The Biggest 'Bachelor' Franchise Scandals: From Jed's Girlfriend Drama to the 'Bachelor in Paradise' Shutdown
By Jennifer Drysdale
With nearly 50 seasons of TV, theBachelor franchise knows how to deliver drama -- and sometimes that drama makes its way off-screen.
Bachelorettefrontrunner Jed Wyatt made headlines earlier this month as his ex-girlfriend, Haley Stevens, alleged to ET that they were in a relationship when he headed off to Los Angeles to date Hannah Brown. He's far from the first contestant to allegedly appear on the show while having a girlfriend back home, and he probably won't be the last. From secret romances to sexual misconduct allegations to social media controversies, here are the biggest scandals to hit the Bachelor franchise (in no particular order):
In her first on-camera interview about the scandal, Stevens got emotional, claiming that Wyatt told her he only planned to make it to the top five on Brown's season and that he planned to return to Stevens afterward. Wyatt, a Nashville-based musician, had admitted on The Bachelorette that he came on the show to further his music career, but told Brown at the time that he had developed real feelings for her. Before last week's headlines, Brown had confessed to ET that Wyatt was a big frontrunner to win her heart, but neither has spoken out about the controversy.
Jenna Cooper and Jordan Kimball's 'BiP' Breakup
The pair seemed like a match made in heaven when they appeared on season five of Bachelor in Paradise last year, and got engaged at the end of the season. Just before the season finale aired, though, alleged texts between Jenna Cooper and another man surfaced, during which she allegedly told him her romance with Jordan Kimball was just for the cameras. Kimball ended the engagement told ET he was heartbroken by the situation, while Cooper claimed the texts had been fabricated -- by Kimball. He has denied the allegations.
Jason Mesnick Dumping Melissa Rycroft on 'ATFR' for Molly Malaney
Jason Mesnick went from a sweet single dad looking for love to what fans called the most-hated Bachelor ever (he's since gotten back into Bachelor Nation's good graces) after proposing to Melissa Rycroft on the season 13 finale of the show in 2009, only to dump her on "After the Final Rose." It was during "ATFR," however, that Mesnick asked his runner-up, Molly Malaney, to take him back, and she did. The couple married in 2010, and now share a daughter, Riley.
Yrigoyen's drama shocked fans mostly because it occurred just one season after another man, Lee Garrett, was revealed to have skeletons in his social media closet that producers didn't catch. The contestant -- who notably appeared on Rachel Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette in 2017 -- was revealed to have made racist tweets in the past. Lindsay, the first black Bachelorette, confronted Garrett over his offensive words on "The Men Tell All," and he apologized, while host Chris Harrison also admitted he was shocked Garrett's social media activity wasn't caught by producers ahead of time.
Rozlyn Papa's Alleged Affair With a Producer
Producers caught on to Rozlyn Papa's wrongdoings when she appeared on Jake Pavelka's 2010 season of The Bachelor -- because she was allegedly having an affair with a producer. Papa denied she had an "inappropriate physical relationship" (Harrison's words, not ours) with anyone behind the scenes, but after a fellow contestant claimed she saw Papa and the producer kissing on the stairs, both were promptly booted from the show.
Years after Mesnick's switcheroo, Arie Luyendyk Jr. pulled one as well -- but this time, Kufrin's heartbreak played out in an unedited segment on TV. Just months after proposing to Kufrin on his season finale, Luyendyk dumped her to get his runner-up, Lauren Burnham, back -- and brought a camera crew with him. Fans uncomfortably watched the brutal breakup play out when the season finale aired in March 2018, and Luyendyk claimed he did it to up Kufrin's chances of being the Bachelorette (which she later became). Still, he was upset by the flak he received and called the unedited breakup "unfair" to him. He ended up marrying Burnham in January, and they now share a baby girl together.
Production on season four of Paradise shut down in 2017 following allegations of sexual misconduct revolving around castmembers Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. The two allegedly had an encounter in a pool after heavy drinking soon after filming started, and a third party reported the incident. However, after a weeks-long investigation, Warner Bros. found no wrongdoing and production resumed, without Olympios and Jackson. Jackson has been open about how the allegation -- and Olympios' first released statement, in which she called herself a "victim" -- has affected his life, while Olympios later told Harrison that she was on a new medication, and didn't blame Jackson for anything. After clearing the air, the two were able to become good friends.
DeMario Jackson's Girlfriend Crashes Group Date
Jackson had caused controversy on Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette just months before, when his alleged girlfriend, Lexi, showed up -- on a group date. Jackson pretended not to know who she was, and didn't own up to his mistakes -- so Lindsay told him to "get the f**k out." He returned on a subsequent episode to try to explain himself, but Lindsay wasn't having it. "I'm glad that this has been a life lesson. I hope that the pain that you've gotten from this gives you joy somewhere else. It's just not here right now. Thank you," she hissed, sending him on his way.
Before Higgins' season of The Bachelor in 2016, it was a known franchise rule that leads weren't allowed to tell contestants that they were in love with them until handing out their final rose. Higgins decided to buck tradition when he told his final two women, JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell, that he was in love with them. Fletcher was visibly shocked by the admission, and he later forced her to tears when he confessed he had told Bushnell the same thing. Bushnell, who earned Higgins' final rose and an engagement ring just days later, didn't find out until after the proposal. She and Higgins split in 2018.