When The Bachelor Season 22 premieres on New Year’s Day, we’ll see Arie Luyendyk Jr. meet 29 contestants vying for his heart. That’s a lot of temptation for a guy who earned the nickname “The Kissing Bandit” on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette due to his lengthy and intimate makeout sessions with the blonde beauty. But will he be just as smooch-happy this time around, or is he a changed man?
To find out if Arie can escape that reputation, we turned to one of the bros who knows him best: his pal (and fellow Bachelorette Season 8 contestant) Chris Bukowski. “He's probably capable, but I don’t think he will,” Chris told Life & Style exclusively. “That’s just him. He doesn’t have to change the way he is. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Like most of us, Chris was surprised to learn Arie had booked a return trip to the Bachelor mansion six years later. “I woke up and people were texting me, ‘You know, Arie is The Bachelor.’ That’s cool! I was shocked. I had no idea, but I think it’s good.”
In fact, Chris says ABC’s decision to bring Arie back is a return to form for the long-running dating show. “I think it’s going to bring a little bit of how the show used to be back," he shared. "A lot of it has to do with people trying to get their brand out there, their Instagram followers, and all that stuff.”
And for the record, it’s not impossible for Arie to escape his PDA-heavy past. In fact, Bachelor No. 17 Sean Lowe — another pal of the Dutch-born racing driver — previously told Life & Style that Arie “wants to get away from being seen as just a dude who wants to make out.”
The Bachelor Season 22 premieres on Monday, Jan. 1, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Can't wait to find out who Arie picks? Check out our spoilers here! And be sure to join our Bachelor Facebook group to chat about all the latest updates, exclusive interviews, and juicy gossip!