The Bachelorette's Michael Allio Sought 'Approval' from Late Wife's Parents Before Joining Show
The Bachelorette contestant's late wife, Laura Ritter-Allio, died from breast cancer in 2019
On Tuesday's episode of the Bachelor Happy Hour podcast, Allio, 37, spoke to host Becca Kufrin and guest host Catherine Lowe about his journey on the ABC reality dating series, which comes two years after the death of his wife, Laura Ritter-Allio. Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and died from the disease nearly two years later. The couple shared a son, James.
Though Allio initially turned down the casting opportunity twice after being approached for the show on Instagram, he eventually began to "figure out the pros and cons" during a conversation with his own parents.
But even as he grew more excited by the idea, Allio wanted to take all parties' opinions into consideration before making his decision.
"My decision to, you know, begin this journey is not just mine. So there's a lot of people who are affected with it in my world. People that I really love and cherish," he told Kufrin, 31, and Lowe, 35. "I did say that before I decided to go on the show, I wouldn't go on unless my in-laws have given me full approval. Basically, like, this is my out to do something that may make me feel uncomfortable but they were supportive, too."
"They understand that we've all been through some very crazy moments together. They know how much, you know, I supported them [and] loved their daughter, and everything. They're amazing because they wanted to see me, you know, find happiness again and I think everybody needs somebody to help them navigate life," he added.
The Ohio-based business owner explained how he was able to reach a place where he was ready to give love a shot again after his wife's death.
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"For anybody that's ever lost somebody, their process is all very, very different. For me, I am very proactive in trying to, you know, get better. A lot of that has to do with putting yourself in awkward situations and kind of forcing you to grow," he said.
"Maybe, you know, five months after Laura passed, I actually went on my first date. Not because I wanted to find somebody but I wanted to feel that experience," he continued. "When you've been with the same person for 16 years, everything's different. You don't have the same inside jokes when someone touches you on the shoulder, they smell different. Like, all of these different experiences when you go through it for the first time, it's really shocking and it is scary."
Allio said that he spent much of 2019 putting himself in similar situations, which ultimately led him to realize it was "not as bad" as he anticipated it to be.
"Time itself doesn't heal," he said. "I mean, sometimes you just have to acknowledge the fact that you're not whole but it doesn't mean you can't be happy or you can't grow. I would really say that I'm thankful that I spent that time to find a way to progress."
During Monday's episode of The Bachelorette, Allio opened up about Laura's death while on his one-on-one dinner date with Thurston.
"I know what it's like to love," he said to Thurston, 30. "I know what it's like to give everything. I have finally gotten to this place where I'm ready to open up my heart. The way I look at this — what a gift to be able to fall in love twice."
Thurston later said in a confessional that Allio's vulnerability allowed them to reach "a whole other level together."
"I'm overwhelmed with sadness for his pain but happiness for what our love can be," she said. "He said it beautifully. What a blessing to fall in love twice."