What’s really on ‘The Bachelor’ contracts?
Major fans of ‘The Bachelor’ and its spin-offs (‘The Bachelorette’ and ‘Bachelor in Paradise’) can probably name every single Bachelor and Bachelorette there ever was. But how much do fans know about what goes on behind the scenes, namely the contracts the contestants and stars have to sign before appearing on the program? Read on and you’ll never see the show the same way again.
1. No ring if you break up within two years
American Broadcasting Company (ABC) provides the winning couple with their very own engagement ring, but there’s a catch … If the couple breaks up within two years of the season finale, they must return the ring to ABC, says a report in Vulture. So, no taking the ring and selling it …
If that weren’t the case, The Bachelor couples would have made off with tons of cash off that ring. The couples that stay together long-term are very few — there’s Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici and then Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney, for instance.
NEXT: Not down for zombie paintball? Then get out!
2. All dates are mandatory
“Applicants must be willing and able to participate in physical activities such as: skydiving, snow skiing, ice skating, parasailing, water skiing, rollerblading, and the like,” reads The Bachelor eligibility requirements on its website. All of The Bachelor episodes and its spin-offs have definitely had some weird dates, and it makes some sense after reading the requirements.
For example, Bachelorette Hannah Brown’s season required the contestants to play a game of rugby that turned too rough because of a certain someone (*cough* Luke P. *cough*). There were also instances of “zombie paintball” and skiing in bikinis. What a show …
NEXT: Do you think you could live like this?
3. ABC has a say in your life for a year
The stars’ contracts for The Bachelor and its spin-offs extend for a year after the show, says a report in Vulture. That means that ABC can basically dictate what stars do with their careers. Former Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe said she wasn’t “allowed” to appear on Dancing with the Stars.
In a tweet on February 27, 2017, she said: “Actually I was offered it, had the contract (and) Mike Fliess told me I wasn’t allowed. He said he didn’t (sic) want people wanting fame after his show.”
NEXT: Lawyers interviewed by CNNMoney said this part of the contract isn’t really enforceable.
4. It can stop criminal proceedings (not really)
In a CNNMoney report from 2017, the publication obtained a copy of a contract for the Bachelor in Paradise season that was running at the time. There were some areas where the contract was very broad and not actually enforceable, according to lawyers interviewed by CNNMoney.
“If the contract requires you to release any claims you have that you were … assaulted, which is a crime, then the contract may or may not be enforceable under the public policy of the state of California,” lawyer Josh Schiller told CNNMoney.
NEXT: Don’t do it for the money …
5. The stars get money but not contestants
A report in Vulture says that stars of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette typically get $100,000 for starring in the program. However, contestants do not get a dime for their time on the show. Going onto the show does require a big financial investment from contestants.
The contestants have to leave their jobs for six weeks for filming (some may have had to quit their jobs). Others have even refinanced their mortgages in order to afford being on the show. It’s so unfair!
NEXT: They can make you look like you’re confiding in a raccoon.
6. ABC can twist the facts
The 2017 Bachelor in Paradise contract that CNNMoney obtained says contestants must sign away “the right to change, add to, take from, edit, translate, reformat or reprocess … in any manner Producer may determine in its sole discretion.” So, basically, ABC can twist the facts and it’s perfectly legal.
For example, there was the episode in which contestant Clare Crawley confided in a raccoon on Bachelor in Paradise. Turns out she was actually talking to a producer. The show just edited it to make her look like kooky Clare. Rude.
NEXT: This is, unfortunately, enforceable, say legal experts.
7. Contestants give up their rights to trial against producers
Say you want to sue the show’s producers. Well, you can’t, but can take your issues to arbitration. However, contestants will not be able to appeal the arbitrator’s decision post-arbitration, and arbitration details are kept confidential. It puts contestants in a tough position, but not the other side …
Arbitration “is a benefit to producers who want to keep controversial incidents away from the public’s prying eye,” reads a report in CNNMoney. The legal experts interviewed for the piece agree that although some parts of The Bachelor contracts aren’t enforceable, this most definitely is.
NEXT: Make sure you pack light.
8. Two suitcases only!
How do they fit all those gowns and suits in just two suitcases? Surely the contestants have to get creative and strategic about fitting all their things in two suitcases — or just use massive suitcases. Former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman spilled the tea about what the contestants must bring.
According to a report in Vulture, Dorfman says that the wardrobe contestants were told to bring consisted of “clothing for both cold and warm weather, athletic wear, bathing suits, heels, tennis shoes, sandals, cocktail, long, and casual dresses, and heavy coats.”
NEXT: Only if a producer gives you permission …
9. No music!
Unless a producer says it’s OK, that is. Otherwise, you’ll only have the cacophony of your housemates in the background to keep you company. Which, let’s be real, can get out of control, especially if you’re rooming with someone like Luke P. or Brian “Bad Chad” Johnson.
