Bachelor Nation's messiest breakups

Whether it’s your guilty pleasure or your open obsession, there’s no denying the entertainment value that the “The Bachelor” franchise brings to our television sets on Monday nights. And though it doesn’t have the best track record of leading to lasting love, the aftermath of the insane breakups provides mounds of gossip fodder we always lap up. is rounding up these messy breakups, starting with this shocking split… Matt James, the first Black lead of “The Bachelor,” picked Rachael Kirkconnell at the end of season 25, but he didn’t propose. Still, Matt said he was committed to Rachael and envisioned her as his wife. However, not long after the finale was filmed (but before it aired), three-year-old social media images surfaced that showed Rachael at an Antebellum South-themed party. She also liked other images that contained a Confederate flag and she posted Qanon conspiracy theories online. On the “After The Final Rose” special, Matt said he and Rachael were no longer together and acknowledged that the past racist acts where the reason. In recalling his thoughts when he first realized the rumors of her past were true, Matt said, “It was in that moment and the conversation that I had, that Rachael might not understand what it means to be Black in America.” He continued, “It’s heartbreaking. If you don’t understand that something like that is problematic in 2018, there’s a lot of me that you won’t understand. It’s as simple as that.” Rachael said she was still in love with Matt, but he essentially squashed any hopes of a reconciliation and said she needed to confront her racist actions and work on herself. “When I questioned our relationship, it was in the context of you not fully understanding my Blackness and what it means to be a Black man in America,” he told her. “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.” Keep reading to take a stroll down memory lane and relive more of the most dramatic breakups in franchise history…

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After Peter Weber proposed to contestant Hannah Ann Sluss in Australia at the end of season 24, producers and a camera crew tagged along a few weeks later as he later changed his mind and dumped her — essentially explaining he still had feelings for the runner-up, Madison Prewett, who had opted to send herself home prior to his proposal. A messy reunion ensued live after the finale aired, with Hannah Ann confronting him and uttering the pretty scathing line that will go down in Bachelor Nation history: “If you want to be with a woman, you need to become a real man.” Ouch!

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The messy breakup that created an entirely new episode of television for ABC? That was Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi’s nightmarish end. Throughout Season 14 of “The Bachelor,” Vienna was portrayed as the villain as she butted heads with the other women on her way to the top. And though Jake didn’t mind warnings from the other ladies, only seeing the good in Vienna all the way through, their relationship imploded shortly after the finale episode. Their vicious words against each other caused ABC to give them even more television in 2010 — a sit-down mediated by host Chris Harrison in which both were given the opportunity to air their side of the story. Spoiler alert: It didn’t end well. Vienna accused Jake of being a “fame w—-” and he accused her of undermining him, eventually infamously erupting during their spat with, “Please stop interrupting me!” Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for “The Bachelor” fans, they shared screen time once more when they both appeared on the second season of the now-defunct “Bachelor Pad,” though at that point Vienna had already moved on to “The Bachelorette” contestant Kasey Kahl (yes, the guy who got a six-inch tattoo for Ali Fedotowsky during her season).

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Arie Luyendyk Jr., Season 22’s star in 2018, deserves a place in the Bachelor Nation hall of fame for what was hands-down the messiest (and most controversial!) breakup in the franchise’s history. Not only did he renege on his final pick — dumping Becca Kufrin weeks after proposing — but he allowed “The Bachelor” cameras to roll while he broke up with her. Their awkward encounter aired on national television before cameras followed him as he pleaded with runner-up Lauren Burnham to take him back. But all’s well that ends well: In 2019, Arie married second pick Lauren and welcomed a daughter with her. As for Becca? She became the star of “The Bachelorette” and is now living with her No. 1 (and only!) pick, Garrett Yrigoyen.

Another villain who ended up snagging the final rose? Courtney Robertson, who was Ben Flajnik’s polarizing final pick during Season 16 of “The Bachelor” even though many of her fellow contestants openly despised her. But, like Jake Pavelka before him, Ben stayed true to his heart and valiantly picked the model in the end (for her personality, obviously). They broke up shortly after taping the finale and getting engaged in November 2011 — all thanks to a cheating scandal involving Ben and three women over the course of a weekend in San Francisco (and photographic proof via Us Weekly). It made for an awkward “After the Final Rose” special taping in March 2012, where Ben claimed that seeing Courtney’s behavior on the show as it aired made him doubt his choice. But the two ultimately decided to get back together though — no shocker here — it didn’t last. They’d split by that October.

