The Biggest Bachelor Nation Moments of 2020: From Matt James' Historic Casting to the 'Bachelorette' Switch

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Biggest Bachelor Moments 2020
ABC

2020 shifted everything about the Bachelor franchise, and not just because the coronavirus pandemic made it hard for filming. Things were abnormal from the start.

The new Bachelor season started with the lead, Peter Weber, considering giving things another go with his ex, former Bachelorette Hannah Brown. His cycle ended with one of the most shocking finales in franchise history (and most memorable moms), and the drama continued offscreen. 

The COVID-19 outbreak postponed The Bachelorette, but in the meantime, the franchise made strides in its diversity efforts. Amid a nationwide racial reckoning, Matt James was named the first Black Bachelor. 

Then, Clare Crawley finally got her chance at love, but found it even quicker than The Bachelorette had planned for. In another franchise first, a show's lead was replaced two weeks into filming. Tayshia Adams stepped in -- and gave the series another happy ending.  

But that's not all that went down. From breakups to makeups to quarantine crews, here are the biggest Bachelor Nation moments of 2020. 

Peter Weber's Bumpy Landing

Just days before the coronavirus lockdown in Los Angeles, The Bachelor aired its two-night season finale, featuring Peter Weber's engagement to Hannah Ann Sluss, breakup with Hannah Ann and reunion with runner-up Madison Prewett -- which led to an incredibly tense After the Final Rose. 

Peter's mom, Barb, did not approve, and made that painfully clear while Peter and Madison were in the hot seat. Just two days later, Barb got her wish, and Peter and Madison called it quits. One person Barb did approve of? Contestant Kelley Flanagan, who was eliminated just before hometown dates. She and Peter reconnected after the show, started dating, and were happily in love.  However, on New Year's Eve, Peter shared that he and Kelley have broken up.

Hannah and Tyler's Quarantine Crew 

After a tearful but brief will they-won't they with Peter on his season of The Bachelor, fans had hope that Hannah could potentially reignite her romance with her runner-up, Tyler Cameron. The former Bachelorette visited Tyler in his hometown in Jupiter, Florida, just as the coronavirus broke out -- and spent the next few weeks with him and his friends making TikToks and teasing viewers about getting back together. 

Eventually, Hannah and Tyler went their separate ways (on not-so-great terms). In a recent YouTube reunion, Hannah and Tyler revealed that they did sleep in the same bed -- but didn't hook up. And these days, they're just friends. "We care about each other, we're there for each other. I'm super stoked with where we're at right now," Tyler said. 

Ben Higgins and Jessica Clarke
RP Imagery

Ben Higgins' Engagement

Former Bachelor Ben Higgins, meanwhile, found himself a quarantine partner for life. Ben got engaged to girlfriend Jessica Clarke at the end of March, popping the question at her family's home in Franklin, Tennessee. 

Though things didn't work out for Ben on The Bachelor -- he and Lauren Bushnell split in 2017 -- he didn't give up on finding love. He told ET that Jess represents a "new chapter." 

"I've shared some ups and downs. …But now it's time for a new chapter, and I think that excites me," he shared. "It's a chapter for me to have a lot of peace when it comes to romantic love, a lot of confidence in our partnership and who we are to each other, and kind of to start a chapter of no more tears and no more heartbreak. I'm not going to break this girl's heart and I know she's not going to break mine. It's time to start a new, more confident journey forward."

The Bachelor Spinoff That Actually Happened -- and the Ones That Didn't

The pandemic forced the Bachelor franchise to put a pause on their many spinoff plans (in addition to Bachelor in Paradise, they were also planning an Olympics-themed Summer Games and a senior citizens show), but The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Hearthad just finished production. 

The musical series (which wasn't inspired by Jed Wyatt, but could've been) premiered in April and provided fans with six weeks of fun and drama, crowning winners Bri Stauss and Chris Watson. They were supposed to get a record deal and a tour, but amid the 'rona times, they had to settle with an appearance on Clare's season of The Bachelorette. 

