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Behind-The-Scenes Secrets About ‘The Bachelor’

Not only is the internet banned from the house, so is music!

ABC/Eric McCandless

There have been more than 20 seasons of “The Bachelor,” and that’s not counting spinoffs such as “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise.” In that time, there have been 13 proposals, and quite a few couples have stayed together for a time after the show ended.

Here’s something even fans might not know: Contestants have thus far included 15 Laurens and 10 Sarahs, Ashleys and Ambers. However, contestants named Jennifer have received the most roses, on average.

Itching for more little-known Bachelor facts? Check out these surprising secrets from behind the scenes of this romantic, sometimes dramatic reality show.

Every Contestant Has A ‘Journey’


The show has its own vocabulary, which everyone involved is strongly encouraged to use. For instance, time spent on the show is not a process, but rather a “journey.” In fact, Season 17 Bachelor Sean Lowe told Glamour that if contestants say “process,” producers make them retape it, using the word “journey,” instead.

They Pay For Their Own Clothes


The glamorous, sexy and fashionable outfits worn by contestants are not courtesy of the show’s wardrobe department — they bring their own clothes. The only dresses provided by ABC are the two selected for the last two contestants at the finale. In fact, some contestants find themselves deep in debt from shopping for their time on the show.

Contestants Must Pass Multiple Tests


Not just any pretty face can garner a spot as a contestant on “The Bachelor.” After filling out a lengthy application, which includes photos and video footage, hopefuls who land an audition still have a way to go. Grueling interviews are followed by psychological evaluations, personality tests, background checks by a private investigator and medical exams that include testing for STDs.

Protection May Or May Not Be Provided


When a couple has a romantic rendezvous in the Fantasy Suite, the show provides many thoughtful items. For instance, producers may draw a bubble bath for two, bring in champagne and stock the couple’s favorite snacks. But one crucial item might be missing.

“Bachelor” winner Courtney Robertson told Radar Online that condoms were not provided when she stayed in the suite. However, others reported that they are provided by the bowlful.

The Rose Ceremonies Are Really Long


For viewers, a rose ceremony only lasts a matter of minutes. While perfectly timed commercials and cliffhangers might make it seem drawn out to the folks at home, that’s nothing compared to what contestants endure. In fact, the ceremonies can last for hours on end and have been known to go on from night until morning.

The Rings Are Real


The engagement rings on “The Bachelor” are so stunning that they might seem too good to be true. In fact, the jewelry is legit. Not only that, but ABC pays for the proposal ring every season.

But There Are Strings Attached


While the engagement rings are covered by the network, they certainly don’t give one away every season. In addition, the would-be brides don’t always get to keep the jewelry. If the couple splits up within two years of the proposal, the ring must be returned.

They Get Them To Talk


Have you ever wondered why so many contestants seem so eager to spill their guts after they get sent home? They might not be naturally chatty, after all. In his book, Sean Lowe confessed that on the way back to the hotel after his elimination, producers drove in circles until he shared his feelings, turning what should’ve been a 10-minute ride into a grueling ordeal.

The Mansion Is A Family’s Home


If you’re thinking that the “Bachelor” Mansion is empty when the show is not being filmed, think again. The house is actually home to a real-life family of six. The family moves out twice a year and rents their home to the show.

The Host Has His Opinions


Chris Harrison acts as host, confidant and relationship counselor to those on all of the “Bachelor” shows. He offers advice and has been known to share his personal opinion after the fact. For instance, in 2015 he divulged the names of some of the show’s stars who he believed had chosen the wrong person (Andi Dorfman’s choice of Josh Murray and Jake Pavelka’s pairing with Vienna Girardi).

Being A Contestant is Boring


The life of a contestant is not all glamorous dates, exciting outings and roses. They leave their jobs, families and lives behind while they compete, only to spend the bulk of their time stuck at the mansion. Having no contact with the outside world, the women are left to entertain themselves without much assistance.

Some Items Are Banned In The Mansion


A major reason it’s so difficult to amuse themselves is the limit on items they are allowed to have. Not only are obvious things, such as cell phones and devices with internet access, forbidden, but other seemingly harmless objects are no-nos as well. Television and music are off limits, and even magazines and books were on the “no-no” list for awhile.

Contestants Have A Luggage Limit


At least being unable to bring books or gadgets makes for lighter packing, which is definitely beneficial. That’s because contestants are only supposed to bring two suitcases each. However, veterans of the show advise strongly against packing light. Depending on the length of their stays, contestants can require loads of different looks.

Not All Contestants Make Money


Leaving their lives, living out of suitcases and being uncertain about what their futures hold is probably quite a challenge. But at least they rake in some major cash, right? Not always. While the bachelor or bacherlorette earns a nice sum, the contestants don’t see a dime unless they are hired for appearances after the show.

