Fifteen years after The Bachelor premiered, the franchise is still experiencing a lot of firsts!
2017 was the first year a three-time contestant actually became the Bachelor, the first time production was suspended after a sex scandal and the first time an African American was chosen to be a franchise lead (finally!).
There was happy news (babies!), sad news (breakups), and f**kboys galore (love you Dean!), but as Bachelor fans know, every rose has its thorn. Check out 2017's biggest Bachelor moments below, because Chris Harrison was actually right this time -- it was the most dramatic year in Bachelor history.
Nick Viall Gets a Fourth Chance at Love -- and Then Ruins It
The Viall Bachelor choice seemed to come out of nowhere, but after the 37-year-old aspiring actor redeemed himself on Bachelor in Paradise, we were kind of into it. After failing to find love on Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s seasons of The Bachelorette and Paradise last year, we had some hope that Viall would finally put a ring on it -- and he did. It just didn’t last very long.
Viewers saw Viall propose to his final Bachelor pick, Vanessa Grimaldi on the season finale of The Bachelor in March, but by August, the pair announced that they had gone their separate ways (let’s be honest -- we saw this coming after their awkward After the Final Rose interview). The fourth time was not the charm for Viall.
Amanda Stanton Closes the Book on Josh Murray
Grimaldi and Viall have remained on good terms since their split, but the same can not be said for another Bachelor breakup, this one between Amanda Stanton and Josh Murray. The couple got engaged on the season three finale of Bachelor in Paradise in 2016, and called it quits just a few months later in December. The drama played out well into 2017, however, when kissing pics circulated in February sparked rumors that they were back together -- until things ended pretty badly.
"It has kind of been not the most amicable breakup and that's been tough...I think for me, I've kind of closed that chapter, and I'm moving on from it,” Stanton told ET of the split in May -- before hinting in August that stories of Murray might make it into an actual book she’s writing. “It’s been my therapy, in a way," she noted.
The ‘Perfect Ben’ Never Makes It Down the Aisle
The most surprising breakup of the year, no doubt, was Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell, who had us fooled that they were perfect and in love and ready to walk down the aisle. The two announced their breakup in May, after a year and a half together, and have remained amicable for the most part.
Just days after announcing the split, ET learned that Bushnell was planning to move back to Los Angeles to pursue modeling, and by July, she already had a new boyfriend, in former flame Devin Antin. “I don't know if one thing went wrong,” Bushnell told ET in August of her split with Higgins. “When it came to talking about marriage, it didn't feel completely right."
Chris Soules Arrested
Bachelor No. 19 found himself in the news again in April, when he was arrested after his Chevy pickup truck rear-ended a tractor, leaving the driver, 66-year-old farmer Kenneth Mosher, dead. Soules was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a class D felony.
The Iowa native pleaded not guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death in May, and filed a motion to dismiss all charges in September. Soules’ trial is set for Jan. 18. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Rachel Lindsay Announced as First Black Lead in Franchise History
Bachelor Nation got a sweet surprise in February, when ABC revealed the next Bachelorette while The Bachelor was still airing (and while the lucky woman was still on the show!). After 15 years of white guy after white guy -- with a splash of Juan Pablo Galavis -- the show announced Rachel Lindsay as the franchise’s first African American lead.
“[Race] is something that should be talked about. I'm happy to address it,” Lindsay told ET ahead of her groundbreaking season, which included the franchise’s most diverse cast ever -- but didn’t shy away from showing racial tensions between the guys. “I'm honored to be the first [black Bachelorette]."
Rachel Lindsay's Tearful Finale and Super Salty ATFR
The 32-year-old Dallas attorney proved it was her way or the highway from the beginning, revealing that she was already engaged to reporters before her season of The Bachelorette even started airing. But contrary to what most fans predicted, Lindsay didn’t end up with model-turned-fitness-guru Peter Kraus. In fact, Lindsay and her runner-up ended things on not-so-good terms, when Kraus refused to propose, but told Lindsay that she was settling for a life of mediocrity without him.
This all led to a super tense After the Final Rose, during which Lindsay declared that finding love on TV “wasn’t for” the then-Bachelor front runner. Lindsay also told ET that the Milwaukee native was “manipulative,” and was glad he didn’t become the Bachelor.
But congrats to Bryan Abasolo for sealing the deal!
