Over its 16 years, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises have gained countless critics and fans. Many viewers know the ABC reality show rarely creates lasting love. Instead, they watch for the drama. Here’s a look at the 15 most controversial contestants to ever appear on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
1. Juan Pablo Galavis
Many fans were disgusted with the way bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis treated the women on Season 18. For starters, the now 37-year-old soccer star allegedly slept with many women on the show. Then, Galavis chose not to propose to the woman who received the final rose, Nikki Ferrell. However, he did have something to say to the runner-up, Clare Crowley.
Before Ferrell “won,” Galavis reportedly told Crowley he loved sleeping with her (his choice of words were less PG), but he just didn’t know her.
Next: This contestant made the bachelorette lose it on TV.
2. Kalon McMahon
If you’re trying to date a mom, you wouldn’t speak badly about her child. Apparently, Bachelorette contestant Kalon McMahon didn’t get the memo. While talking to fellow contestants, he referred to Maynard’s daughter as “baggage.” One of the men told Maynard and to say she was infuriated would be an understatement.
Before she confronted McMahon, Maynard told the cameras, “I want to go out there and rip his limbs off and beat him with them.” On After the Final Rose, McMahon stood by his words. The model apologized for how “things went down,” but not what he said.
Next: This bachelor broke off his engagement on live TV.
3. Jason Mesnick
Jason Mesnick had Bachelor fans screaming at their TVs during After the Final Rose. Melissa Rycroft had already received his final rose, but Mesnick had a change of heart at the live show. When the Washington native told Rycroft he was in love with runner-up Molly Malaney, a furious Rycroft threw her engagement ring at him.
Chris Harrison invited Malaney on stage, where Mesnick asked for another chance. The couple wed in 2010 during a televised ABC special, and they now have two children. Mesnick later revealed that ABC only allowed him to propose to Malaney if it was on the live show. The network wanted Rycroft to be the next bachelorette, and the drama drew in more viewers.
Next: Deja vu with this contestant
4. Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Eleven seasons after Mesnick pulled a switcheroo on final two women, Arie Luyendyk Jr. did the same thing. The race-car drive had strong feelings for both women entering the finale. But, when it came down to it, Luyendyk told People he’d chosen the safe route and proposed to Becca Kufrin.
A few weeks later, Luyendyk knew he made a mistake and his heart was meant for runner-up Lauren Burnham. Many fans believe he could’ve handled his breakup with Kufrin much better. Regardless, Luyendyk and Burnham are currently engaged and just welcomed their first child.
5. Chad Johnson
A contestant on The Bachelorette (season 12) and Bachelor in Paradise (season 3), Chad Johnson acted so horribly that his co-stars called him unstable and suggested he see a therapist. On the Bachelorette, Johnson repeatedly threatened the men and punched doors. Once bachelorette JoJo learned that Johnson was bullying people, she showed him the door.
Johnson brought back the same attitude on The Bachelor in Paradise. He made homophobic remarks and teased a contestant who had one arm. This time, producers kicked Johnson off the show.
6. Tierra Licausi
Tierra Licausi was the epitome of drama on season 17 of The Bachelor. She cried and screamed constantly. The leasing consultant even required a trip to the emergency room after she fell down the stairs. Licausi did a good job at hiding the crazy from bachelor Sean Lowe until she had a heated fight with fellow contestant Ashlee Frazier. Once Lowe became aware of Licausi breakdowns, he sent her home.
7. Kelsey Poe
Fans couldn’t believe it when contestant Kelsey Poe discussed her late husband, who died from sudden heart failure in 2013 (two years before Poe appeared on Chris Soule’s season of The Bachelor). When talking about her husband, the then-28-year-old said, “Isn’t it amazing?” She paused then continued, “Tragic, but amazing. I love my story.”
When fans called her out for the weird comments, Poe responded, “Sander’s death was devastating, but finding a way to live through it and my strength to survive is amazing. Insinuating that I would dishonor my husband is ripping the scab off an unhealed wound. The pain is tortuous.”
8. Rozlyn Papa
One rule contestants must follow is “keep your hands off the crew.” Apparently, season 14’s bachelor Jake Pavelka wasn’t Rozlyn Papa’s type. She was kicked off The Bachelor during week two for an inappropriate relationship with a producer. She said she would never do that, even swearing on her child’s life. But Chris Harrison said many contestants had seen the two together, and the producer himself admitted to the affair.
9. Bentley Williams
From the get-go, Bentley Williams made it clear he was disappointed that Ashley Hebert was the bachelorette. He told cameras he didn’t find her attractive at all. Then, Williams said he was going to stick around and make Ashley cry, adding, “I hope my hair looks okay.”
Poor Ashley didn’t see it coming, even admitting he was “so sincere” and that she would take him to Salt Lake City if she could. Williams left the show, but not before saying he’d rather “swim in pee” than marry Ashley.
10. Courtney Robertson
After winning the final rose from bachelor Ben Flajnik, Courtney Robertson was booed by fans on After the Rose. The couple lasted a few months before calling it quits (surprising no one). Robertson wrote a tell-all book, I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain. She briefly dated season 22 bachelor Arie uyendyk Jr. Later, she said she urged him to follow his heart when he had second thoughts about Becca Kufrin.
11. Nick Viall
The model/entrepreneur has filmed three Bachelor shows. Nick Viall made it to the end of Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette. Dorfman gave the final rose to Josh Murray. On After the Final Rose, Viall asked Dorfman why she had sex with him if she wasn’t in love with him. She was taken aback (as was the audience) and said he hit below the belt.
Then, Viall appeared on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette. He was runner-up again before moving on to Bachelor in Paradise. Viall snubbed Jen Saviano in Mexico to become the season 21 bachelor. Needless to say, fans are pretty sick of him.
12. Lee Garrett
Shortly after season 13 of The Bachelorette premiered, racist tweets surfaced where Lee Garrett compared the NAACP to the KKK. These tweets were doubly concerning considering season 13 was the first time The Bachelor franchise featured a black lead. ABC said they weren’t aware of the tweets until the media approached the network. Although Garrett’s Twitter account was private at the time, his visible profile stated that he was “pleasantly offensive.”
13. Garrett Yrigoyen
Season 14 winner, Garrett Yrigoyen, won Becca Kufrin’s heart, but he still had to make things right with Bachelorette viewers. Fans discovered he’d liked several Instagram posts making fun of trans people, women, and immigrants. Yrigoyen deleted his social media and apologized for his “hurtful and offensive” actions. Now, Kufin and the former medical sales rep live together in Los Angeles. They don’t have a wedding date yet.
14. Leo Dottavio
After competing on season 14 of The Bachelorette, Leo Dottavio moved on to The Bachelor Pad. He yelled and cursed, eventually exiting the show after throwing a drink at a fellow contestant and nearly getting into a physical fight. Then, Dottavio began attacking Bachelor contestants on social media. He was later accused of (and denied) multiple accounts of sexual misconduct.
15. Caelynn Miller-Keyes
Fans don’t like it when contestants go on the show for the wrong reasons. From the beginning, women in the house accused Caelynn Miller-Keyes of having ulterior motives. But the North Carolina native made it all the way to hometown dates, where bachelor Colton Underwood began to question her motives as well and she was sent home.
During the aftershow, the women attacked Miller-Keyes, saying she was hanging around Underwood’s friend, former contestant Dean Unglert. Despite critics, Miller-Keyes claimed to have true feelings for Underwood. She told People, “I’m not fully over it. I’m still processing the heartbreak.”
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