Some Contestants Cut Costs


Not earning an income could be a hard pill to swallow, especially with the cash contestants drop on their wardrobes for the show. But some instead go out of their way to keep their pre-filming spending under control. Becca Tilley, who appeared in two seasons, borrowed clothes from friends and shopped at Forever 21 rather than picking up expensive designer duds.

They Have No Privacy


Applicants must sign a contract agreeing to be filmed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The contract also informs them to expect hidden cameras and microphones and literally no expectation of privacy. Twists, surprises and being prepared for anything round out the legal agreement.

Hometown Dates Aren’t All They Seem


Bringing a potential life partner home to meet your family should be exciting and romantic. On “The Bachelor,” though, the hometown dates might not be at home, after all. The show often rents or borrows the houses to use for the episode. They often bring in the “home-cooked” meals, as well.

They Struggle After The Show


Speaking of home, things change a great deal when contestants return to their normal lives after the show. They might have difficulty finding a new job (remember, they gave their old ones up to get on the show) due to employers considering their TV history a distraction. In addition, they can’t talk about what happened during their “journey” until the season ends.

The Weddings Are Paid For—With A Caveat


Just as ABC will pay for the proposal ring, the network might foot the bill for a “Bachelor” wedding. If ABC televises the nuptials, they likely pay for everything and give the couple a healthy paycheck to start their new lives. However, an ABC exec says they may or may not show future ceremonies.

Eating Is Off Limits


One lucky contestant gets a date with the bachelor. The setting is uber-romantic and the food looks divine, but neither of them touches the meal. In fact, they are fed before the date to avoid mishaps or awkwardness that can occur when someone is stuffing his or her face.

Limo Order Matters


Producers apparently have an idea of which contestants will be most popular or best suited for the bachelor. Those they like come out of the limo first, according to former bachelor Sean Lowe, and doing so could give the contestants a leg up.

The Initial Emotions Are Real


Viewers sometimes question the extreme reactions of contestants who are rejected during a rose ceremony. This is especially true early on in the season. Former contestant Kaitlyn Bristowe tweeted an explanation:

“Imagine going into debt from packing suitcases of cute outfits, getting in a limo to meet the man of your dreams, havin a few cocktails in a mansion.. To being told nah, I have like 20 other girls to choose from, then hopping on the bus of shame at 8am. You would cry too.”

The Final Four Are Chosen Early


A lot of romance, drama and emotion goes on in the weeks leading up to the selection of the final four contestants. Or does it? Jesse Csincsak, winner of “The Bachelorette” season 4 told Starcasm that the show picks the final four on the first night.

There’s No Housekeeping


The contestants don’t live the most luxurious lives in the mansion. They sleep in bunk beds in shared rooms. There’s no gym, so the contestants have to find creative ways to stay in shape. And they do all of their own cooking and laundry.

The Alcohol Is Free


The contestants are handed wine on the first night. Drinks abound on dates and around the house as they while away the day.

“It’s how they get you to be more talkative, more sensitive,” former contestant Leslie Hughes told The Daily Beast.

But They’re Not Drinking As Much


Following sexual misconduct allegations during season 3 of “Bachelor in Paradise,” Bachelor Nation shows now limit alcohol consumption. The host says that the show has never intentionally tried to get contestants to drink.

“That’s a big misconception of the show,” Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter, “that we push it, and that we need it and we want it. But that really doesn’t help us. Someone being sloppy drunk and being out of it does not give us good television.”

Relationships Form Between Contestants And Producers


The star is not the only one contestants fall for. Bachelor alum Jamie Otis said in an interview with Women’s Health that she saw it happen firsthand.

“There are more of these producer/contestant relationships than viewers realize,” Otis told Women’s Health. “They’re always kept hush-hush.”

They Barely Know Each Other


There’s no definitive timeline for falling in love, but most would argue it takes a fair amount of time to know when someone is the one. However, the bachelor is supposed to fall in love with one person while dating several over a matter of weeks. Season 6 Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky talked about the limited together-time on her E! blog.

“Honestly, everyone I’ve met from this show admits that they didn’t actually fall in love on the show, but after the show. Why? Because you don’t really know the person when you’re on the show. You spend about a total of 12 hours together in the first two months of the show and it’s under very strange circumstances.”

Participation In Activities Is Mandatory


Some of the group dates and activities are crazy, uncomfortable or even dangerous, but contestants have to take part. The contract they sign says so. It also states, “Applicants must sign a release attesting to the fact that the applicant understands and knowingly and willingly agrees to assume such risks.”

They Have Help With Names


How in the world does one person remember the names of all the contestants? With a little assistance. Ali Fedotowsky wrote on her blog that a producer is always close by with flashcards with the pictures and names of every contestant.