The Most Memorable 'Bachelor' Franchise Moments of the Decade

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Getty Images/ Nick Mantle

Everything old is new again -- and the same is true forThe Bachelor

Buzz about the franchise was at an all-time high 10 years ago, following Jason Mesnick's shocking breakup with his final pick, Melissa Rycroft, in favor of a relationship with his runner-up, Molly Malaney, on season 13 of The Bachelor in 2009. Sound familiar? Then, in 2010, the franchise started fresh with a dashing, seemingly squeaky-clean pilot in the lead role: Jake Pavelka. Also, sound familiar? 

With topics like sex and religion in the forefront of Bachelor Nation recently, things have changed over the past decade -- or rather, they've just gone in cycles. 

"I don't think things are changing like maybe some people think they are," former Bachelor Sean Lowe recently told ET, reminding us that like Colton Underwood, he was also a celibate Bachelor, and that sex was as big a deal on Ben Flajnik's 2012 season (remember his skinny dip with Courtney Robertson?) as it was for Kaitlyn Bristowe or our most recent Bachelorette, Hannah Brown

But lest we forget (every season is "the most dramatic season in Bachelor history," right?), here are the most memorable Bachelor franchise moments of the last decade. 

Bachelor: Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi's Split (2010) 

America watched in shock as Pavelka chose Girardi, his season villain, over the comparably sweet, Disney character-like Tenley Molzahn on his season of The Bachelor, skeptical that things would work out between the pilot and his 22-year-old fiancee. 

Then, just months after his Bachelor finale, the inevitable happened: Pavelka and Girardi broke up. It was dramatic, explosive and of course, caught on camera. The pair sat down to explain what went wrong in a tense interview with Bachelor host Chris Harrison in June 2010; Girardi accused Pavelka of being a "liar" and a "fame whore," and his reaction to her claims sent her running away in tears. 

"The Jake and Vienna breakup just exploded," Harrison recalled in a 2016 interview with ET. 

"Some word got out that Jake had looked violent or made a fist, so we said, 'Well, now we have to air it, because everybody is going to talk about this and thinks we're hiding something,'" Harrison said. "It was very raw."

As Girardi recently shared with ET, she and Pavelka haven't spoken since -- but she has high hopes for fellow pilot Peter Weber on his journey to find love. "I think anything can be better than the first pilot," she shared. 

Bachelorette: Justin "Rated R" Rego's Escape From Ali Fedotowsky (2010) 

We can always count on a Bachelor villain for a memorable moment, but in this case, Bachelorette bad boy Rego backed down from a fight -- or rather, ran away from it. 

On her 2010 season of The Bachelorette, Fedotowsky found out that Rego had a girlfriend back home. So, she confronted him about it, and instead of owning up to his behavior, he tried to run away from her... wearing a boot after breaking his leg.

In a 2016 interview with ET, Rego claimed that he knew Fedotowsky wasn't the girl for him days into filming -- but alleged that producers wouldn't let him leave. 

"I actually wanted to go home [while we were shooting in] Iceland but the [producers] wouldn't let me," he claimed. "They wanted it to be done in Turkey. But I had a gut feeling it wasn't going to be that smooth, so I packed my passport and everything I needed to leave. You can see in the footage me grabbing a bag. I was going to leave my clothes and leave everything and say 'f**k you, guys.'"

Bachelorette: Kasey Kahl Gets Left on a Glacier (2010)

Fedotowsky's season offered no shortage of borderline comedic moments. In week five of the competition, Kasey Kahl decided to show the Bachelorette the "guard and protect your heart" tattoo he had gotten in her honor. He unveiled the ink on a two-on-one date on top of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland -- and you can guess how that went.

Fedotowsky decided her relationship with Kahl had run its course and left him there on that glacier. The volcano erupted just a few days later. 

Bachelor: Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici's Wedding (2014)

In 2014, we finally had Bachelor love to celebrate, as Lowe married his final pick, Catherine -- and still remains the only Bachelor to do so. The pair tied the knot in a televised wedding special which aired that January, including special Bachelor Nation cameos, and a questionable "honeymoon suite" camera after it had been revealed the couple was waiting to have sex with each other until marriage. The couple is still married, and about to welcome their third child together. 

"They used to bring me on every season to give advice, and I don't think I have a great track record. So for what it's worth, I would just say, 'At the end of the season, if you are engaged to someone, you just have to put them first, because there will be a million distractions and it's easy to get caught up in it,'" Lowe told ET. "I'm not going to say I did it perfectly, because I did not. But you definitely have to commit to your new fiancee, and make them feel very special every chance you get, because it will be challenging.

