There’s drama… and then there’s The Bachelor drama. In the 16 years The Bachelor and its many spin-offs have been on air, viewers have watched countless numbers of young, attractive hopefuls looking to find their soulmate on national television… or get famous, one or the other. While *some* relationships still stand strong today (like the first Bachelorette Trista Sutter and her husband Ryan Sutter and everyone’s favorite couple Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici Lowe), there’s been a lot more failure than there has been success.
From blindsided breakups, tearful goodbyes, and full-on wars between contestants, Bachelor Nation is never short of exciting and riveting drama. But the franchise has also found itself at the center of some of the most intense, controversial moments on television, including scandalous behind-the-scenes relationships, contestants exposing one another on television, and even one bachelor who changed his mind and filmed it all. Not all of these moments have been pretty or easy to watch, but they’re so bad it’s hard to turn away. Here are 17 of the most controversial moments in The Bachelor history.
17. Corinne And Demario’s Scandalous Stay In Paradise
Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson were no strangers to drama when they were on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. From Corinne’s nanny to DeMario’s “secret” girlfriend, these two were usually at the center of all the action. So when it was announced that these two would meet on the fourth season of Bachelor in Paradise, there was no doubt that drama would unfold, but no one expected what would happen next.
Production was halted and all the contestants were sent home after a producer claimed DeMario sexually assaulted Corinne in a pool when she was blackout drunk. DeMario denied the claims, saying everything that happened was consensual, and Corinne made a few public statements that seemed to state she felt otherwise. The media storm that followed was intensely critical of BiP and producer manipulation, but the show conducted its own investigation and deemed that were was no misconduct and filming was allowed to resume. The two appeared on the After the Final Rose special and cleared the air, saying that they were on good terms since the incident. Even now, the two still spend time together but “just as friends,” they say.
16. Literally All Of Juan Pablo’S Season
Of all the bachelors to ever head to the Bachelor Mansion to look for love, Juan Pablo Galavis was the worst. The single father originally appeared on Desiree Hartsock‘s season of The Bachelorette before getting sent home. After being announced as the next Bachelor, the former Venezuelan soccer player claimed he was looking for a wife, but his actions on the show said something else. He didn’t shy away from getting seriously physically intimate with many of the women on his season, but also constantly manipulated the women and belittled their feelings, barely listening to them speak before trying to kiss them.
Runner-up Clare Crawley said, “He chose to tell me something that no woman wants to hear. That he doesn’t know me and some sexual thing I don’t want to repeat. It was insulting and offensive,” after an unmic’d portion of their date in the helicopter. Andi Dorfman said their fantasy suite date was pretty much a nightmare. Then, while he chose Nikki Ferrell at the end, he refused to propose and wouldn’t even say he loved her – he would only say he liked her. To no one’s surprise, the couple broke up a few months later. But in the words of Juan Pablo, eeee’s okay, right?
To make matters even worse, he made some comments in the press about a same-sex Bachelor season being “more pervert, in a sense” and mocked disabled people on Twitter. All in all, Juan Pablo definitely doesn’t have our rose.
15. Arie’s Televised Breakup With Becca
Breakups are always bad, but when they’re aired on national television, they’re even worse. But that’s nothing compared to Becca Kufrin’s breakup with season 22 Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. Let’s refresh: Arie had to choose between Becca and Lauren Burnham. He ultimately proposed to Becca and sent Lauren home crying, but confessed to producers a few weeks later that he couldn’t get Lauren off of his mind. So, he and the producers sent Becca to an LA apartment for what she thought would be a weekend getaway with her fiancé – instead, producers set up two cameras on the couple to film the first ever non-stop breakup sequence in TV history. Anything to make history, right?! As Becca processed the news, she paced through the apartment trying to get away from Arie, only to have him follow her to the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, and back to the bathroom after she repeatedly asked him to leave. Fans and Bachelor alumni criticized the decision to air this, but Becca got her chance as the Bachelorette. Meanwhile, Arie proposed to Lauren and as of now, they’re still together.
14. Jason’s Change Of Heart…On The After The Final Rose Special
While Arie’s change of heart was bad, it wasn’t the first time a bachelor changed his mind. The first time this happened was during the season 13 After the Final Rose special – which was arguably the most dramatic ATFR ever (in the words of Chris Harrison). Bachelor Jason Mesnick proposed to Melissa Rycroft during the season finale, but while he was on the ATFR special, he revealed that he couldn’t stop thinking about runner-up Molly Malaney. He blindsided Melissa saying he wanted to be with Molly instead and then reunited with his second runner-up. Rycroft went on to marry her former boyfriend Tye Strickland, and they have three kids together. Jason must have made the right decision, because he and Molly are still together and they have two kids.
