Lauren Burnham Met Arie Before 'Bachelor' -- But Doesn't Think Meeting Outside the Show Is 'Fair' (Exclusive)

The 'Bachelor' alum also weighs in on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams' 'Bachelorette' swap.

Blink and you'd miss Lauren Burnham confessing on The Bachelor that she had met Arie Luyendyk Jr. before the show started filming. "I actually met him before I even went to the casting," she confirms in an interview with ET's Lauren Zima. 

"I met him at a racetrack," she continues, explaining that the event occurred three months before she even went to a Bachelor casting call in 2017. Then, once cast on the show, she still had no idea who would become the next lead. 

"They were like, 'You're gonna have to watch Good Morning America to find out who that is.' So I'm watching Good Morning America and he walks out on the stage, and I'm like, 'What? What are the odds that I meet this guy the same summer that I'm cast to go on this show? And he was on it, like, five years ago?' It was just an incredible coincidence," Burnham explains. 

Though the road getting there wasn't exactly smooth, Burnham and Luyendyk found their happy ending together on The Bachelor. After ending his engagement to finalist Becca Kufrin, Luyendyk proposed to Burnham on After the Final Rose. They married less than a year later, in January 2019, and are now parents to 1-year-old daughter Alessi. 

Unconventional endings seem to be the key to success for the Bachelor franchise, with Jason Mesnick also still married to his runner-up, Molly, after pulling a switcheroo on his 2009 season. The most recent Bachelor, Peter Weber, also ended his engagement to his final pick, Hannah Ann Sluss, and reunited with his runner-up, Madison Prewett. However, he's now dating another former contestant, Kelley Flanagan -- whom he had serendipitously met at a hotel weeks before filming. 

Burnham thinks she met Luyendyk before her season "for a reason," and maybe the same is true for Weber and Flanagan -- but she doesn't necessarily think there's a pattern there. Not only does she not advocate for leads and contestants meeting or talking before the season -- she doesn't think it's "fair" to the Bachelor franchise process. 

"If you know you're gonna be the lead, I mean, I don't think it gives the contestants a fair chance," she says. "They're coming on the show to get to know you. If you're thinking about somebody back home, [it's not fair]." 

Whether Clare Crawley possibly spoke with contestants before her season of The Bachelorette started filming last month has been a hot topic among fans. ET learned earlier this month that she was replaced as Bachelorette after falling for one of her contestants roughly two weeks into filming. Tayshia Adams has stepped into her place, getting a "fresh start" as lead. 

"I'm really happy for Clare if the rumors are true and she's found her guy, but I'm also really, really excited for Tayshia, because she's one of the few girls that I always saw as the Bachelorette, or hoped she would be one," Burnham says. 

"She just has that essence about her," she continues of Adams, whom she's gotten to know in the last year. "I feel like she's very confident and strong and beautiful and kind. She just has all those qualities that I would want to see in a Bachelorette. So, I think she's gonna do a great job."

While Bachelor Nation waits to see Crawley and Adams' journeys play out onscreen -- The Bachelorette will air on Tuesdays this fall on ABC -- Burnham has been keeping busy with her new clothing line, Shades of Rose. The first collection dropped on Tuesday, and she's got several others in the works. 

"I was being sensitive to the climate of what we're dealing with right now, so there's a lot of pieces that you can wear if you're working from home, or you can dress them up if you're going out to do something. And same with dressing them up or down for day-to-night transitions too," she says of the line, which has 12 different pieces, ranging from $40 to $150. 

Shop Shades of Rose here, and see more on Burnham and Luyendyk in the video below. 


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