5 Most Controversial 'Bachelor' and 'Bachelorette' Stars of All Time

Nick Viall isn't the first Bachelor or Bachelorette who's created an uproar in Bachelor Nation

Photo: Randy Holmes/ABC

Nick Viall may have stirred up strong social media reactions after it was announced Tuesday that he will be the next leading man of The Bachelor, but he’s certainly not the first pick that’s created an uproar.

Whether the response from Bachelor Nation was immediately divided or the star in question eventually took a wrong turn on his or her path to love, Viall follows in the footsteps of some controversial Bachelors and Bachelorettes past.

Nick Viall

The 35-year-old, who fell just short of happily ever after on two previous editions of The Bachelorette, has come under fire for his openness about sex on TV.

Two years before he starred on the current season of Bachelor in Paradise, Viall instantly went from hero to villain when he confronted Andi Dorfman on After the Final Rose in the wake of her decision to cut short Viall’s own proposal so she could accept Josh Murray‘s.

Asking why Dorfman “made love” with him if she wasn’t in love with him, Viall prompted cries that he was slut-shaming his ex.

When Viall returned to Bachelorette, the slut-shaming tables turned (more on that in just a moment). Given his complicated journey, it begs the question: With so much known about Viall’s intimate life from previous seasons, can the fourth time really be a charm?

Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson

Dueling Bachelorettes?! If a gimmick sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Several past Bachelorettes, former Bachelor Sean Lowe and fans roundly criticized the show’s choice to pit two of Chris Soules‘ finalists against each other, deeming the tactic sexist and even “degrading.”

And when Bristowe and Viall got physical before the Fantasy Suite, she came under fire for her choices – a response she deemed misogynystic. (For his part, Viall defended Bristowe: “Sex is not shameful. Whether we admit it or not, sex is important part of many serious and meaningful relationships.”)

RELATED VIDEO: Kaitlyn Bristowe Says She Was Sex-Shamed ‘Because I’m a Woman’

Juan Pablo Galavis

In the midst of criticism about a lack of diversity across the show’s franchises, the handsome, affable former soccer pro of Venezuelan descent seemed a perfect choice to broaden the show’s appeal …

Over the course of his season, Galavis grew increasingly reluctant to play ball with producers, visibly frustrating host Chris Harrison on both the Women Tell All and After the Final Rose specials. He also alienated both Dorfman with his Fantasy Suite behavior and runner-up Clare Crawley with comments he made out of earshot that many speculated emphasized their physical connection over emotional intimacy.

And despite what seemed like a happy ending after a contentious season, viewers couldn’t help but feel a little stung when Galavis opted not only to forego a finale proposal but also refused to profess his love for Nikki Ferrell. Though Ferrell stood by her man well after the cameras went off (they ultimately split seven months after the finale itself aired), these three strikes against Galavis landed him in the unenviable company of some of the franchise’s most infamous villains – a rare feat for someone handing out the roses.

Desiree Hartsock

Hartsock was another strong start that unexpectedly led to one of the most heartbreaking, nearly catastrophic moments in Bachelorette history. As the race narrowed down to Chris Siegfried and Brooks Forester, Hartsock relied on running metaphors instead of explicitly telling Forester that she was falling in love with him – a nuance that was completely lost on the man with whom she hoped to go the distance.

Instead of popping the question, Forester dropped a bomb: He was leaving the show – and her. Hartsock dissolved into sobs and nearly quit the show altogether. Despite the gut-wrenching drama, she was able to move past the rejection and refocus on Siegfried and build on the feelings she had started to develop for him.

In the kind of modern take on a fairy tale ending that could only be pulled off by The Bachelorette, Chris and Desiree got engaged, married and recently announced they’re expecting their first child, a boy.

Brad Womack

And no list of Bachelor casting scandals is complete without Brad Womack. Though Womack’s selection now seems relatively tame, viewers at the time felt duped because – somewhat like Viall – it wasn’t the Texan heartthrob’s first time at the rodeo. In fact, he’d outright dumped both of his final two ladies during his first turn as the Bachelor.

Though he was finally ready to propose by the end of his second season on the show, Womack’s engagement to Emily Maynard eventually ended.

In a tenure for the record books, Womack currently holds the record for the most future Bachelorettes his time in front of Bachelor netted. In addition to Maynard, his rejection led Ashley Hebert to find love on her season and DeAnna Pappas ultimately found her soul mate in Bachelorette contestant Michael Stagliano‘s twin brother, Stephen.

Season 21 of The Bachelor returns in January on ABC.

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