13. Nick Shames Andi On National Television
It’s a fairly unspoken rule that what happens in the fantasy suites stays in the fantasy suites… even though it’s often not hard to guess what goes down given those confessional interviews afterward. But Nick Viall broke Bachelor protocol when he appeared on a particularly tense After the Final Rose special to discuss being sent home as the runner-up during Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette. During his first encounter with Andi after their breakup, she said she never was in love with him, to which a visibly upset Nick responded (on live television!), “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure, like, why you made love with me?” Andi responded saying, “Well, first of all, I think that’s a little below the belt. I think that’s something that’s private and should be kept private.” Yikes!
12. Rozlyn’s Alleged Affair With A Producer
Rozlyn Papa was, at one point, considered a frontrunner on Jake Pavelka’s season of The Bachelor. But a few weeks into the season, Rozlyn was removed from the season after she allegedly engaged in a relationship with a crew member, who was also fired. Chris Harrison said, “She had a physical relationship with a producer on our show. You cannot do that. There is no gray area. Other girls on the show saw it. The producer confessed more than once and to more than one person. I cannot make it any clearer.”
Rozlyn has since maintained her innocence, saying it was all a dirty rumor. During an appearance on a morning show, she said, “Unfortunately, I did not get anything out of this big sex scandal that supposedly happened. If I had known that I was going to get accused of it, maybe I would have gone for it!” But during the season’s After the Final Rose special, one of the women swore “on my dog’s life” that she saw Rozlyn kissing the crew member on the stairs in the mansion. While we don’t truly know what happened, one thing’s for sure: Rozlyn didn’t miss out on too much by getting out of Jake’s rough season.
11. Kalon calls Emily’s daughter “baggage”
When you join a show with the intention of finding your future spouse, it’s probably not the best idea to call their children “baggage.” Unfortunately, Kalon McMahon didn’t get the memo, and his brash comments got him kicked off of Emily Maynard’s season almost as soon as word got back to her. Kalon allegedly spoke poorly of Emily and her daughter, Ricki, and it didn’t take long for the guys to let Emily know what was being said. Being a protective mother, Emily said, “I want to go out there and rip his limbs off and beat him with them. I will never as long as I live let anyone speak ill of Ricki or any other kids my husband and I may have.” She called Kalon out in front of the whole group and sent him home immediately. Lesson learned: don’t mess with a mama bear.
10. Bentley’s Horrible Treatment Of Ashley
If there was a contest to pick the worst contestant of all time, Bentley Williams would be high on the list. He initially seemed like the “bad boy” of Ashley Herbert’s season of The Bachelorette, but it didn’t take long to see that he was actually just an abusive, manipulative guy who only wanted to mess with Ashley’s emotions. He constantly talked about wanting to make her cry, he complained about the thought of planning a wedding with her, and he said he didn’t actually like Ashley, and that he only wanted her for sex because he was hoping the bachelorette would have been Emily Maynard.
But the worst part? Ashley developed real feelings for him despite his gross actions toward her. He ultimately left the show on his own terms, claiming that he wanted to spend time with his daughter – but then came back a few weeks later. Ashley got the closure she wanted, telling the cameras, “He’s such a player. He disrespected me to the core and I don’t understand what I did to deserve this. Bentley, if you’re watching this, f*ck you, I’m done with you.” Tell him, girl!
9. Chad’s Violent Outbursts
Does anyone have any good memories of Chad Johnson? The 30-year old was quick to alienate himself on JoJo Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette, solidifying his role as the season’s villain. In addition to constantly being aggressive with the guys, he ripped Evan Bass’s shirt during an argument on a group date. He took a game of tackle football a little too seriously, called Jojo she sounded like “a nag,” and he even told contestant Jordan Rodgers that he would come to his house and beat him up after the show. When he finally was eliminated during an outdoor two-on-one date, he walked through the woods until he got back to their resort and stood outside the window dragging his hands across the door (and who can forget his insane, creepy whistling?!).
Chad was later invited back to Bachelor in Paradise, where he got aggressive with contestant Lace Morris and started swinging at Daniel Maguire. Oh, and when asked about Evan, he said, “I didn’t murder him, so that’s good. I didn’t rip his head off and shove it down his own mouth.” Chris Harrison quickly removed Chad for his behavior – and while audiences learned Chad was struggling with his mother’s death, which happened just before he started on JoJo’s season, it’s still not an excuse for his terrifying behavior… or for Bachelor execs inviting him back after his violent behavior.
8. Ben Tells Two Women He Loves Them
Another unspoken Bachelor rule is that you shouldn’t throw around the “love” word to just anyone, but especially not to your final two contestants. But that’s exactly what Bachelor Ben Higgins did. During his individual fantasy suite dates, he told both JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell he loved them. So, when it came time for Ben to propose, you can imagine JoJo’s shock after he blindsided her by sending her away without the final rose and without a ring. Luckily for JoJo, she went on to be the next Bachelorette and is still together with her final pick, Jordan Rodgers. Not so luckily for Ben and Lauren, the two ultimately ended their engagement. On their reality show, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, Lauren frequently struggled with knowing that Ben loved both her and JoJo, and it’s rumored to be a huge reason why the two split.