(Let’s be real, Chad told it like it is in some very hilarious, albeit ridiculous ways. See: his protein shake analogy.) Apparently there are some exceptions, however. A blogger told The Verge that music can be listened to during “flights between destination dates.”
NEXT: You may only read the Good Word.
10. No reading! (Maybe.)
There seem to be different accounts on what books you can and can’t read, but many accounts claim only the Bible can be brought. Prescribe to a different religion? Too bad for you — you can’t bring your religious texts unless it’s that Bible, baby. Some contestants even had Bible circles.
Seems like a productive way to pass the time! On Nick Viall’s season in 2017, contestants were allowed to bring “printed content” — meaning books and journals — but no magazines. Contestants aren’t allowed to keep up with current events.
NEXT: This one should be obvious …
11. Don’t date the producers
You should be there for the love of the star and the star only, remember? Apparently some people have tried dating the producers, thus this rule must be enforced. In 2010, People magazine reported that The Bachelor host Chris Harrison said contestant Rozlyn Papa engaged with a producer.
Papa denied it but the staffer confirmed the physical relationship, and the two were caught by some of the other contestants. Safe to say, that made for a very awkward episode …
NEXT: Bryan “Not Peter” Abasolo is an exception to the rule.
12. No former reality stars, please
In The Bachelor eligibility requirements, it reads that applicants who’ve been on prime-time television reality shows “must disclose such information in his or her application and may, at Producer’s sole discretion, be deemed ineligible to participate in the Program.” The producer might choose to nix your application if this applies to you
Bryan Abasolo (the contestant that former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay ended up marrying) is an exception to this rule. He was in UPN’s 2004 Miami-based dating show called The Player. Perhaps more former reality stars will be allowed in the future …
NEXT: The show ends but that contract doesn’t …
13. The show’s remained apolitical
Talk of politics or anything remotely political is forbidden on The Bachelor and its spin-offs. A report in Refinery29 reads: “Contestants can discuss past relationships, but they probably wouldn’t discuss misogyny. They’ll talk about the personal experience of immigrating to the U.S. … but they won’t touch on the broader issue of immigration.”
“The Bachelor is pretending that politics aren’t personal, when they very much are,” the report continues. Any political comments will be edited off the show — as was the case for contestant Danielle Maltby.
NEXT: Don’t expect to keep any secrets after you sign a Bachelor contract.
14. ABC can release information about you to third parties
“Each applicant acknowledges, understands and agrees that Producer may disclose any information contained within or derived from his or her application to third persons,” reads the eligibility requirements on The Bachelor’s website. This even includes information about your medical history, education background, work history, and more.
It seems kind of shady for the network to disclose medical information about contestants. But rules are rules — if you don’t want the world knowing about the case of warts you had last year, please, for the love of Jah, don’t put that on your application.
NEXT: They cut off your access to the outside world.
15. Internet, phones, and TV are banned
Producers make sure that contestants are cut off from the rest of the world. Of course, if there’s a crisis outside of The Bachelor mansion, producers will inform the contestants. Other than that, your world is the mansion and the people in it — meaning your only source of entertainment is the drama unfolding.
Producers need something to film, right? I imagine that producers also want to prevent contestants from spilling the beans on what goes on during the filming of the season. Winning contestants are also supposed to be mute about the results as well until it airs …
NEXT: The text message convo Blake Horstmann dropped revealed his messy love life.
16. You can text post-show (Caelynn and Blake sure did …)
Contestant Blake Horstmann first entered The Bachelor universe via Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette. The 28-year-old sales representative might have seemed like “one of the good ones” until he leaked some text messages between him and former Bachelor contestant Caelynn Miller-Keyes.
Miller-Keyes claimed she had Horstmann had ~ relations ~ after he and Kristina Schulman had ~ relations ~ at Stagecoach. Trying to clear his name, Horstmann dropped some text messages. Those just exacerbated the situation, however …
NEXT: Producers do this to meddle in the on-screen drama.
17. Producers can encourage drama on-screen
It’s not necessarily detailed on any Bachelor contracts (to our knowledge) but it’s an interesting behind-the-screens fact (plus I need to add more content to this article. Can you blame a girl?). According to a report in Cheat Sheet, producers have several tricks up their sleeves to get people talking.
There’s copious amounts of alcohol first off. Who doesn’t like chatting after a few drinks? Then, on Bachelor in Paradise there’s a lack of air-conditioning in rooms which forces individuals to stray outdoors with the other contestants to stay cool.
NEXT: Every breath you take, every move you make — they’ll be watching you.
18. You’re filmed 24/7
If you’re going on The Bachelor(ette), you’ll have to agree to be filmed 24/7 — either by cameramen or hidden cameras you don’t know are there. According to Buzzfeed, contestants are told that there aren’t any cameras set up in a position to catch footage of individuals going potty.