Jason Mesnick is the OG messy “The Bachelor” breakup king: He gave viewers the opposite of a fairy-tale ending tied up with a bow during Season 13. Jason originally picked Melissa Rycroft (second from left), only to realize that he liked his runner-up, Molly Malaney (right, more. He broke up with Melissa on live television during the “After the Final Rose” special, leading Melissa to call him a bastard (and rightfully so!). He then asked Molly out right after. But it didn’t all end terribly — Jason and Molly went on to become one of the only successful couples in “Bachelor” history, as they’re still married and are raising two kids together.

Amanda Stanton first joined the “The Bachelor” world during Ben Higgins’ season, making it to the final four. Though her first “Bachelor” breakup was relatively drama-free, her next wouldn’t be. She later met “The Bachelorette” alum Josh Murray on “Bachelor in Paradise” in 2016, and their relationship culminated in an onscreen proposal that September. After the show, Josh moved from Georgia to live with Amanda and her two daughters in Southern California and things seemed to be going well… until December. A heated fight led to a split; Amanda claimed that Josh refused to admit it was over after she broke up with him, even going so far as to share Instagram posts pretending they were still a couple after the fact. Though they were on-again, off-again in early 2017, things were definitely over by March. From there, things just got more complicated: The cops got involved over a shared car and Josh released a statement to E! News at one point threatening to take legal action against Amanda. Yikes. Unfortunately, that’s not Amanda’s only messy breakup with a member of Bachelor Nation…

Amanda Stanton and Robby Hayes hit it off after meeting on “Bachelor in Paradise” in 2017, with Robby sweetly fighting to win Amanda’s heart on the beaches of Mexico. Unfortunately, as soon as they got back to the real world, things were very, very different. The two not only split but made their breakup public by airing their dirty laundry on Twitter. Robby shared a lengthy post with a brutal sign-off: “History is repeatedly showing that some people thrive off of using the media and their ‘army’ to manipulate viewers to place one-sided blame, constantly play the ‘victim’ and use their friends to try and assassinate one’s character. Your story-line is getting OLD; at some point it’s just on YOU to stop living a double-life, and at this point, everyone sees through it. God bless.” Amanda didn’t keep quiet after reading his attack: She retaliated by sharing a photo of Robby making out with another woman. The fallout from their uncivilized split continued on long after the breakup too, like when Amanda alluded to an ex who requested she continue to pay for his Disneyland annual pass. Though she didn’t name names, Robby fired back — and in the process outed himself as the mystery ex while claiming her tweet wasn’t entirely accurate. The moral of the story here? Keep your relationship drama off Twitter!

Byron Velvick and Mary Delgado had a pretty long run, but ultimately couldn’t make it work. They met during Season 6 of “The Bachelor” in 2004 and Byron asked Mary to be his wife with an adorably memorable proposal on the finale: He spoke in Spanish so her parents could understand when they watched. Unfortunately, their courtship wasn’t as sweet. In 2007, Mary was arrested for assaulting Byron, and though they worked through it, ultimately, their bond wasn’t strong enough to survive. They never made it to the altar and ended things in 2009 after five years together.

Brad Womack’s first venture on “The Bachelor” saw him dump not one but two of his final ladies at once during Season 11. He broke it off with both DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft on the last episode, shocking viewers as he decided he wouldn’t give a “false promise,” claiming he cared about the women but thought it was better to let them both walk. Surprisingly, “The Bachelor” producers let him return for Season 15… which leads us to our next messy breakup…

During Brad Womack’s second try at love when he appeared on “The Bachelor” Season 15, it felt like he and Emily Maynard were meant to be. Unfortunately, things weren’t as hunky-dory as producers made them seem. Brad ended up breaking up with Emily via an email to the show’s producers after the season ended! Yep, rumor has it that Emily, who went on to star on “The Bachelorette,” found out that her relationship was over when she was cc’d on the email.

