The Bachelor franchise host Chris Harrison has described many, many moments on the show as the being “most dramatic ever.” Who can forget Peter Krause and Rachel Lindsay’s emotional break-up, Brad Womack not handing out the final rose or those times that so-and-so’s boyfriend or girlfriend showed up to confront them while they were on a date with the ‘Bachelor’ or ‘Bachelorette’?
As season 22 of The Bachelor gets started and new dramas unfold, we wonder if any moments on Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s upcoming season will top some of those tense scenes from seasons past. Let’s have a look back through the show’s history and offer our picks for 15 of the most truly dramatic moments EVER from The Bachelor franchise.
15 Jason Mesnick dumps Melissa and asks Molly out
Jason Mesnick’s season of The Bachelor ended with the show’s most dramatic finale ever. Jason had chosen Melissa Rycroft over runner-up Molly Malaney. Melissa had accepted Jason’s final rose and they were engaged.
Then, on After The Final Rose (filmed some months after the engagement finale), Jason appeared with Chris Harrison. Before bringing Melissa onstage, Mesnick confessed to Bachelor host Harrison that “over the last few weeks, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Molly.”
Melissa was then brought onstage and reacted angrily to Mesnick’s rejection. “You’re having doubts over someone you already said goodbye to,” she told him. True love prevailed, however. Molly was brought onstage, Jason confessed his feelings for her, and the two have been happily married since 2010.
14 Peter Krause and Rachel Lindsay's emotional breakup
Rachel Lindsay’s recent season of The Bachelorette ultimately ended in a tepid finale with Bryan Abasolo accepting Rachel’s final rose and getting down on bended knee to propose to her. In the end, no one really cared that much about their engagement because all the real passion of the season was invested in Rachel’s emotional breakup with runner-up Peter Krause. Krause memorably told Rachel to “go find someone to have a mediocre life with.”
Rachel cried her false eyelashes off and she and Krause kissed passionately. They told each other that they loved each other and couldn’t seem to say goodbye. Lindsay and Abasolo remain engaged and are reportedly moving forward with wedding plans. Time will tell if their love’s the real deal.
13 Brad Womack’s rose-free finale
Brad Womack had better luck on his second go-round as The Bachelor when he picked Emily Maynard (although that didn’t last in the end). For his first time as The Bachelor, Brad really brought the drama when, in the finale, he chose no one for his final rose. Actually, we’re surprised this doesn’t happen more often. Anyone out there in the dating world knows how hard it can be to find someone to connect with, even from a large group of desirable single people. Good on Womack, we say, for going with his gut and not caving to whatever pressures from producers he was probably under to choose one of the contestants—besides, his final rejection of both actually resulted in one of the show’s most unforgettable finales.
12 Bachelor in Paradise Season 4 shut down
One of the most dramatic moments ever provided by The Bachelor franchise occurred just this past summer (2017) when filming on Bachelor in Paradise was suspended due to allegations of sexual misconduct on the set. It’s really no surprise that such a situation could potentially arise on a set where young, available singles mingle and alcohol flows freely; however, thankfully, after an investigation, allegations were dismissed and the show went on with certain restrictions put in place to reign in the contestants’ alcohol consumption. Fans of the show’s summer franchise went on to see Wells being charming while tending bar on the beach, Taylor and Derek getting engaged during the reunion episode and also got to follow the Dean/Danielle/Kristina drama as it unfolded.
11 Rachel tells Demario to GTFO
It’s probably safe to say that some contestants on the show aren’t there for “the right reasons.” Some contestants appear not to find love but to further their careers. This show is watched by millions of viewers every week, so if anyone wanting a future in the entertainment business scores a slot as a contestant on The Bachelor or Bachelorette, why not go for it? Even if they happen to have a girlfriend, boyfriend or significant other at home.
Demario was one of those contestants. He appeared on the show and was confronted by his girlfriend, Lexi, during one of his group dates with Rachel. Demario squirmed as Lexi showed Rachel texts indicating that he and Lexi were still very much involved, so Rachel showed Demario the door.
10 Dean Unglert being a cad
Dean made an excellent impression on Rachel Lindsay’s season: he was sensitive, open, honest and spoke up for other contestants when he felt they were being treated unfairly. Then, he appeared on Bachelor in Paradise with the mandate to be “open and honest” with the ladies he was interested in. Well, he was open and honest alright when he openly pursued Danielle in Mexico in front of Kristina—even when he knew how strongly Kristina felt about him. In case Dean didn’t know then, he sure knows now that such fickle and insensitive behavior is taking things too far when it comes to romantic relationships. His thoughtless Casanova shtick earned him the nickname “f*ckboy” from disheartened fans and likely blew his chances of ever becoming a ‘Bachelor.’
9 Andi Dorfman rips Juan Pablo a new one
Andi Dorfman was in Bachelor Juan Pablo’s final three when she and Juan Pablo spent an uncomfortable night together in the Fantasy Suite. Andi was offended that Juan Pablo had brought up his Fantasy Suite date with Clare Crawley during their time together. She stewed over that and clearly some other things. As you can see here, they argued, with Andi complaining about Juan Pablo’s tendency to say “it’s okay” to everything and how it drove her nuts. She also tells Juan Pablo, “There’s a difference between being honest and being an *sshole.” Ouch.