Bachelor: Clare Crawley Telling Off Juan Pablo Galavis at Final Rose (2014)

Galavis' season of The Bachelor kicked off the same month -- but didn't provide that same happy ending. The Venezuelan soccer star was chosen as the lead after making it to just week six of Desiree Hartsock's season of The Bachelorette. He started off as fun and entertaining -- a single dad who seemed to really want to find a wife to complete his family. Then, as the season progressed, Galavis somehow ended up as his own season villain. He shamed finalist Clare Crawley for getting hot and heavy with him in the ocean, discredited Andi Dorfman's concerns about their relationship by saying "It's OK" (later inspiring her to write a tell-all book), and refused to propose to his final pick, Nikki Ferrell -- or even tell her he loved her. 

There was controversy over homophobic comments he had made off-camera, but perhaps the most memorable moment of his season was when Crawley decided to tell him off in the finale. "He gave them a lot of reasons to [hate him]," Harrison told ET of the moment in 2016.  

Bachelorette: Nick Viall Calling Out Andi Dorfman at Finale for Sleeping With Him (2014)

Dorfman ended up being cast as the next Bachelorette, and while she again ended up with her season villain, Josh Murray, it was her runner-up, Nick Viall, who made the biggest splash during After the Final Rose. Clearly still bitter, Viall called out Dorfman for what went down in the fantasy suite just days before she called off their relationship and got engaged to Murray. 

"If you weren't in love with me, I'm just not sure why you made love to me," he said. Fans can read more about Dorfman's reaction to that moment in the former Bachelorette's book. 

Bachelor: Kelsey Poe and Ashley Iaconetti's 2-on-1 With Chris Soules (2015)

"Two women, one rose, one stays, one goes," read the iconic two-on-one date cards on The Bachelor, and they truly are a treasure.

On Soules' 2015 season, it was Poe -- who had already gushed over her tragic story earlier in the season -- and Iaconetti on the fateful date. And it was awesome. Poe said crazy things, Iaconetti cried more tears than we thought was possible, and when Soules had had enough, he left Iaconetti stranded in the desert. And then he left Poe there too. A true masterpiece!

Bachelorette: Kaitlyn Bristowe's Sex Reveal (2015) 

After things didn't work out with Dorfman, Viall tried his luck at finding love on TV again with Bristowe. The pair, who had spoken before her season kicked off, immediately clicked -- and she ended up sleeping with him before fantasy suites. What came next was truly unlike anything we had seen in the Bachelor franchise. Bristowe ended up telling the rest of the cast that she and Viall had gotten intimate, leading to major beef between him and another frontrunner, Shawn Booth -- who later won Bristowe's final rose after she brutally rejected Viall on her 2015 finale. 

In a June interview with ET, Bristowe called the aftermath of her night with Viall "the worst." "I genuinely couldn't sleep. I would cry every night. I lost so much hair. I felt so defeated by everybody, but I was like, 'I wouldn't change a thing,'" she said. "Even if it didn't work, you just don't get to where you're supposed to be by trying to be somebody else. So, it's really hard." 

Bachelor in Paradise: Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert's Wedding (2016)

The next year, Bachelor in Paradise produced its first real marriage (remember that drama between Lacy Faddoul and Marcus Grodd?). Roper and Tolbert's wedding aired in the January 2016 special The Bachelor: A Celebration of Love. Viall slept with one of Roper's bridesmaids, Liz Sandoz, at the big bash -- which made for plenty of awkwardness when she appeared as a contestant on his season. But as for Roper and Tolbert? The pair is still married with two children together. 

Bachelor: Ben Higgins Telling Two Women He Loved Them (2016) 

There's a reason the show's leads are encouraged not to say the L word before revealing their final pick, but Higgins learned that the hard way. During his 2016 season, he fell hard for his final two, JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell, and told both that he was in love with them. Only Fletcher (who had the second date before the finale) found out before his final rose that he had said "I love you" to Bushnell. The former flight attendant didn't know just how far things had gotten between Higgins and Fletcher until after accepting Higgins' proposal.

As they revealed afterward, the double L bomb caused tension in Higgins and Bushnell's relationship, and they ended their engagement a year and a half later. 

Bachelorette: "Bad" Chad Johnson (2016) 

Fletcher ended up being named the Bachelorette, and attention quickly went from her heartbreak to "Bad" Chad. Before hurling the F word at Harrison on Bachelor in Paradise, Johnson earned his nickname as the clear villain of Fletcher's season. He first fought with Evan Bass (and ripping his shirt) before threatening to de-limb the cast, arguing with Jordan Rodgers and storming off into the woods on his two-on-one date. It was truly something. 

Bachelorette: Rachel Lindsay's Historic Season (2017) 

In February 2017, the Bachelor franchise named its first black Bachelorette: Lindsay. 

“[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]."

There was drama from the get-go, but it was nothing Lindsay couldn't handle. First, there was the DeMario Jackson of it all, with Lindsay meeting his girlfriend face to face during a group date. Who's this?

