Even casual Bachelor and Bachelorette viewers know the show, which premiered back in 2002, brings the drama. And in a show packed with can’t-believe-it twists and turns throughout each season, it takes a special something to stand out above the rest — and these 11 do just that!
1. DeMario has a girlfriend: The Bachelorette, season 13
On this season of The Bachelorette, contestant DeMario Jackson’s ex-girlfriend, Lexi, surprised Jackson by joining a group date (that Jackson was currently on!) to tell Rachel she and Jackson were dating up until a few days before Jackson made his Bachelorette debut on last season’s After the Final Rose episode. Rachel then brought DeMario out for a confrontation with Lexi, where he first pretended not to know her, then said they dated casually, and then claimed he ended things with her in person before the show (Lexi denied the final point.) Rachel’s response? “Get the f— out.”
2. Nick’s After the Final Rose confession: The Bachelorette, season 10
On After the Final Rose immediately following Andi Dorfman’s season, contestant Nick Viall announced on national television that he and Dorfman had sex in the fantasy suites. In a now-infamous line, he said: “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure, like, why you made love with me.” Dorfman called his comments “below the belt,” and they earned him some enemies on the next season of The Bachelorette, which yes, he competed on.
3. Kaitlyn’s night with Nick before the Fantasy Suites: The Bachelorette, season 11
And on that next season, Nick continued to bring the (sexually charged) drama. On a one-on-one date with Kaitlyn Bristowe in Dublin, Bristowe said she didn’t “want this night to end.” And it didn’t — he ended up going up to her hotel room and having sex — a rarity in Bachelor land pre-Fantasy Suites.
4. Ben’s double ‘I love you’: The Bachelor, season 20
The unspoken rule of being the Bachelor or the Bachelorette? Don’t tell a contestant you love them until after the final rose has been handed out — to avoid getting anyone’s hopes up, of course. Ben Higgins didn’t just break that rule, he broke it twice: he told JoJo Fletcher he loved her (after she told him), and after Lauren Bushnell confessed her love for Higgins, he said the same to her, too. Of course, this made for some awkward moments after Higgins eventually sent Fletcher home.
5. When Bentley broke Ashley’s heart (and was really mean): The Bachelorette, season 7
Audiences could tell that Bentley Williams was no good for Bachelorette Ashley Hebert (because he literally did everything to say so himself). But that didn’t stop Hebert from falling for him hard. He was almost too mean to be real, with one-liners that included: “I’m going to make Ashley cry” and “I’d rather be swimming in pee than trying to plan a wedding with her.” He ended up leaving the season early (with Hebert in tears) before making a return later on, when Hebert was in Hong Kong with a smaller group of men. Hebert then saw the light, putting a “period” on their relationship and scolding him for wasting her time.
6. That painful post-finale interview with Jake and Vienna: The Bachelor, season 14
Normally, the After the Final Rose episode, the couple sails off into the sunset, presumably to start their happily ever after. But oftentimes, happily ever after is subsequently followed by a breakup a few months later. No Bachelor franchise breakup was as contentious, though, as that of Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi. Things got so bad between the couple that producers couldn’t resist and ended up bringing them back for a “where it went wrong” interview with Chris Harrison. Choice lines from the awkward fest include Pavelka telling Girardi she “disgusts” him, Girardi alleged “emotional abuse” and said he was a “fake liar.”
7. Rozlyn’s affair with a producer: The Bachelor, season 14
The Bachelor is all about finding love — with the lead. Rozlyn, a contestant on Pavelka’s season, was booted from the show after it was discovered she entered an “inappropriate relationship” with one of the show’s producers. Harrison then had an awkward confrontation with Rozlyn, telling her that the producer had been fired and that she had to leave the show. On After the Final Rose, Rozlyn maintained that nothing ever happened between her and the producer.
8. Jason and Melissa’s After the Final Rose breakup: The Bachelor, season 13
Perhaps the biggest Bachelor shocker came on Jason Mesnick’s season. A few weeks after handing his final rose to Melissa Rycroft, he told her that he made a mistake on After the Final Rose. He broke up with Rycroft, and then when Molly Malaney, his runner-up, came back on stage, he told her she was the “right person” for him to spend his life with. It was surprising and beyond awkward, but Mesnick’s instincts were right: he and Malaney are still married, and have a daughter together.
9. Brad Womack picks no one: The Bachelor, season 15
There are some things in life you can count on — and The Bachelor handing out a final rose is one of them. But Brad Womack broke that tradition, becoming the first lead to say goodbye to both women (some have not proposed, but everyone else has handed out a final rose!) It seemed as if he was all set to propose to DeAnna Pappas after sending home Jenni Croft. But the season concluded without a happy ending. He told Pappas: “I can’t look you in your eye and tell you that I love you. I can’t. I have to tell you goodbye.”
10. Ben and Courtney’s skinny dip: The Bachelor, season 16
Every season has a villain, but rarely does the villain win — and that was the case in Ben Flajnik’s season, when Courtney Robertson got the final rose. A prime example of just why she earned the season’s villain title came in this moment, when a robe-clad Robertson found Flajnik after hours, and suggested they go skinny dipping on-camera. Some speculate that there was something else going on below the water.
11. Justin has two other girlfriends: The Bachelorette, season 6
DeMario wasn’t the first. Back on Ali Fedotowsky’s season, contestant Justin Rego’s girlfriend called her, crying, saying that Rego had duped both Fedotowsky and herself. Not only did he have one off-screen girlfriend (the one who called Fedotowsky), he had another, who he had kept a secret from both women. As you might expect, he was sent home after failing to defend his actions.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.