Way before Bachelor in Paradise became our favorite summer TV guilty pleasure, there was Bachelor Pad. This original Bachelor/Bachelorette spinoff, which aired from 2010 to 2012, placed former contestants back in the Bachelor mansion for love, competition, money, and a little — or maybe a lot — of mayhem.
Bachelor Pad marked the first time that former contestants were brought together to live in the Bachelor mansion without all vying for the attention of one person — and it certainly made for some interesting television. According to its IMDb page, Bachelor Pad placed some of the show’s “most memorable” cast members together to compete for a cash prize of $100,000 (which, by season 2, was upped to $250,000), while “all that [stood] in the way [were] the challenges and each other.”
Despite only airing for three seasons, Bachelor Pad had some very memorable moments. From exes reunited in the same house to the cast’s sleeping arrangements that resembled a summer camp bunk to contestants getting frisky way before fantasy suites, there was quite a lot of drama that ensued. So strap yourself in, and get ready to take the wild ride that is the untold truth of Bachelor Pad.
Bachelor Pad offered former contestants a chance at both love and money
Bachelor Pad primarily differed from The Bachelor/The Bachelorette and its future spinoff, Bachelor in Paradise, because it involved money. Bustle described the premise of the show as “secretly [voting] people out until it was just one person and the partner they’d chosen by the end of the competition.” This not-so-friendly competition was led by host Chris Harrison, who teamed up with former Bachelor “winner” Melissa Rycroft as his co-host for Season 1 (via People).
Cast members formed alliances with each other in their strategy to stay in the house, hook up, compete in regular challenges, and come out on top. At the end, the winning couple had to secretly decide whether to split the money between them or keep it for themselves. If they both chose to split the money, that’s what would happen. However, if they both chose to keep the money for themselves, neither would get the money. And — get this — if one partner chose to keep the money while the other chose to split it, the winnings would all go to the partner who chose to keep it!
This couple was strong on Bachelor Pad season 1 but later went their separate ways
Bachelor nation fan-favorite Tenley Molzahn starred on the first season of Bachelor Pad in 2010 after failing to find lasting love on Season 14 of The Bachelor when pilot Jake Pavelka — yes, Pilot Pete was far from the first pilot Bachelor in the show’s history — famously picked the season’s villain, Vienna Girardi, over sweet dancer-turned-wellness coach Tenley.
On Bachelor Pad season 1, Tenley hit it off with the handsome Kiptyn Locke, who was also runner up on Jillian Harris’ season of The Bachelorette. The two dated on-and-off for several years before splitting for good in 2014 (via Bustle). Then, in 2015, it was revealed that Kiptyn was expecting a child with his new girlfriend. Ouch.
Tenley then was cast on the second season of Bachelor of Paradise, where she didn’t find lasting love. However, in February 2016, Tenley revealed she was dating product line manager, Taylor Leopold (via Bustle). The two married in April 2018 and became parents in 2020 to a baby girl (via People).
This former Bachelor was allegedly paid to appear on Bachelor Pad to stir up drama
Now comes this shocker from Bachelor Pad season 2: one of the show’s cast members allegedly was paid to appear on the show’s second season to shake things up. According to Bachelor Pad and Bachelorette star Craig Robinson, former Bachelor Jake Pavelka “was given $20,000 to appear on four episodes of the show” (via OK!).
Sources claimed that Jake was paid to appear on the show to add drama. This is because his ex-fiancé, Vienna Girardi — who he proposed to on The Bachelor season 14 finale — was appearing on season 2 of Bachelor Pad alongside her then-boyfriend, Kasey Kahl, who appeared on Ali Fedotowsky’s season of The Bachelorette. (Remember him — the “guard and protect your heart” guy?)
Even host Chris Harrison was psyched about the entertainment value of Bachelor Pad season 2’s love triangle, since he told E! News that this next season “may be the best TV we’ve ever produced” (via the The Hollywood Reporter). This is especially because Jake and Vienna’s messy breakup was made very public after ABC aired a dramatic interview where the former couple spoke with Harrison.
