'The Bachelor' former leads: Where are they now?

It’s hard to believe there have been 25 seasons of “The Bachelor” since the show premiered on ABC in March 2002, kicking off a new age of reality TV, spawning international editions from Australia and Brazil to Japan and Romania, and giving birth to Bachelor Nation and an ever-growing web of spinoffs including “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor Pad,” “Bachelor in Paradise” and “The Bachelor Winter Games.” In honor of the season 26 premiere of “The Bachelor” starring medical sales rep Clayton Echard on Jan. 3, 2022, join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at what every single lead has been up to since giving away those final roses… Let’s kick things off with the OG Bachelor, Alex Michel… Alex was the buttoned-up management consultant who struggled to choose between Trista Rehn and Amanda Marsh at the end of the season, which aired in 2002. He picked Amanda — but famously didn’t propose.

Keep reading to catch up with Alex and the rest of the “The Bachelor” alums — and find out which one of them is taking over hosting duties for the new season…

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Alex Michel and his pick, Amanda Marsh, split after 10 months of dating. Alex became a spokesman for Match.com and Princess Cruises after the show ended but ultimately returned to the business world, working for companies including Microsoft. He’s maintained a super-low profile — he hasn’t been publicly photographed since 2006 — since his run as the very first star of “The Bachelor,” but Amanda told Us Weekly in 2020 that Alex, who works as a management consultant in Washington, D.C., is now married with kids.

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On the second season of “The Bachelor” in 2002, restaurant owner Aaron Buerge popped the question to Helene Eksterowicz during the finale.

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Aaron Buerge and Helene Eksterowicz broke up weeks after the show’s finale aired. In 2009, Aaron married commercial insurance agent Angye McIntosh. The Springfield, Missouri-based banker, who still connects with fans via his Cameo page, now has three daughters. “We have been incredibly blessed. I continue to remain out of the ‘spotlight’ and continue to focus on my career and family life,” Aaron told Us Weekly. “I appreciate and cherish the memories I have from my days on ‘The Bachelor.'”

Andrew Firestone, the great-grandson of tire entrepreneur Harvey Firestone, handed his final rose — and popped the question — to Jen Schefft on the third season of “The Bachelor” in 2003.

Andrew Firestone and Jen Schefft split a few months after the final episode aired, but he found his happily ever after with Ivana Bozilovic. The pair wed in 2008 and went on to have three children: Brooks, Anja and Shane (seen here in a selfie he shared on Instagram in July 2020). Andrew founded a hospitality firm and lives in California.

Bob Guiney won viewers over as a suitor on the first season of “The Bachelorette.” His popularity with fans led producers to choose him to become the lead on “The Bachelor” season 4 in 2003. He gave Estella Gardinier a promise ring during the finale.

Bob Guiney and Estella Gardinier broke up shortly after the finale aired. Months later, Bob married “All My Children” actress Rebecca Budig. They split six years later in 2010 and in 2016, Bob married Jessica Canyon. The pair (seen here in a photo Bob shared on Instagram in July 2021) welcomed two sons: Grayson in December 2018 and Blake in July 2021. Bob hosts events, appears regularly on the “Today” show and performs with the Band From TV, which is made up of actors from various television shows who donate the proceeds of their performances and recordings to charity. “Life is going very well,” he told Us Weekly in 2018. “Thanks to the show, I’ve had such amazing opportunities come my way.”

Former New York Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer was the season 5 star of “The Bachelor” in 2004. He stunned viewers when he decided not to propose to Jessica Bowlin during the finale.

Jesse Palmer continued to date his “The Bachelor” pick, Jessica Bowlin, but they broke up a few months after the finale aired. Jesse, who went on to become a “Good Morning America” contributor and hosted “DailyMailTV” from 2017 to 2020 and ABC’s “The Proposal” in 2018, started dating model Emely Fardo in 2017. They got engaged during the summer of 2019 and canceled their big 2020 nuptials amid the coronavirus pandemic, opting to instead quietly marry that June, though they didn’t reveal they were husband and wife until October 2021 — one week after ABC announced Jesse was set to host season 26 of “The Bachelor” following Chris Harrison’s exit earlier in the year.

Byron Velvick, a professional bass fisherman, put a ring on Mary Delgado’s finger during the season 6 finale of “The Bachelor” in 2004.

Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado broke up in December 2009 — five years after they got engaged. In March 2015, Byron married Belinda Velvick; they have a daughter named Kamber. The fishing pro — a two-time Bass U.S. Open champion who’s hosted fishing shows on networks including ESPN and NBC Sports — shared this photo on Instagram on Sept. 10, 2021, writing, “I love fishing, making new memories, and most importantly, passing on my knowledge to my daughter Kamber.”

Charlie O’Connell, the brother of actor Jerry O’Connell, was the season 7 star of “The Bachelor” in 2005. He didn’t propose to Sarah Brice during the finale.

Charlie O’Connell was in an on-off relationship with his “The Bachelor” winner, Sarah Brice, after the finale aired, but they ended it for good in 2010, with Sarah revealing that his drinking negatively impacted their romance. The “Sliders” actor got sober and in 2018, he married Playboy Playmate-turned realtor Anna Sophia Berglund. In October 2020, they welcomed a baby girl (seen here with her proud parents in a photo Anna Sophia shared on Instagram on June 21, 2021).

Travis Stork, a medical doctor, was the star of the eighth season of “The Bachelor,” also known as “The Bachelor: Paris,” which was set in in the romantic French capital and aired in 2006. He chose teacher Sarah Stone, who happened to live a few blocks away from him in Nashville, but didn’t propose.

Dr. Travis Stork and his “The Bachelor” choice, Sarah Stone, announced they were finished one week after the show’s finale aired. He went on to practice emergency medicine at hospitals in Tennessee and Colorado, later becoming a host of the syndicated talk show “The Doctors” from 2008 to 2020. Travis married Charlotte Brown in 2012 but they split in 2015. He then wed Parris Bell in August 2019 and in June 2020, the couple welcomed son Grayson (seen here in a pic Travis shared on Instagram on Oct. 12, 2021). The stork will be paying another visit to the Storks: Travis and his wife are expecting a baby girl in June 2022, the couple announced on Thanksgiving 2021.

The ninth season of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2006, featured an Italian royal who was raised in New Jersey — Prince Lorenzo Borghese — who was searching for his future princess in Rome. The cosmetics entrepreneur chose Jennifer Wilson.

Prince Lorenzo Borghese and Jennifer Wilson called it quits a few months after he gave her his final rose. He started dating runner-up Sadie Murray but they too split after a few months of dating. Lorenzo, who appeared on “Celebrity Big Brother U.K.” in 2012, is a committed animal advocate who co-founded Animal Aid USA and launched Royal Treatment, a line of bath, body and skin care for pets. When he records videos for fans via Cameo, he’s often joined by a four-legged friend.

Andy Baldwin was a U.S. Navy officer and physician when he searched for love on “The Bachelor” in its 10th season, which was also known as “The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman,” in 2007. He proposed to Tessa Horst on the finale — and she said yes.

Andy Baldwin and Tessa Horst called off their engagement one month after the big proposal aired on the hit ABC show but continued to see each other for a few months before breaking it off for good. These days, when he isn’t busy with his duties as a commander in the U.S. Navy, a family physician, an avid sportsman or an accomplished triathlete, Andy creates video messages for fans on Cameo to benefit the Got Your Back Network, which helps families of fallen members of the military. “Life has been great since the show ended,” he told Us Weekly in 2019, adding that he was single but has kept in touch with several women from his season of “The Bachelor.” “I’ve been focused on my medical career and service to country.”

Two-time “The Bachelor” star Brad Womack rocked Bachelor Nation in 2007 when he rejected both DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft during the season 11 finale. The Texas-based entrepreneur got a second chance: He returned for season 15 and ended up proposing to Emily Maynard.

Brad Womack and Emily Maynard split while their season was airing and got back together after the finale, but they went their separate ways for good in May 2011. Brad, who co-owns a number of bars in Austin, Houston and Nashville, is one of the “The Bachelor” franchise’s most private alums. But he occasionally pops up on social media with his girlfriend, fitness guru Jena Mays, who posted this photo with Brad on Instagram on July 20, 2020, with the caption “I’ve always loved Dogwood flowers more than roses” in an apparent nod to his Texan heritage and “Bachelor” past.

London financier Matt Grant starred on the 12th season of “The Bachelor,” also known as “The Bachelor: London Calling,” in 2008. He ended up choosing Shayne Lamas, the daughter of actor Lorenzo Lamas.