"Let me tell you something. I'm not here to be played, I'm not here to be made a joke of, which is what I feel like you're doing right now with me. So, I'm really going to need you to get the f**k out!" Lindsay told him in one of the most badass Bachelor moments ever.

Lindsay continued to get sh*t handled on her season, which many fans thought would see her end up with model-turned fitness guru Peter Kraus. Their emotional breakup, which had Lindsay crying her eyelashes off in the season finale, didn't end well. Kraus refused to propose, but told Lindsay that she was settling for a life of mediocrity without him -- leading to a super tense After the Final Rose

Lindsay, then engaged to Bryan Abasolo, declared that finding love on TV “wasn’t for” Kraus, the then-Bachelor frontrunner. Lindsay also told ET that the Milwaukee native was “manipulative,” and was glad he didn’t become the Bachelor.

Bachelor in Paradise: Shutdown After DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios' Encounter (2017) 

In June 2017, 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 be DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios -- the latter of who also reportedly had a boyfriend during BiP.

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 sex between contestants -- 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.”

Bachelor: Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s Finale Switcheroo (2018)

When things didn't work out with Kraus, The Bachelor went with a throwback choice for its next lead -- Luyendyk Jr. The race car driver hadn't been on TV since Emily Maynard's 2012 season of The Bachelorette, and it showed. It was a snooze of a season, until we got to the finale, during which Luyendyk pulled a Mesnick.

Weeks after proposing to Becca Kufrin, Luyendyk realized he wanted to be with his runner-up, Lauren Burnham. The show aired his brutal, unedited breakup with Kufrin on the season finale, and soon after, he proposed to Burnham on After the Final Rose. 

Bachelor: Colton Underwood's Fence Jump Into Quitting the Show (2019) 

As Harrison told ET, Underwood's position as the first real virgin Bachelor was too good a story to pass up -- but the former football player gave production an even better storyline.

Underwood ended up quitting the show before his finale, when contestant Cassie Randolph broke up with him at final three. He hurled himself over a fence in heartbreak and hid from production, before rejoining the show hours later. He cut things off with the remaining women, Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin, and tried to get Randolph back; she accepted, but noted she wasn't ready for a proposal. 

Bachelorette: Hannah Brown's Windmill Reveal (2019)

If Underwood was TV gold ahead of his season, Brown was the definition of an unlikely choice. She finished seventh on Underwood's season, was a bit of a Bachelor villain, and couldn't deliver a good toast to save her life. (Don't worry, she redeemed herself.)

By night one, Brown had proved there was more to her than meets the eye. She fell fast for fellow Christian Luke Parker, but figured out after fantasy suites that their idea of how sexuality interacts with their faith didn't line up. When he said he wanted to leave the competition if she had been intimate with another contestant, she let him go. When he wouldn't leave, she dropped a bombshell. "I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me," she hissed. The sex Brown was referring to was four times in the windmill with future Bachelor Peter Weber -- and while it was enough to get Parker to leave, the drama didn't end there. 

Brown soon after accepted a proposal from Jed Wyatt, who was then revealed to have a girlfriend back home. Brown confronted him and ended their engagement, becoming the first Bachelorette since 2005 to end her season single. 

Bachelor in Paradise: Demi Burnett / Historic First Same-Sex Couple (2019) 

While Brown's relationship drama was going down, Bachelor in Paradise had started filming, featuring its first-ever same-sex couple. Demi Burnett revealed she was queer on the show's season six premiere, and after failing to find love on the beach in Mexico, production brought in Burnett's female love interest from back home, Kristian Haggerty. 

The pair ended up engaged in the finale, but broke things off in September. Burnett previously told ET that while her relationship with Haggerty was a Bachelor Nation first, she wasn't set on changing the franchise. 

"I don't really wanna be the one to carry the torch for how Bachelor Nation should handle [queer relationships]," she shared. 

"I felt rightfully in my place [as Queen of Paradise]. I had so much fun," Burnett said. 

Bachelor in Paradise: All That Blake Drama (2019)

Season six of Bachelor in Paradise also found itself explaining the off-camera sex life of Blake Horstmann, who had romanced multiple women at Stagecoach, and tried to keep it a secret on the beach. Caelynn Miller-Keyes, Kristina Schulman, Tayshia Adams and Hannah Godwin were just some of the women wrapped in Horstmann's tangled web, which only got more complicated when Miller-Keyes exposed him for sleeping with Schulman one night after her -- and said he tried to silence her. 

In an effort to protect his reputation, Horstmann took things off-camera, and released his private texts with Miller-Keyes, including messages where she appeared to be OK with the casual sex they were engaging in. She was humiliated, and while Horstmann deleted the screenshots, he refused to apologize. And he plans to go back to Stagecoach next year. 

Looking forward to 2020 -- and the Bachelor Nation drama that comes with it. 

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