Colton and Cassie's Breakup … and All That Came After 

Colton Underwood was one of the first public figures to get the coronavirus, and during that period, Cassie Randolph was right by his side. He quarantined at her family's home in Huntington Beach, California, and the two couldn't have seemed stronger throughout his recovery. However, in May, Colton and Cassie went their separate ways, after a year and a half of dating. 

That too seemed pretty amicable, but in September, Cassie's claims against Colton came to light as she was granted a temporary domestic violence prevention restraining order against him. A source told ET that Cassie later began to receive strange texts from an unknown number, and allegedly found a "tracking device" on her car. According to the source, Cassie confronted Colton and he admitted to "everything."

In November, Cassie dropped her restraining order, and she and Colton reached a "private agreement" with each other. 

"Today Cassie asked the court to dismiss the temporary restraining order against me," Colton said in a statement to ET. "The two of us were able to reach a private agreement to address any of Cassie's concerns. I do not believe Cassie did anything wrong in filing for the restraining orders and also believe she acted in good faith. I appreciate everyone's respect for privacy regarding this matter." 

matt james 1280
ABC/Craig Sjodin

Matt James' Historic Casting 

In June, amid a nationwide racial reckoning and calls for The Bachelor to acknowledge its lack of diversity, the franchise announced its first Black Bachelor, Matt James. 

The 29-year-old was originally supposed to appear on Clare's season of The Bachelorette, but during shutdown, producers approached him to be the next Bachelor. Matt is the first Black male lead and third lead of color in the Bachelor franchise's 18-year history. (Juan Pablo Galavis is Venezuelan and Peter Weber is Cuban. Rachel Lindsay is The Bachelorette's first Black lead.) 

"It’s an honor," Matt said of his casting on Good Morning America. "I’m going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes Monday night they see that I’m not different from them and that diverse love stories are beautiful."

Producers also shared their commitment to diversity in front of and behind the camera. 

Becca Kufrin and Garrett's Breakup After 'Blue Lives Matter' Drama

In September, Becca announced on her Bachelor Happy Hour podcast that she and Garrett had split, following controversy over his "Blue Lives Matter" post. The news came two years after his proposal on The Bachelorette (and first scandal, over racist and sexist "likes" on social media).  

In June, Garrett shared a pro-police post amid the Black Lives Matter movement, causing Becca's podcast co-host, Rachel Lindsay, to tearfully confront her. Becca admitted the post was "tone deaf" and that she didn't agree with it. A week later, she said her and Garrett's relationship was up in the air. 

Jordan Rodgers and JoJo Fletcher at the 2018 CMT Artists of The Year
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT

All the Postponed Weddings

Bachelor Nation was prepared for a year of love, filled with the nuptials of Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk, JoJo Fletcher and Jordan Rodgers and Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced all those weddings to be postponed. 

Astrid and Kevin have postponed their wedding a year, to November 2021, JoJo and Jordan are hoping to tie the knot in June 2021, and Raven and Adam seem to have picked another date for next year. 

Clare Waiting 5 Months to Start Her Season -- and Ending it in 2 Weeks 

Filming on The Bachelorette was shut down just as Clare was supposed to meet her men, and instead of the two-week delay production anticipated, the show didn't start up again until late July. That, of course, led to some switch-ups in her cast due to availability (and probably finding men better suited for her) -- and questions about whether she spoke to any contestants prior to filming. 

Speculation on that second point was further sparked when Clare ended her Bachelorette journey just two weeks into filming, after falling for contestant Dale Moss. The two insisted their connection (which led to an engagement) didn't ignite until Night One, and months later, they seem to still be going strong. 

However, all that drama left production with a decision to do something they had never done before: recast their lead in the middle of filming. 

The Big Tayshia Switch 

Just days after Clare left the show with Dale, Tayshia was brought in to date Clare's remaining 16 men -- plus four more that production had brought to La Quinta with the rest of the guys in mid-July. (ET learned that the show had recruited a larger group of men in case anyone tested positive for the coronavirus.)

ET had learned of the switcheroo in August, but ABC and Warner Bros. didn't confirm it had actually happened until days before it played out on TV in November. In addition to being the first surprise Bachelorette, Tayshia was also the first Black and Latina Bachelorette.  