Andi went on to become the next season’s Bachelorette and also wrote a book with a title inspired by Juan Pablo’s catchphrase: It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After.
8 Clare’s feisty exit
Clare was a runner-up who had also had enough of Juan Pablo by the end of the season. On their final date together, during a helicopter ride, Juan Pablo had leaned over to whisper something to Clare that deeply offended her and she, like Andi, stewed about what a jerk he was. By the time the final rose ceremony came around, runner-up Clare let loose and told Juan Pablo exactly what she thought of him. Juan Pablo was left to award the rose to the only woman who hadn’t been eliminated or deserted him: Nikki Ferrell. Nikki accepted Juan Pablo’s final rose, but he did not propose. He also struggled with telling Nikki that he loved her, offering a lukewarm “I like you a lot.”
7 Anthony explains ‘invisible racism’ to Lee Garrett
To Lee Garrett’s credit, it had to take courage to even show up to the Men Tell All taping because his racist behavior on the show had everyone from fans to social media gunning for him. He even looked scared during the taping, but he sat and listened to what everyone had to say. Thankfully, an opportunity was created during that episode for a thoughtful discussion, lead eloquently by Anthony in this clip, with Anthony explaining to Lee that the “racism ingrained in [Lee’s] behavior to the point of invisibility is still pushing [Lee] to behave a certain way toward Kenny, toward Eric and toward [Anthony] in a way that [Lee doesn’t] even recognize.” It was certainly the most thought-provoking Men Tell All episode the franchise has ever produced.
5 Desiree Hartsock’s drama-filled hometown visit with Sean Lowe
Before Desiree Hartsock starred in her own season of The Bachelorette, she appeared on Sean Lowe’s Bachelor season. During hometown dates, Sean met Desiree’s parents and older brother, Nate. Nate and Sean did not hit it off with Nate, calling Sean a “playboy” to his face, which offended Sean. Some believe Sean and Nate’s rocky introduction largely contributed to Sean’s ultimate decision to eliminate Desiree.
Also during hometown dates, an actor Desiree hired came over to declare his love for Desiree right in front of Sean, but this turned out to be a revenge prank she’d arranged and he was not a real ex-boyfriend. The scene was tense up until the joke was revealed and everyone shared a laugh. Nevertheless, Sean later sent Desiree home.
4 Jesse Palmer’s misnomer
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet. It’s surprising wrong names don’t get called more often during rose ceremonies. Everyone knows they run long and late with much time passing between roses being handed out so they can adjust camera, lighting, angles, etc. Anyway, rose ceremony fatigue obviously got the best of Jesse Palmer here and he apologizes to Katie because he actually meant to call another woman’s name. Katie accepts Jesse’s lame invitation to stay and says that they’ll “see how things go.” Uhh…probably not well, Katie. It’s obvious this guy wants you to go home. Poor Katie, with the distinction of being the only Bachelor contestant who stayed because the Bachelor called out the wrong name.
3 Chris Harrison confronts Rozlyn
Rozlyn caught Jake Pavelka’s eye during his season (season 14's The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love—the sappy subtitle a nod to Jake’s occupation as pilot). Jake was definitely interested in Rozlyn, but she was disqualified early on in the show’s second week after she was discovered to be having an affair with a show staffer. Chris Harrison confronted Rozlyn and made like he was taking the news personally, even choking on his words when referring to the staffer who’d been hooking up with Rozlyn on the sly.
Rozlyn didn’t have a strong reaction to Harrison’s accusation and left without apparent drama, although she later tried to stir up trouble during a reunion show by implying that at-the-time married Bachelor host Chris Harrison was flirting with other women behind his wife’s back.
2 Jake and Vienna’s dramatic breakup
Even though Jake offered Vienna his final rose and an engagement ring for his Bachelor finale, their post-show glow didn’t last long. As we can see in the above footage filmed during a reunion episode, the bloom was clearly off the rose and these two had clearly had enough of each other. Jake snaps at Vienna: “Please stop interrupting me!” as Vienna dramatically bursts into tears. Then she gets up and makes a huffy exit from the set, telling Jake: “You’re the vainest person I’ve ever met in my life!" She then storms offstage. Actually, this accusation isn’t hard to believe. Jake always seems soooo conscious of the camera and is also apparently willing to appear on pretty much every reality show ever known to man.
1 Ali confronts Justin Rego for having a girlfriend back home
Justin Rego (known as Rated R in the wrestling ring) was another contestant with a girlfriend back home. Ali openly confronted him in front of everyone in the guy’s hotel room. Then, Justin—broken leg and all—trampled through the hotel’s gardens and hobbled over obstacles to escape an on-camera confrontation with Ali. Who can blame him? He probably doesn’t care enough to put himself through such an ordeal.
At one point, Justin approaches a restaurant, (presumably to hide from the show’s cameras). He tries the glass door and it’s locked. A waiter mouths through the window “we’re closed." Justin then flees in another direction with Ali calling after him “Justin, you’re gonna regret this.”
Nah, Justin probably won’t regret this, Ali. He’s a wrestler, not a debater.