So that’s good. However, the cameras are rolling whether you’re sleeping, eating, yelling at a housemate, crying, or simply hanging out. But cameras aren’t rolling during the much-coveted Fantasy Suite date — an overnight date that takes place at a fancy hotel.
NEXT: You would think this one would be obvious.
19. Refrain from harassment and breaking the law
A report in CNNMoney says that the contract it obtained from Bachelor in Paradise in 2017 “requires that participants refrain from unlawful behavior or harassment.” One such incident of alleged misconduct between contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson took place during a season of Bachelor in Paradise. Production was halted and all contestants had to go home.
The CNNMoney report notes that “the contract also tries to free the producers from any responsibility if a contestant is injured.” Warner Bros. (which handles the show’s production) said it didn’t find any misconduct between the two contestants.
NEXT: This is common practice for most reality TV programs.
20. Psychiatric evaluations are required
Before contestants come into The Bachelor mansion, they must complete a very thorough psychiatric evaluation, says a report in Buzzfeed. This might have changed since then, but a 2010 report in ABC News says that contestants are given an 800-question psyche evaluation to fill out. (I would personally lose my mind going through 800 questions … )
Only the semifinalists have to do that. A psychologist that conducts the psychological screening says being on the show can get emotionally taxing. “We want to make sure that people are going to be OK with coping with the stress involved,” she told ABC News.
NEXT: The semifinalists must do this, too.
21. So are physical evaluations
According to the ABC News article we referenced in the past slide, only the semifinalists have to go through a physical exam, which involves testing for certain transmittable diseases … Better safe than sorry, right? Per The Bachelor’s eligibility requirements, contestants should be aware they’ll have to go through these thorough examinations.
Semifinalists “may be required to undergo physical and psychological examinations and testing (to be conducted in Los Angeles by qualified personnel selected by the Producer) and meet all physical and psychological requirements, as set by Producer in its sole discretion.”
NEXT: Don’t expect maid service.
22. Do your own cleaning and cooking
Contestants must do all their own cleaning and cooking in The Bachelor mansion, as well as their own laundry, says a report in MarketWatch. The show does, however, pack the fridge with a ton of food. (Some contestants reported gaining weight during the duration of filming.)
You can see my personal favorite contestant on JoJo Fletcher’s season, Chad, enjoying the food available on set here. (“I don’t know if he’s here for the free food or if he’s here to find love,” wonders one of the contestants.)
NEXT: If something major happens, they’ll inform the contestants. Otherwise …
23. You can’t listen to the news
Most former contestants that spoke to The Verge in 2017 recall not being informed of news happening in the outside world. However, one Bachelor in Paradise contestant told The Verge that someone mentioned the 2016 crisis at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was just a brief mention, though.
“They didn’t sit us down, but one of the producers or handlers or assistants kind of briefly just mentioned it to some of the people. For the most part they’re not saying anything, they kind of want us to be isolated and not have any distractions.”
NEXT: Except for the finale.
24. You do your own hair and makeup
Which you do every day, probably, but this is The Bachelor we’re talking about. This is like the Monday Night Football for reality TV fans all over the nation. There’s definitely pressure for contestants to look their best. Contestant Olivia Cardi told Allure magazine that she hired a professional makeup artist to teach her the ins and outs of makeup.
The makeup artist advised Cardi on everything from contouring to wearing a white or nude eyeliner to look less tired on-screen. Bachelor in Paradise contestants possibly have more advanced skills to learn because of the challenges associated with extreme heat (makeup is guaranteed to melt off).
NEXT: One contestant spent $8,000 on this.
25. You bring your own wardrobe
Contestant Jillian Harris admitted to spending the big bucks to look good: “I had re-mortgaged my house and I spent something like $8,000 on clothing,” she wrote on her website. Not all contestants have to drop thousands on a new wardrobe, but some do in order to look their best.
Contestants are told to bring enough clothes for 10 weeks and everything from outdoor wear to formal gowns and suits. Vox reported in January of 2019 that some contestants have asked brands for free clothing in exchange for exposure on TV.
NEXT: This is maybe why Luke P. stayed for so long …
26. Producers have a say in who stays
If you’ve wondered why the heck Hannah Brown kept Luke P. on her season of The Bachelorette for so long, it might be because it wasn’t up to her. Clearly, Luke P.’s psychotic behavior was good television, so the producers might have wanted to keep him on the show.
Him staying so long did engage viewers — “Luke P. has nine lives” was trending on Twitter at one point during the season. According to Ranker, the show’s contract states that the leads must follow all of the Producer’s rules in all matters “including Participant selection.”
NEXT: Producers don’t have control over EVERYTHING …
27. But contestants are in charge of their personal choices
Former cast members revealed producers’ roles on the show in interviews with PEOPLE magazine. “When I was filming any Bachelor franchise show, I was in charge of my choices,” former contestant Tenley Molzahn told PEOPLE.
