On Tuesday, Trista Sutter—the first-ever Bachelorette—made an appearance on the LadyGang podcast and opened up about how her fairytale wedding to Ryan Sutter was in many ways orchestrated by the show’s producers behind the scenes.
For one, the show dictated that runner-up Charlie Maher serve as emcee for the evening. That made Trista and Ryan feel awkward. Their guest list had to be significantly whittled down in order to accommodate several studio execs. And at the couple’s bachelor/bachelorette party, a guest found a binder that was left behind by a producer that included bios on each guest, along with designations like “the villain” and “the sweetheart.”
In the end, Trista didn’t hold too much of a grudge because, “There’s no way in hell I ever would have been able to have the kind of wedding, even a fraction of the kind of wedding, that I had on my own,” she said. “I wanted to save my parents a s–t ton of money. And we got to take over an entire resort. So, it was super fun.”
But this is hardly the first time a Bachelor or Bachelorette contestant has claimed to have been manipulated by producers. In fact, several have gone on record with their own horror stories.
The former Bachelor has spoken publicly about how he felt producers were trying to sabotage his relationship with Cassie Randolph by inviting her father to Thailand.
“There was a part of me that maybe thought they just wanted an engagement, and they wanted me to go with somebody who was going to be ready for that, and I don’t think they thought Cassie was ready at the time. But that wasn’t for them to decide.”
“I understand it’s show business, I understand what I signed up for, but it’s still also my personal life. They have another season, another Bachelor to move onto, and I have my life—and my decisions that I make on the show carry on into my real life,” Underwood told Yahoo! Entertainment.
“When it came to my relationship, I didn’t want them to get in the way, and I felt at times there were some certain things that happened that just sort of crossed the line in my opinion.”
In the book Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, contestant Sharleen Joynt discussed resisting producers’ instructions to admit she was falling in love with Juan Pablo Galavis during an “In the Moment” interview.
This made the filming, which typically only lasts 20 minutes, stretch over an entire hour.
In the same book, Brooks Forester spoke about how things are edited together completely out of context. “They’d try to get me to talk about something from my childhood, for example,” he said, “or say something really personal about a family member…then try to attach that to what’s happening in the world of The Bachelor.”
Chris Bukowski has admitted to telling the producers what they want to hear, just to get out of an interview. “I was saying lines verbatim from producers because I’d been sitting in a stupid room for an hour and just wanted to go,” he said.
“You would say something you totally didn’t even believe or want to say, but they just keep asking you and asking you and asking you—just like you’re being interrogated.”
The season 16 contestant had a famously awkward first kiss with Bachelor Ben Flajnik, and has since said that it was due to producers’ prodding. They told her Ben was going to pull her aside during the first rose ceremony, and encouraged her to make out with him, though they had barely spoken to each other.
When she told them she would need a little liquid courage in order to do so, they promptly brought her two vodka sodas. She got her kiss, and even straddled Flajnik, but was eliminated that night.
But that wasn’t the end of the meddling. “During my exit interview, a producer asked, ‘Don’t you miss your family?’ and I just lost it,” she says. “So as I’m talking about my family and how I miss them, I’m then asked about how I feel about Ben. I’m crying, and it appears that I’m devastated that Ben didn’t choose me.”
Clare Crawley has gone on record saying she was treated cruelly by the show’s editors after one segment on Bachelor in Paradise made it look like she was tearfully confiding in a raccoon. She also says her concerns were treated with total indifference.
“The whole process makes you so raw and so vulnerable, and that’s why it works. You don’t have any outside distraction, so they’re your people. At the end of the day, I’m a person who builds friendships. I had to keep reminding myself — and to this day, I still have to remind myself when they call me — that this is their job. And I have to make peace with that…This show either builds you or breaks you. And I’m not going to let it break me, because they’re making money off of people like me. I’ll be damned if they, or anybody else, chooses how my life goes.”