The Bachelor Goes for the Gold With Winter Games
While Peter missed out on his shot at the Bachelor (more on that later), things seemed to be looking up for him in October, when Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss tweeted that he would be heading to the franchise’s latest spinoff, Winter Games.
The new show was announced in May and pitched as a competition between Bachelor and Bachelorette favorites in winter-themed athletic challenges -- all while living together at a “luxurious” winter resort. Seems simple enough, except that filming kicked off earlier this month in Vermont, with Bachelor stars from around the globe, but curiously NO PETER KRAUS.
Paradise Production Shut Down
Back in June, however, Bachelor Nation was rocked with scandal, when production on season four of Bachelor in Paradise was shut down in Mexico, after a third party filed a complaint of possible sexual misconduct between cast members just days into filming.
The cast members were quickly revealed to DeMario Jackson (who made headlines on The Bachelorette after Lindsay sent him home for supposedly having a girlfriend) and Corinne Olympios (who made headlines on The Bachelor for napping and loving cheese pasta and having a nanny) -- the latter of which also reportedly had a boyfriend during BIP.
BIP Back in Business in the Blink of an Eye
Despite what felt like an eternity of swirling rumors and a jaw-dropping statement by Olympios, who claimed to have no recollection of the alleged encounter, and called herself a “victim,” Warner Bros. concluded that no misconduct had occurred on set. Filming resumed just nine days later with new rules about alcohol consumption and contestants getting their sexy on -- but without Jackson or Olympios.
The pair didn’t communicate for months -- but when they did, they couldn’t have been more jovial, with Olympios telling ET that while she was initially “mad” at Jackson for speaking to the press about the scandal, they were “all good.”
Babies, Babies and More Babies
Despite the Paradise shut down, BIP couple Evan Bass and Carly Waddell tied the knot in Mexico in a televised wedding attended by plenty of Bachelor favorites -- and revealed soon after that they were expecting their “surprise” first child together.
Another Paradise couple, Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert, welcomed their first baby in August, a daughter named Emerson, and former Bachelor Sean Lowe announced in November that he and his wife, Catherine, were expecting baby no. 2.
A Short Journey from Heartthrob to F**kboy: The Story of Dean Unglert
It was a year of growth for many Bachelor alums, including Dean Unglert, who -- after Paradise’s quickly resolved scandal -- found himself at the center of the season’s new storyline. The 26-year-old went from heartthrob on Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette to two-timing Kristina Schulman and Danielle Lombard on BIP, and was promptly named the biggest f**kboy in Paradise.
Though Unglert “hates” the term, he’s got quite a bit of company in the f**kboy boat, as the cast agreed that Diggy Moreland, Daniel Maguire and Robby Hayes all deserve the honor at the show’s season four reunion show.
Arie Luyendyk Jr. is The Bachelor and Peter Kraus is Not
Neither Unglert’s behavior nor the Paradise shutdown could compete with our final Bachelor shocker, however, when Arie Luyendyk Jr. was announced as Bachelor No. 22 in September. The 36-year-old reality star hadn’t appeared on a Bachelor franchise show since Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette in 2012, leaving many fans curious as to who the hell Luyendyk was -- not to mention disappointed that the Bachelor wasn’t Kraus.
So, what happened? Kraus told ET in September that he “needed more time for clarity” after the “emotional toll” his breakup with Lindsay took on him -- and that it was fear that held him back days before the Bachelor decision was made.
"I didn't really realize who they were considering until I was picked," Luyendyk confirmed to ET of his own quick decision to accept the role. "I didn't even grab a suit. I really just jumped on a plane. It came as such a pleasant surprise. I mean, the timing of my life is just perfect, so I got the call, and I'm here and it's crazy."
Crazy is right -- and get ready for a lot more of it when Luyendyk’s season of The Bachelor premieres on Jan. 1. See more on our favorite franchise in the video below.
EXCLUSIVE: Arie Luyendyk Jr. on Why Now Is the Perfect Time for Him to Be 'The Bachelor'
'The Bachelor': Meet the 29 Women Looking For Love With Arie Luyendyk Jr.
EXCLUSIVE: Rachel Lindsay & Bryan Abasolo on ‘Bridezilla’ Bachelorette Bash, Holiday Plans & 2018 Wedding