7. Demario’s Secret Girlfriend Confronts Rachel
Girls supporting girls? We’ll take that any day. During Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette, she got a surprising visit from Lexi – a woman who claimed to be DeMario Jackson’s girlfriend. She told Rachel she and DeMario had been dating for about six months, but DeMario claimed to have never seen her before in his life. He then changed his story, saying that they had been together a long time ago, and then saying he broke things off before he came on the show and that it was a casual thing, anyways. Lexi pulled out her phone with her the receipts of text messages between the two of them – and Rachel stood her ground, saying, “I’m not here to be played, I’m not here to be made a joke of, which is what I feel like you’re doing right now with me, so I”m really gonna need you to get the f*ck out.” Case in point: don’t mess with Rachel. Or Lexi. Or women in general.
6. Brad’s Two Unsuccessful Seasons
Brad Womack had not one, but two chances as The Bachelor, and he blew both of them. He shocked America when he didn’t choose anyone his first time around. He sent home both Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas and left the series as a single man. Then, on his second stint on The Bachelor, contestant Chantal O’Brien slapped him, saying, “That’s from every woman in America.” We approve. It was during his second season that he met Emily Maynard, to whom he proposed (finally) and they ended the season as an engaged couple. But a few months later, the engagement was broken and Emily went on to be the Bachelorette.
5. Jesse Calls The Wrong Name During A Rose Ceremony
During a rose ceremony, the bachelor or bachelorette literally has one job: give a rose to each contestant that you want to see the following week. Unfortunately, that proved to be a little too difficult for Jesse Palmer, who gave the final rose of the night to Katie instead of Karen. Womp. Jesse had to call out Chris Harrison for advice, and he ultimately offered Katie the chance to stay while giving another rose to Karen. In the end, Jesse ended up choosing Jessica Bowlin, but the two ended their relationship a few months later.
4. Jake And Vienna’s Violent Fight On Tv
During Jake Pavelka’s stint as the Bachelor, he ended up proposing to Vienna Girardi. But a few months later, after Jake performed on Dancing with the Stars and the pair had broken up, it seemed to get nasty in the press and the two decided to do a sit-down special with Chris Harrison to clear the air. But it was more like airing out their very, very dirty laundry. Jake accused Vienna of cheating, Vienna called Jake a liar, and they both accused each other of turning to the tabloids after their breakup. When Vienna told Chris Harrison she was done talking, Jake snarked, “That’s a first.”
While he was explaining his side to Chris, Vienna interrupted him and Jake got aggressive, yelling, “Please stop interrupting me.” Vienna then burst into tears and left the set, pulling off her microphone while saying that Jake was “the fakest person I’ve ever met.” Chris, like the rest of America, sat awkwardly in silence as the two had it out on national TV.
3. Ben & Courtney’s Skinny Dip
Bachelor cameras usually catch everything – so it’s no surprise that they caught Bachelor Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson’s scandalous rendezvous on a beach in Puerto Rico. The two ended up on the beach together late at night and went skinny dipping in the ocean – but according to Courtney, that’s not all that happened. In her book, I’m Not Here to Make Friends, she confirmed that she and Ben got down and dirty in the waves – and while she had no regrets, Ben wasn’t too happy that “50,000 people just saw that.” She was the last woman standing at the end, but it’s kind of against protocol to have sex with someone while there are still a bunch of women left in the house. Sure, it wasn’t one of the most explosive controversies in Bachelor history, but it’s still pretty raunchy.
2. Wes’s Secret Girlfriend
When Bachelorette Jillian Harris sent Wes Hayden home from Spain, he wasn’t upset at all. Why? He had a secret girlfriend waiting for him back home! In his limo ride after his elimination, Wes told the cameras, “The first guy ever on The Bachelorette to make it to the top four with a girlfriend. My acting days are over. I’ve definitely gone as far as I could possibly have gone with Jillian.” Jillian knew she dodged a bullet, because she later told the cameras, “When I walked Wes down the stairs I knew I had made the right decision. The bad boy is definitely gone.”
1. Brooks Dumps Desiree Before Their Fantasy Suite Date
In a shocking role reversal, contestant Brooks Forester dumped Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock right before their fantasy suite date. Brooks said goodbye to a tearful Desiree, telling her that even though he wanted to be in love with her, he just didn’t have those feelings. To make matters worse, Desiree told Brooks, “I love you, I really do… I was going to tell you later today.” Cue the waterworks. In the end, Desiree ended up choosing Chris Siegfried as her final man – he proposed to her during the final episode. The two are still married today and have one son together. Cheers for a happy ending!