Andi Dorfman joined Bachelor Nation when she signed on to compete for the love of one of the most hated “The Bachelor” leads of all time — Juan Pablo Galavis. Though she didn’t make it to the very end, her breakup on his season was cringe-worthy enough to make this list. After their fantasy suite date, Andi opened up about her feelings and confessed that she wasn’t in love with Juan Pablo — only to hear “It’s OK” repeated over and over. Considering it had become one of Juan Pablo’s signature lines, it caused Andi to vent, “I want to die if I have to hear ‘it’s OK’ again.” But don’t cry for Andi, because this memorable moment helped her gain a spot as the next “The Bachelorette” star in 2014. Unfortunately, her breakup with the winner of that season is on deck…

These two are both repeat offenders when it comes to terrible Bachelor Nation breakups! Andi Dorfman picked Josh Murray at the end of her stint on Season 10 of “The Bachelorette,” choosing him over Nick Viall (who we’ll get to soon!), but the two didn’t go the distance and had a less-than-amicable end to their engagement. Though fans weren’t privy to the details at the time, Andi later wrote a book, “It’s Not OK: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Ever After,” in which she chronicled their very messy breakup, accusing Josh of being emotionally and verbally abusive during their time together. As for Josh, he shared an Instagram post ahead of Colton Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor” in 2019 with a devil emoji covering Andi’s face in their proposal picture — proving that years later, there’s still bad blood between these two.

Andi Dorfman got caught in Nick Viall’s web when he competed for her heart on “The Bachelorette” in 2014. Though he made it to the final two, ultimately Andi didn’t pick him at the end. So what did Nick do? If you thought he headed off into the sunset with his head held high, you’d be wrong. Nope, instead, he waited until the “After the Final Rose” special to awkwardly put Andi on blast, sharing that the two were intimate during filming and painfully asking, “Why did you make love to me if you weren’t in love with me?” during the special… where her fiancé, Josh Murray, was within earshot.

When it was Desiree Hartsock’s turn to look for love on Season 9 of “The Bachelorette,” there was one clear frontrunner — Brooks Forester. Brooks was so obviously the man Desiree wanted that when he told her he wanted to leave during their fantasy suite date, Desiree nearly quit the show entirely. Fortunately for fans — and Desiree herself — she soldiered on and ended up accepting a proposal from Chris Siegfried. They’re now married with two kids!

It was the messiest breakup that… wasn’t? Colton Underwood clearly only had eyes for Cassie Randolph during his time as the lead on “The Bachelor” Season 23, so when she tried to head home after telling him she wasn’t ready to get engaged, he didn’t take the news lightly. Instead, Colton begged and pleaded for Cassie to stay and when she left, he jumped a fence and ran away from production as cameramen and producers desperately chased after him. Once he collected himself (after producers tracked him down!), Colton sent the rest of the remaining women home and made one final attempt to sway Cassie. This time it worked, and the two decided to continue dating without a ring or any future plans.

One onscreen “The Bachelorette” split that hit fans hard? The breakup between Rachel Lindsay, Season 13’s “The Bachelorette” lead, and Peter Kraus, which was one of the most genuine, raw, emotional moments the reality show has produced. When Rachel’s top pick decided he wasn’t ready to promise Rachel an engagement ring, he let her know. Rachel explained that she wanted to leave the show with a fiancé, not just a boyfriend, and the two realized they were at an impasse. Many tears followed, and Rachel’s fake eyelashes famously came off in the process as she said her final goodbye.

Season 11 of “The Bachelorette” featured fan favorite Kaitlyn Bristowe falling in love with Shawn Booth. She accepted his proposal in 2015 and the two seemed to be going strong… until November 2018 when they announced their breakup after more than three years together. Kaitlyn soon opened up about the split on her podcast, noting that they disagreed on “important fundamental values.” Later, Shawn revealed on Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti’s “Almost Famous: In Depth” podcast that they’d actually broken up two months prior to their announcement. He also noted how difficult it was to see her already in a serious relationship with yet another Bachelor Nation castoff, Jason Tartick, with whom Kaitlyn went public in January 2019. “I think just with her moving on so quick, I just have a tough time understanding why she would be putting this out everywhere or blasting it all over the place knowing that it could hurt,” Shawn explained. But in May 2019 during an appearance on E!’s “Ladygang,” Kaitlyn revealed who broke up with whom: “He left me,” she said. “He didn’t know why he couldn’t love me.”

It seemed like the first season of “Bachelor in Paradise” in 2014 might have sparked a real romance between Marcus Grodd and Lacy Faddoul. Marcus, who’d appeared on Season 10 of “The Bachelorette,” proposed to Lacy, who fans knew from Season 18 of “The Bachelor,” and the two had a wedding in Mexico on the Season 2 premiere of “BiP” in 2015. But all was not as it seemed: Lacy refused to make their union legal once they got back to the United States. By March 2016, they were done. Marcus later told Us Weekly about their strange fake marriage, sharing that they only had minimal contact after their Mexico wedding and that he felt “played” by the beauty.

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