when we were going to bed."
Courtney Robertson from season 16 of The Bachelor shared that girls would go to the bathroom to cry so they wouldn't be caught on camera.
The iconic roses that are handed out every episode are actually stored in a trash can...with ice...according to Entertainment Weekly.
If a contestant hangs out by the meatballs in the kitchen most of the first night, they are more likely to be sent home. Executive producer Bennett Graebner told Entertainment Weekly, "If they're afraid to talk to the Bachelor, they stand next to the meatballs."
"I would say you probably spend about 72 hours tops with the person you wind up choosing, and 12 of that is spent 'sleeping' in the fantasy suite," said Ali Fedotowsky from The Bachelorette season six.
According to Jesse Csincsak from the fourth season of The Bachelorette, the final four contestants are picked on the first night. "I mean, come on, if you were in a room with 25 guys for 10 hours; you could totally pick four guys to travel with for the next two months to get to know better, he said. "So, out of the final 13, nine of them will actually be sent home by producers, and the actual real eliminations start at the final four."
"Obviously, that does happen. It happens in real life too. People go out with someone, and they sometimes, you know, change their minds," former director Ken Fuchs told Elite Daily. "I'm always surprised when people think that something has been construed when, in fact, this is what's really happening, and we're just sort of figuring out how to deal with it."
For every season to be the most dramatic yet, there needs to be a lot of tears. Former Bachelor producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro told The New Yorker that her job was to get contestants to open up to her, give them terrible advice, and spend most of the night doing just that so that they were deprived of sleep. Harsh.
While being on the show basically guarantees you a brand partnership on Instagram, you still have to pack some clothes for the Journey to Find Love. You're typically told to pack for all seasons, to bring a selection of cocktail dresses or suits, and include anything else the producers deem fit. The catch: It has to fit into two suitcases.
Like any relationship, it helps if you both have things in common, so the couples do talk about important topics like religion and money. Lauren B. and Ben Higgins admitted they talked about that stuff before he got down on one knee, but it wasn't shown to viewers.
Before they officially shack up at The Bachelor mansion, contestants have to get through some major screenings first, according to Insider. These screenings can include psychological evaluations, STD tests, and questions about their past from information the producers find online.
"What people likely don't realize is that the Fantasy Suites are stretched out over a two-week timespan," said Andi Dorfman from season 10 of The Bachelorette. "It does come in one quick episode, but this isn't back-to-back like viewers see."
Ever watch an episode and wonder why it feels like everyone is super emotional? Apparently, some producers will track some of the women's menstrual cycles to know who to film for more teary content.
While some contestants film in their parents' real homes, others borrow a relative's or even have production rent out a place.
"I'd sleep in the closet in the master bedroom—we'd get pillows and put a makeshift bed together," the Bachelor host shared with Entertainment Weekly. Only in the past couple of seasons did Harrison finally get his own trailer, where he's only a text away from being summoned to defuse all of the drama that goes down.
"I remember one of the producers said to me, 'You are going to be the first one out of the limo.' I didn't think much of it," Sean Lowe told Glamour. The producer then said to Lowe, "'Because you are first, everyone here thinks you are going to do well.' They want to get the show started off on the right foot."
Courtney Robertson from the 16th season of The Bachelor told Parade that she was once asked to put on clothes from a previous date that had happened the week before to make it look like they filmed her interview that same day.
Out of the 15 seasons of The Bachelorette that have aired since 2003, six of the couples are still together. Only two of the original couples from The Bachelor are still together in its 24-season run.
Okay, so everyone is super hot on the show, but how do they stay that way? There's no gym in the mansion, so it's rumored that some contestants run up and down a hill behind the mansion to stay fit. They've also admitted to using household items as weights during filming.
Cary Fetman, a longtime stylist on the show, told The Hollywood Reporter that for Emily Maynard's season she was given a budget of $350,000...and they still went over!