Matt Grant and Shayne Lamas broke up months after their final rose ceremony aired. The very private British financier — he hasn’t been publicly photographed since the year his season aired — said “I do” to Rebecca Moring in Somerset, England, on Dec. 28, 2018, telling Us Weekly (which has wedding photos) that he married “the love of [his] life” in a ceremony he called “spectacular.”

Single dad Jason Mesnick, the 13th season star of “The Bachelor” in 2009, popped the question to Melissa Rycroft during the season finale — but made franchise history when he revealed during the “After the Final Rose” special that he’d changed his mind and instead wanted to move on with runner-up Molly Malaney.

Since his dramatic on-camera change of heart, Jason Mesnick and runner-up Molly Malaney have gone the distance. The Seattle-based pair married in February 2010. In 2013, Molly and Jason (who’s dad to now-grown-up son Ty from his previous marriage) welcomed daughter Riley, seen here with her real estate agent father in a photo he shared on Instagram on May 21, 2021, with the caption, “This little lady isn’t looking so little anymore! Stop growing Riley! #DonutsWithDaddy.”

Commercial pilot Jake Pavelka brought the friendly skies to season 14 of “The Bachelor,” also known as “The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love,” in 2010. He proposed to Vienna Girardi in the (naturally) dramatic final rose ceremony.

Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi hit major turbulence and split three months after the finale aired amid rumors that both were unfaithful. Since “The Bachelor” ended, Jake has appeared on numerous reality shows including “Dancing With the Stars,” “Bachelor Pad” and the VH1 series “Famous Food.” The Texas-based pilot is still in touch with fans via video messages on Cameo.

On the 16th season of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2012, California winemaker Ben Flajnik proposed to Courtney Robertson during the show’s finale.

Ben Flajnik and Courtney Robertson split while the season was airing and reunited before calling it quits for good in October 2012. Ben, who lives in Northern California (he’s seen here in a pic he shared on Instagram on July 16, 2021), has written two children’s books in a series called “Frequent Flyers.” “Wanting to impart a love for travel within my beloved three-year-old niece, Josephine, at a young age,” Ben shared on Instagram in June 2021, “I created the Frequent Flyers® series based on a trio of globe-trotting flies.”

Former Kansas State football player Sean Lowe made headlines for being a “born-again virgin” when he starred on season 17 of “The Bachelor” in 2013. He handed his final rose to Catherine Giudici.

Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici exchanged vows live on ABC before millions of viewers in January 2014 after he competed on “Dancing With the Stars” and she had moved from Seattle to Dallas. The duo now have three children: sons Samuel and Isaiah (born in 2016 and 2018, respectively) and daughter Mia (born in 2019). Sean, who has appeared on reality shows including “Celebrity Wife Swap” and “Marriage Boot Camp,” often gives fans a peek into his happy (and busy!) family life on Instagram.

Juan Pablo Galavis, a former Venezuelan soccer player and single father from Miami, headlined the 18th season of “The Bachelor” in 2014 and permanently etched the phrase “ees okay” into Bachelor Nation vernacular. He chose not to propose to Nikki Ferrell during the finale.

Despite his failure to offer a ring, Juan Pablo Galavis continued to date Nikki Ferrell for several months. After they broke up, the former soccer player — who has a daughter named Camila from a previous relationship — said “I do” to Venezuelan model Osmariel Villalobos in August 2017. But that union was not meant to be and they divorced after two years of marriage. Juan Pablo, seen here in a pic from the Latin Grammy Awards that he shared on Instagram on Nov. 18, 2021, now works developing artists, producers and writers with RedWine Management and created a sports division, RedWine Sports, which represents soccer players.

Iowa farmer Chris Soules looked for a soul mate on the 19th season of “The Bachelor” in 2015. He proposed to Whitney Bischoff at the final rose ceremony.

Chris Soules and Whitney Bischoff ended their romance six months after the finale aired. In April 2017, Chris was arrested after his truck rear-ended a tractor, killing its 66-year-old driver. The former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant — who still runs his family’s farming business in Iowa — pleaded guilty to a charge related to the incident and received two years of probation. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could have done more or change the outcome of what happened,” Chris told People magazine in 2019. “My outlook on life has changed forever.” Chris made headlines when he and Victoria Fuller from Peter Weber’s season 24 of “The Bachelor” isolated together and enjoyed a brief romance amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Software salesman Ben Higgins got engaged to Lauren Bushnell in 2016 at the end of season 20 of “The Bachelor.”

