After weeks of mounting anticipation, ABC finally announced that a familiar face from the past will be The Bachelor‘s newest leading man.
Although speculation swirled that Peter Kraus, Luke Pell and Robby Hayes were contenders, Good Morning America announced Thursday that 35-year-old Arie Luyendyk Jr. is returning for another shot at love on an ABC series.
Here are five things to know about the new Bachelor star.
During the season 8 finale, audiences watched a heartbroken Luyendyk Jr. return home the day before she gave her final rose to Jef Holm.
“I’m shocked,” Luyendyk Jr. told Maynard after she let him down. “I completely thought we had something.”
“Thank you for sparing me the embarrassment tomorrow,” he said as he embraced her one more time. “Good luck.”
As his car drove away, Luyendyk Jr. confessed, “I still believe she is the love of my life. It’s so painful. I can’t believe this is it.”
Despite being the runner-up, Luyendyk Jr. doesn’t regret the experience. “Although the outcome was a little tragic at the end and hard to get over, it was a really good experience. I wouldn’t take it back for the world,” he said in a 2012 interview with Clevver News.
2. He’s a race car driver.
The son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, Luyendyk Jr. has competed in the Firestone Indy Lights (he has one victory and finished second in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship in 2002) and was a rookie driver in the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport for the 2007-08 A1 Grand Prix season. He has also worked as an analyst and commentator off the track.
3. He speaks Dutch.
Luyendyk Jr. (pronounced LION-dike) was born in The Netherlands and moved to the United States when he was 2. During season 8 of The Bachelorette, audiences watched him practice his bilingual skills when he told his parents in Dutch that his relationship with Maynard “couldn’t be going better. Everything’s perfect.” Although Maynard didn’t understand what his family was saying, he sweetly translated it in English for her.
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4. He was previously offered the role of Bachelor, according to Sean Lowe.
Lowe told Dish Nation in February 2015 that it was not Soules whom producers originally had in mind to hand out the roses. Instead, they’d extended an offer to Luyendyk Jr., whom Lowe befriended when they were both wooing Maynard on The Bachelorette in 2012. (Lowe made it to the final three.)
“From what I understand, the show, the producers that make the show, they wanted Arie,” said Lowe, but new executives at the network “were getting nervous. Like, Arie hadn’t been on TV in two years.”
More shocking, though, was Lowe’s claim that Luyendyk Jr. had gotten as far as filming introductory segments when he learned he’d been replaced.
“They actually told Arie he was gonna be the Bachelor,” Lowe said. “They flew down, had a camera crew, filmed him telling his family he was gonna be the next Bachelor – then pulled the rug out from underneath him and made Chris the Bachelor.”
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5. He travels a lot.
“I’m in a different city almost every week, so if I do have a girlfriend, it’s hard to keep a girlfriend because I need someone who has a flexible schedule. And if I am on the road, I just don’t want to meet somebody on the road,” Luyendyk Jr., who now lives in Phoenix, said in a May 2013 interview. “[I travel] probably 250 days a year. [I like to travel]. I don’t like to be in one place for very long.”