Life has changed a lot since Nick Viall first entered Bachelor Nation -- but his goals are still the same. "My priorities of having a family are still No. 1," he tells ET's Lauren Zima as his season of The Bacheloris revisited on The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! "So I don't think it really has changed too much."
Viall first tried to find love on TV as a contestant on Andi Dorfman's 2014 season of The Bachelorette. The former software sales executive was runner-up on that season, as well as on Kaitlyn Bristowe's 2015 cycle. Viall wasn't well liked by fans on either season -- he had questioned Dorfman about why they slept together on After the Final Rose and was a target of the men on Bristowe's season, after she revealed they had sex before the fantasy suites.
However, a year later, Viall went to Paradise, and things turned around. With some time away from Bachelorette breakups, Viall gained perspective, won fans over and became the next Bachelor.
"The importance of a tan and a haircut cannot be understated," he quips to ET, noting his glow-up is evidence that more than just his mindset had changed.
Viall's season of The Bachelor was full of strong personalities and memorable women. There was Rachel Lindsay, who placed third and went on to become the first Black Bachelorette. There was Alexis Waters, who arrived on night one in a shark costume, Corinne Olympios, who made it to the final four despite being a target of some of the women for her bold moves and frequent naps, and Raven Gates, who seemingly experienced her first orgasm in the fantasy suite (she later clarified that wasn't the case). There was also Vanessa Grimaldi, who caught Viall's eye from the beginning, and later earned his final rose.
The pair tried to make their relationship work post-Bachelor, but ended their engagement in August 2017, less than a year after his proposal.
"I have no regrets," Viall says. "Vanessa, I was drawn to her in ways I wasn't drawn to any of the other women and that's just the reality. ... Unfortunately they did not cast my person and, and I'm not the last person or the first person that's happened to, and that's not to take anything away from the great women from my season. But it is what it is."
If Grimaldi and Viall's head butting wasn't evident during his season, it was clear on After the Final Rose. "We had a lot to learn about each other after the show was done airing, and pretty much everything we learned about each other was something we had a hard time agreeing on," he admits, describing them as oil and water.
After their breakup, the exes lost touch for a couple years. They recently reconnected, just before Grimaldi's new engagement to Joshua Wolfe.
"I shot her a text and just wished her congratulations as soon as I heard," Viall shares. "Had we not sat down and did a podcast together, I don't know if I would have felt comfortable enough to do that. So thankfully we recorded a few weeks before that and again the lines of communication are open. I'm glad that's the case."
"She and I are excellent at agreeing to disagree," he says. "That's the thing we agree on most, is how much we disagree."
Viall has actually reconnected with most of his Bachelor exes, as he recapped his season on Patreon. In addition to the bold personalities showcased on his season, Viall is proud to have showcased an interracial relationship not often seen on The Bachelor; he and Lindsay had serious conversations about what it meant while they were a couple on the show.
"There's a sense of pride I have that Rachel was on my season, and I think Rachel's hometown was the first hometown with a Black woman. There were some conversations about race, and Rachel and I always enjoyed those conversations," he says. "I'm glad it was discussed on my season."
The Bachelor franchise recently case its first Black Bachelor, Matt James, and shared their goals to make inclusion a priority. Earlier this month, ET learned that Tayshia Adams had become the second Black Bachelorette, stepping in for Clare Crawley after she had fallen for a contestant roughly two weeks into filming.
"I just have so many questions about how things are going to play out. ... It sounds like what Tayshia is going into is an incredibly unique experience that no one else is going to have the ability to relate to," Viall says of the switch-up. "I'm guessing Tayshia is going to be excited and she'll do well. Tayshia's going to have the benefit of following Clare in whatever Clare did right."
"I feel like Clare might be the storm and Tayshia might be the sunrise ... That's just what I'm hearing," he continues. "We don't really know what they're gonna show, we don't know what's been filmed... there's so many questions I wanna know the answers to."
As for Viall, he's hopeful fans will see him on screen again -- but not as the Bachelor.
"I am still acting. I am doing auditions and I'm having fun with it. It's been a fun passion project," the 39-year-old expresses. "But I don't think the Bachelor is in my cards, and I think that's good for everybody."
"I'm in a very comfortable place with my relationship life right now," adds Viall, who has previously been romantically linked to January Jones and Rachel Bilson, but says he's currently single (and that his recent run with Dorfman was strictly platonic). "I will just leave it at that."
The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! will conclude on Sept. 7 with an episode highlighting Juan Pablo Galavis' season and Crawley's road to becoming the Bachelorette. See more from our interview with Viall on Tuesday's ET.