These Bachelor Pad contestants married other Bachelor nation stars
Often Bachelor nation stars find love with other former cast members, and such was the case with Bachelor Pad. Elizabeth Kitt, another contestant from Jake Pavelka’s Bachelor season, starred on the first season of Bachelor Pad. During the show, Elizabeth hooked up with Jesse Kovacs, a California wine entrepreneur who competed on Jillian Harris’ season of The Bachelorette. After that relationship went sour, Elizabeth met Ty Brown from Ali Fedowsky’s season of The Bachelorette at a charity event in 2013. The couple married in 2014 and welcomed a baby girl in 2018 (via Us Weekly).
Then there’s Peyton Wright and Chris Lambton. Peyton is another Bachelor Pad season 1 star who fell for another member of Bachelor nation. So how did it all go down? Peyton’s Bachelor Pad cast mate Jesse Beck introduced Peyton — who competed on Andy Baldwin’s season of The Bachelor – to Chris Lambton, the runner-up on Ali’s season of The Bachelorette. The two married in May of 2012 and have two children together (via People). The adorable couple has even appeared together on HGTV on their show Going Yard. We love it when The Bachelor meets HGTV.
This Bachelor Pad season 2 winner was blindsided by his ex-fiancé's engagement on camera
Next from the Bachelor Pad archives comes the story of former couple Holly Durst and Michael Stagliano. The two found love in Bachelor nation and got engaged after being sent home on their respective seasons of The Bachelor franchise — season 12 of The Bachelor for Holly and season 5 of The Bachelorette for Michael.
However, the engagement didn’t last, and both Holly and Michael found themselves back in Bachelor mansion for season 2 of Bachelor Pad. Complicating matters (but making for good TV), Holly hooked up with her Bachelor Pad co-star Blake Julian on the show. While she ended up voting Blake off the show, the two continued dating offscreen and even became engaged — on the finale of Bachelor Pad season 2. That had to be rough for Michael, who was completely “blindsided” by the news (via People).
However, Michael is now happily married himself, while Holly and Blake married in 2012.
This Bachelor Pad seasons 1 and 2 star tragically passed away in 2013
Unfortunately, not all of the Bachelor Pad cast mates have had a real-life happy ending — such was the case of Gia Allemand. After appearing on season 14 of The Bachelor, the brunette beauty starred on Bachelor Pad season 1, and later dated her former Bachelor Pad co-star Wes Hayden; she later returned to Bachelor Pad for season 2 (via The Hollywood Reporter).
After Bachelor Pad, Gia was in a relationship with NBA player Ryan Anderson. So, it came as a shock to everyone to learn that Gia committed suicide in 2013. Following the tragic news, Anderson released a statement, which read, “Gia was the most beautiful person I knew inside and out and she always smiled and made everyone else around her smile” (via Today).
The Bachelor creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss released his own statement to Today to share his condolences. “The entire ‘Bachelor’ family is tremendously saddened by the tragic passing of our friend Gia. This is a devastating loss for anyone who ever knew her.”
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Bachelor Pad season 3 marked the first and only time the show ever did this
By the time season 3 of Bachelor Pad rolled around, the show’s producers decided to add a twist: along with returning favorites, like season 2 winner Michael Stagliano, would be several “super fans” competing alongside their favorite Bachelor nation stars. The “super fans” included a set of twin sisters, Brittany and Erica Taltos, who counted as one contestant (they were basically the precursor to Emily and Haley Ferguson from Ben Higgins’ season of The Bachelor), as well as Chris Bain, David Mallet, Paige Vigil, and Donna Zitelli (via People).
It was definitely a unique twist, in which the newbies both fanboyed and banded together against the other Bachelor nation stars. None of the “super fans,” however, ended up being big winners (that went to notorious Bachelor Pad season 3 winner Nick Peterson (via E! News).
Unfortunately for fans of Bachelor Pad, the third season was the final season. Had the show returned for a fourth season, we wonder whether the “super fan” cast shakeup would’ve happened again.
This is why Bachelor Pad's Nick Peterson didn't split the winnings
Bachelor Pad’s third season certainly ended with a bang — the winning “couple” was Nick Peterson, who competed on Ashley Hebert’s season of The Bachelorette, and Rachel Truehart, who competed on Ben Flajnik’s season of The Bachelor. Nick and Rachel were never coupled up on the show; instead, they were “slapped together” toward the end, according to Nick himself (via E! News).