"It's a beautiful journey," Tayshia told ET. "Not only am I the second African American Bachelorette but I'm biracial -- I'm also Mexican -- so it is just an amazing opportunity to have been given a platform for women that are like me to see somebody represented and for me to find love and just show what that looks like. I am happy to have that platform to do so."

Ashley and J.P. Rosenbaum
Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Ashley and JP Rosenbaum's Breakup 

In October, one of Bachelor Nation's seemingly most solid couples, Ashley and J.P. Rosenbaum, announced their split after nearly eight years of marriage. 

"We created the most beautiful children and shared memories that will never be forgotten. Our differences have taken a toll on our relationship and after years of attempting to repair the damage, we’ve decided that it is in our family’s best interest to create new and separate lives for our children," Ashley wrote, in part, on Instagram. "Please respect our privacy as we move forward with the newness of our lives. Our ultimate focus is to create stable and healthy lives for our children."

J.P. proposed to Ashley on her season finale of The Bachelorette in 2011, and they married in a televised wedding in December 2012. The pair shares two children: 6-year-old son Ford and 4-year-old daughter Essie. 

Krystal and Chris' Breakup and Her Surprise Pregnancy Announcement With Someone Else 

Also calling it quits this year were Krystal Nielson and Chris Randone, who tied the knot on Bachelor in Paradise last summer. The two split in February, just eight months after their wedding, and less than eight months after that, Krystal announced she was pregnant -- with new boyfriend Miles Bowles' baby. 

Krystal found out she was pregnant in early August, but shared the video in November. 

"I'm feeling so anxious and excited and nervous. All of it! I'm just, honestly, ready. So ready," she said in the video, shared on YouTube. "I can't wait to fill my heart with so much love and creating little pieces of me into this world. And teaching them to love and teaching them the love I never had."

A few days later, Chris admitted he was "truly broken" by the news. "But I know in my heart I'm gonna find a super dope woman and have the most beautiful babies a dad could ask for. So I'll continue to follow my heart and let God guide my path in finding an incredible woman to build and grow with," he shared on his Instagram Story. 

Kaitlyn Bristowe's DWTS Dream Coming True 

Five years after Kaitlyn Bristowe's Dancing With the Stars dreams were dashed, she got another chance to make them come true. Chris Harrison broke the news to the former Bachelorette on a June episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons -- Ever! that she would be joining DWTS' 29th season in the fall… and she ended up winning the mirrorball. 

Week after week, Kaitlyn put in the work with partner Artem Chigvintsev, and on the show's Nov. 23 finale, it all paid off. 

"I was on a journey with the show and the [Bachelor] franchise. Everything that's happened, it's just like, I look back on it and I'm like, I am glad I didn't go on DWTS five years ago, to get this here today," Kaitlyn told ET just after winning. "I am grateful for everything. I can look back on it with gratitude. Who would have thought?" 

Tayshia Adams' Happy Ending 

For the first time in seemingly… forever, The Bachelorette didn't have an After the Final Rose special to catch up with its final couple -- but Tayshia Adams still got her happy ending. She got engaged to Zac Clark on her Dec. 22 season finale, which also marked another franchise first -- two engaged couples in one season, following Clare Crawley and Dale Moss' proposal. 

In an interview with ET the next morning, Tayshia and Zac gushed about their future together. 

"I'm the happiest I've been, and I feel like our relationship is just so different than anything that I've experienced, and I thought I'd be blessed to have," Tayshia shared. "So, I'm doing well. I'm living my best life."

"I echo everything she said," Zac added. "I'm excited."

Evan Bass and Carly Waddell
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Carly Waddell and Evan Bass' Split 

What goes up must come down, so one day after Tayshia Adams got her happy ending on The Bachelorette, Carly Waddell and Evan Bass announced their separation after three years of marriage. 

"We have made the difficult decision to separate," they said in a joint statement to People on Dec. 23. "We will always cherish our time together and continue to have the utmost respect for one another as we focus on what's best for the future of our family. We greatly appreciate everyone's love and support and kindly ask that you please respect our family’s privacy as we navigate through this."

Carly and Evan share two kids together -- 2-year-old Bella and 1-year-old Charlie. He's also dad to three older sons from a previous marriage.

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