“I never once felt like I couldn’t make a decision for myself, or that I was expected to do anything outside of my own will.” Cast members have a choice in how they behave, meaning how much they can drink and how far they go, Molzahn continued.
NEXT: Remember when one lead jumped over a fence to escape producers?
28. The lead must adhere to the show’s format
The Bachelor or Bachelorette is contractually required to adhere to the format of the show. A lot of the stars already know who their top pick is in the first few episodes but have to go through the show’s format of eliminations each week. Bachelor Colton Underwood is the exception, however.
Remember when he jumped a massive fence to escape producers after Cassie broke up with him? (Producers might’ve convinced Cassie to do so.) Underwood worked it out with producers so he could break up with the other two contestants and date Cassie outside of the show without the pressures of proposing.
NEXT: Contestants and leads must contribute to reality TV illusions.
29. It has to look like a tight race
Trista Sutter (née Rehn), the very first Bachelorette, later admitted that she really wanted to tell her future husband (and winning contestant) Ryan Sutter how she felt about him on the show. She couldn’t because producers wanted the competition to look like a tight race. Not making it look like it might be a breach of contract, says a report in Ranker.
Ranker implies that making the winning contestant look like a clear-cut winner from the get-go wouldn’t be as entertaining as a neck-and-neck race. The whole point of this TV show is entertain audiences and get money — not help people find love.
NEXT: Ben Flajnik shocked The Bachelor viewers when he did this.
30. No dating while the show airs
Viewers were shocked when a photo of Bachelor Ben Flajnik kissing another woman surfaced while his season was still on the air. Some blissfully unaware viewers might not know that the show has finished filming weeks prior to it actually airing — they think they’re getting a play-by-play each week.
Flajnik clearly ruined the magic for these poor, ignorant souls. As we all know, most of the Bachelor(ette) couples never stay together after the show is done filming. Ideally, ABC wants there to be a “shocking” breakup on their After the Final Rose program.
NEXT: Ben Flajnik should have remembered this.
31. You can’t make a peep until it airs
Ideally, producers want the ending of the season to be a surprise to viewers. That means no disclosing who won or got eliminated with any family, friends, or posting it on social media. Mistakes happen, however. Take Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, for instance. She accidentally Snapchatted her pick, Shawn Booth.
Twitter started freaking out, complaining she ruined the ending for viewers. When the couple went on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel stated that ABC was “very, very mad” at Bristowe. An angry corporation like ABC is perhaps a lot worse than angry Twitter users.
NEXT: Expect to be staying indoors a lot with your new sweetie.
32. The couple can’t be seen in public
The star and the contestant they finally pick aren’t supposed to be seen in public or on social media. Although Bristowe and Booth weren’t in public, they still broke that rule with one silly Snapchat. According to a report in Ranker, the leads and contestants have to sign contracts with an extensive section on confidentiality.
If the confidentiality of the show is broken, ABC can seek legal recourse for monetary compensation. Apparently, if you’re the lead, you could be on the hook for a whopping $5 million, says the report in Ranker …
NEXT: Like with most things on the show, there’s a catch with this.
33. ABC will pay for your wedding, but there’s a catch
ABC can pay for your wedding, but you’ll have to air what’s usually a ceremony reserved for close friends and family to the entire U.S. There are probably some people that like all the attention — and want to make some big bucks off of airing their wedding like some former contestants have.
For example, Bachelorette Trista Rehn and the contestant of her choosing, Ryan Sutter, got $1 million to air their 2003 nuptials, says a report on Money.com. (Reportedly, the pair is still together! That’s super rare for Bachelor(ette) couples … )
NEXT: That contract lasts …
34. Continued promotional appearances are required
For a certain amount of time at least. For Bachelorette Trista Rehn (Trista Sutter post-marriage to Ryan Sutter), it was one year after the finale, for example, says a report in Ranker. All the appearances are mandatory — you must go to all that ABC deems necessary for promotion of the show.
Some of these appearances might be Bachelor-related functions the show puts together or the People magazine interview that comes out after each season. Be ready to do whatever ABC wants you to do, at least for a year post-production. No ifs, ands, or buts!
35. Appearances and interviews have revealed even more drama
It’s unclear if this was a “required” interview for Tyler Cameron, but he was asked by Us Weekly if he and former Bachelorette Hannah Brown were getting back together. “We’re friends and I think she’s an incredible girl and I have so much love for her,” Cameron told the publication.
“I want her to be successful and have the best. I don’t know about the future. I’m just trying to worry about today and tomorrow, you know?” Apparently he did text her recently asking about her participation on Dancing With the Stars. However, he has since deleted all mention of Hannah Brown from his social media. It looks like these two are going their separate ways for now.