'Joe Millionaire' Then & Now: I Didn't Know What I Was Getting Into

by Raphael Chestang 5:44 PM PDT, May 12, 2015
Playing 'Joe Millionaire' Then & Now: I Didn't Know What I Was Getting Into

Joe Millionaire star Evan Marriott was the most sought after man in America 12 years ago, but today he's just a guy trying to get by.

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The former reality star attended the Evolution of Relationship Reality Shows discussion at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills in March as a part of WE tv's panel, where he dished on his meteoric rise and equally sudden fall.

"The popular phrase is 'You knew what you were getting into.' Well no, I didn't," Marriott told ET. "It was so embryonic. It was so new that no, you didn't know what you were getting into. I didn't know what I was walking into. I thought it was like Blind Date. It was a half-hour show. And then they sprung it on me that I was going to France. And I'm thinking, 'What the hell?' And then they offered me 50 grand."

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The 2003 Fox reality show sent 20 women to France with the hope of striking up a romance with a man that they were told was a millionaire. In actuality, Marriott was a construction worker with limited financial security. In the end, Marriott and the show's winner, Zora Andrich, were surprised with a million-dollar prize to split between them. The couple split up not long after.

"I've had people approach me in restaurants and women tell me how horrible I am for putting the girls through that," Marriott said. "I'm like, 'Look, I'm just here eating my meal.'"

Now, Marriott is 40 years old, single and back working in construction. He says that while anybody can get famous, fame isn't for everybody.

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"It's not hard to embrace fame," Marriott said. "Anybody can get kicked into a pool -- it's treading water once you're in that pool."