Entertainment TV Everything You Need to Know About Jesse Palmer, the New Host of 'The Bachelor' Jesse Palmer previously played in the NFL and CFL, owns an adorable puppy, and like many of us, has an obsessive love of chocolate By Skyler Caruso Skyler Caruso Instagram Skyler Caruso is the Editorial Assistant of PEOPLE Digital. People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 3, 2022 07:12 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Byron Cohen/ABC Introducing Bachelor Nation's new host, Jesse Palmer. The 43-year-old, former star of The Bachelor is returning to the franchise – but instead of looking for love, he's guiding the 31 contestants on their romantic journey throughout season 26, which premieres Monday on ABC. Having previously been named the Bachelor himself in 2004, Palmer serves as a mentor to current Bachelor star Clayton Echard. Based on his past experiences and lessons learned, he hopes to help Echard in the love-finding process. "Falling in love is one of life's greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey," Palmer shared in a statement. John Fleenor/ABC Bachelor Clayton Echard Admits His Journey to Find Love 'Wasn't Perfect' But 'I Followed My Heart' While Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe served as co-hosts during Katie Thurston and Michelle Young's seasons of The Bachelorette – Palmer fills the shoes of longtime host Chris Harrison, who left the show in February 2021. Palmer's no stranger to hosting, as he's held various television gigs in the role for shows including ABC's summer series "The Ultimate Surfer," and the network's reality show "The Proposal" in 2018. Jesse Palmer/instagram Palmer has also held various gigs outside of hosting. As a former professional football quarterback, he's served as a television broadcaster, football commentator, and analyst for ESPN since 2007. What else is there to know about the new host of The Bachelor? Here are some more fun facts about Palmer – from his time in the NFL to his love of food (and all-things chocolate!). He played football for two teams in the NFL. Michael Zagaris/Getty Palmer played five seasons for the NFL's New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers in the early 2000s, according to ESPN. The Bachelor-turned-host also made history in 2004 as the first professional athlete to nab the lead on The Bachelor. Since then, other professional athletes have followed in Palmer's Bachelor footsteps, including two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk Jr. (season 22) and former San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders football player Colton Underwood (season 23). He also played for the Canadian Football League (CFL), like his dad. Jesse Palmer/instagram Palmer is a Canadian native who was born in Toronto, Ontario – but grew up in Nepean, a suburb of Ottawa. He was raised by his parents, Bill and Susan, who were constant support systems throughout his life. Similar to the athletic past of his dad, who played for the Ottawa Rough Riders, Palmer was signed by the CFL's Montreal Alouettes in 2006 following his brief NFL stint. His mother was a fashion model and former owner of Ottawa's ITM International Top Models (currently known as MIM Model International Management). He chose Jessica Bowlin on his season of The Bachelor. Craig Sjodin/getty During The Bachelor's fifth season in 2004, Palmer chose Jessica Bowlin at the end of his romantic run – but it did not end in a proposal. Though the two left the show as a couple, they split just one month after the finale aired. Their relationship lasted a total of four months. "Jessica and I shared an incredible romantic journey on the show that began with a friendship that remains strong today," the former football player said in a statement to Extra at the time. "We simply realized that, individually, our next steps take us in different directions." Palmer is now married to model Emely Fardo. Jesse Palmer/Instagram Palmer recently married Fardo in October 2021 after getting engaged in July 2019. The couple kept their ceremony intimate, marrying at a friend's house in Connecticut. Their initial plan to wed in France was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PEOPLE previously reported. The newlyweds, who began dating in 2017, told PEOPLE at the time, "Big or small, wedding party or not, we feel so grateful and lucky to have found each other!" Palmer considers himself a foodie. Jesse Palmer/instagram Like many of us, Palmer can't resist some good grub! "I can listen to people talk about food all day long. I always have the TV on Food Network when I'm at home constantly," he told Food Network Canada. "I have a huge desire for chocolate, anything chocolate," he shared with the network. In addition to enjoying food often featured on the shows, Palmer has held a few hosting gigs on the network. He's been the host of Food Network's Food Truck Face Off, Bakeaway Camp with Martha Stewart, and the Holiday Baking Championship. He adopted a puppy named LouLou. Jesse Palmer/instagram In October 2020, Palmer and Fardo adopted an Aussiedoodle puppy named LouLou. A mix of Australian shepherd and poodle, LouLou loves the spotlight – and even has her own Instagram page! LouLou also makes appearances on Palmer's Instagram, with the Bachelor host frequently documenting his pup's adorable face and their daily shenanigans. "What is LouLou thinking here?! 😆 #IfYouNeedHelpBlinkTwice," he jokingly captioned a Dec. 2 shot of him holding LouLou in his arms.