After Ben Higgins put a ring on it, he and Lauren Bushnell starred on their own reality series — “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?” — on Freeform. But they never made it to the altar. In May 2017, they announced their split. On Nov. 13, 2021, he married Jessica Clarke (seen here with him here in a honeymoon photo he shared on Instagram on Dec. 7, 2021). Ben co-hosts a podcast called “Almost Famous” with fellow Bachelor Nation alum Ashley Iaconetti. Ben also co-founded Generous Coffee, which gives 100% of its profits to nonprofit causes, and in 2021 published the memoir “Alone in Plain Sight: Searching for Connection When You’re Seen but Not Known.”

Nick Viall — who was the runner-up on two consecutive seasons of “The Bachelorette” and appeared on season 3 of “Bachelor in Paradise” in 2016 — was asked to lead his own season of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2017. He proposed to Vanessa Grimaldi during his season 21 final rose ceremony.

Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi split in August 2017. Post-“The Bachelor,” Nick competed on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2017 and made his acting debut the same year in the TV movie “A Christmas Cruise.” He’s also made guest appearances on ABC’s “Speechless” and TV Land’s “Teachers” and appeared on episodes of “General Hospital” in 2018. The reality star, who hosts the “Viall Files” podcast,went public with girlfriend Natalie Joy in February 2021.

Racecar driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. — who fans knew from season 8 of “The Bachelorette,” where he was rejected by Emily Maynard — was asked back to lead season 22 of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2018. He proposed to Becca Kufrin during his season 22 finale — but he pulled a Jason Mesnick…

Arie Luyendyk Jr. popped the question to contestant Becca Kufrin but changed his mind before the season finished airing. After breaking up with Becca, he proposed to runner-up Lauren Burnham during the live “After the Final Rose” special in March 2018. These days, Arie (seen here in a photo he shared on Instagram on Sept. 19, 2021) primarily works in residential real estate. He wed Lauren in January 2019 and they welcomed daughter Alessi four months later. Lauren gave birth to their twins, Senna James and Lux Jacob, in June 2021.

Former pro football player Colton Underwood looked for love on “The Bachelor” as the season 23 star in 2019. He handed his final rose to Cassie Randolph despite their brief split during the fantasy suites episode.

Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph announced in May 2020 that they’d split. Their relationship deteriorated and in September 2020, Cassie filed a restraining order against Colton accusing him of stalking and harassment, though later dropped it. Colton came out in April 2021, revealing he’s gay, during an interview on “Good Morning America.” Later that year, Colton — who documented his coming-out journey on the December 2021 Netflix series “Coming Out Colton” — confirmed he was dating Democratic political strategist Jordan C. Brown.

Airline pilot Peter Weber ended season 24 of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2020, with an engagement to Hannah Ann Sluss.

Peter Weber broke it off with Hannah Ann Sluss before the season was done airing and revealed he had feelings for Madison Prewett, who left the show during the finale. They gave it a go but confirmed they’d split two days after the finale aired in March 2020. Weeks later, Peter was spotted with another contestant, lawyer Kelley Flanagan, and in June 2020, they confirmed they were dating and planning to move to New York City together… but that romance ended at the end of the year. Peter, who continues to work as a commercial pilot, has maintained a low profile since then but still communicates with fans via Cameo.

Former football player Matt James, the first Black lead in “The Bachelor” history, ended the show’s 25th season, which aired in 2021, by giving his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell.

Matt James and winner Rachael Kirkconnell parted ways while the show was airing in 2021 after she made headlines for past racially insensitive behavior, which included dressing as a Native American woman and attending an Antebellum-themed college party; she also drew heat for previously liking posts that included the Confederate flag. “It broke my heart, because this is the last conversation I thought we’d be having. I didn’t sign up to have this conversation,” Matt told Rachael during the “After the Final Rose” special in March 2021. But their split didn’t last long: Though he initially ruled out the possibility of getting back together, he confirmed in May 2021 that he and Rachael were back on. Matt, who went on to compete on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2021, works in commercial real estate in New York City.


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