As the last couple standing, Nick chose to keep the entire $250,000 winnings for himself, while Rachel voted to share their earnings. According to the show’s rules, however, the money would then go to the person who voted to keep it. This left Bachelor fans up in arms.
As for why Nick made his infamous decision, he revealed that he fully intended to split the money with Rachel, but that he changed his mind the night before the finale. “I saw some of the stuff she said and was like, ‘Wow, she’s trash talking me!’ Telling her friends I don’t deserve to be there,” he shared. This made him realize that “she didn’t want to be my partner, so I didn’t owe her anything.”
This Bachelor Pad season 3 villain holds the record for the most appearances in the franchise
It’s hard to discuss Bachelor Pad without bringing up Chris Bukowski. After the Chicago-based entrepreneur was sent home on season 8 of The Bachelorette, he appeared on Bachelor Pad season 3. This time, viewers saw a different side of him when he basically played three women. “The best thing I have done is traded in Blakeley and Jamie for Sarah,” he said in one episode. “It’s like buying a new car. You get the nice new car smell and this is so much smoother and nicer for me” (via Us Weekly).
After Bukowski’s next appearance, in which he “attempted to crash” season 10 Bachelorette Andi Dorfman’s season, it was his next brief, but drunken, stint on Bachelor in Paradise season 2 that made him decide to “retire” from reality TV, telling Business Insider that he drank so much he “didn’t remember” what happened. “That’s when I knew I had to be done with it,” he revealed.
So, it came as a surprise when Bukowski returned to Bachelor in Paradise for season 6, marking a “record-setting sixth appearance” (via Chicago Tribune).
This is the only successful couple to come out of Bachelor Pad
Out of three seasons of Bachelor Pad, only one couple who met on the show is still together today: Holly Durst, who competed on season 12 of The Bachelor, and Blake Julian, a contestant on season 7 of The Bachelorette.
Holly and Blake met and hooked up on Bachelor Pad season 2. What made the situation super awkward was that her ex-fiancé, Michael Stagliano, was also competing on the show. While Holly voted Blake off the show, she intended to continue the relationship offscreen (she apparently handed him a note at the rose ceremony saying so). Blake apparently felt the same way because the two dated after the show and got engaged only three months later.
Holly told the Greenville News that although she was initially attracted to Blake when they met, a serious relationship was the last thing on her mind. “It wasn’t love at first sight because the last thing I wanted was a relationship at that time,” she explained. “Life sure does have other plans for you!”
Holly and Blake married in 2012 and are parents to a baby girl they adopted in 2019 (via People).
This is allegedly why Bachelor Pad was cancelled
Chris Bukowski’s appearance on Bachelor Pad season 3 not only affected his reputation, but his actions may even be a reason why the series never returned.
Toward the end of the season, most of the cast wanted to send Chris home. Their plan was to make cast member Erica Rose believe that Chris would vote her out, which would, hopefully, lead her to send him packing. However, Chris was one step ahead. To let Erica to know that he didn’t plan on voting her out of the house, he invited her into the voting room with him — something that had never happened on the show before (via Life & Style). This move led to chaos within the house. From there, Erica got sent home, and she voted Michael out of the house, instead of Chris.
Chris’s move made it difficult for the show to continue with the “game” it had in place. “I’m a gamer and that was so much fun… it literally changed the game,” he shared. “It was the best decision ever. Bachelor Pad can’t even happen now, they’d have to make a whole new show.” And so they did.
ABC's cancelation of Bachelor Pad paved the way for Bachelor in Paradise
After the third season of Bachelor Pad, the show was canceled in 2013 without an “official reason” given, as noted by E! News. ABC Senior Vice President Robert Mills shared that ABC producers began brainstorming other ideas. “When [Bachelor Pad] didn’t come back we thought, well, there’s still something because people loved Bachelor Pad,” he explained. “How do we do it where it’s just sort of second chance romance, which is kind of what Bachelor Pad was supposed to be before the game element.”
And, right there, a brilliant idea was born. When Bachelor in Paradise premiered in 2014, no one really had any idea what to expect. But the show premiered with 5.3 million viewers — and the numbers just kept going up from there. Season 2 brought even more viewers, due to an amazing cast that included fan-favorites Ashley Iaconetti, Jared Haibon, Carly Waddell, Jade Roper, and Tanner Tolbert.
And the rest is history.
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