After 21 years on the air, Bachelor Nation was feeling stale until he came along. The Golden Bachelor — centered around Gerry Turner, a softspoken Indiana widower who confessed, “I haven’t dated in 45 years” — was lauded for revitalizing the franchise with its surprisingly sensitive and poignant portrayal of senior sex, aging and grief. “ABC, Bachelor fans and the contestants all fell hard for sweetheart Gerry,” a source exclusively tells Life & Style. “He seemed like the perfect choice.”

But it was too good to be true. Gerry, who handed out his final rose on November 30, allegedly dated several women after his wife’s 2017 death — and had at least one serious girlfriend, who has told all to The Hollywood Reporter about their three-year romance and his dark, nasty side. “He’s been exposed as a liar,” says the source, adding that Gerry’s employment history was also embellished for the show. “This is a huge, embarrassing disaster.”

He Moved Fast

The woman claims that Gerry reached out just a month after his wife, Toni, died unexpectedly. To thank her for helping him donate some clothes, the woman, who is 14 years younger and was identified only as Carolyn, says he took her out. “I got LUCKY when you said you’d go to dinner…I mean how often does an old geezer get the beautiful girl? You are the right woman for me,” she says he wrote her, adding that his “texts turned hot and heavy relatively soon.”

He laid it on thick. “I go to bed thinking of you and wake up in the morning thinking of you,” he texted her three months after his wife died. (The words were nearly verbatim to what he told finalist Leslie Fhima on the show.) Carolyn eventually moved into his lake house, but claims his controlling behavior and cruel comments about her weight gain led to their split.

Golden Bachelor's Theresa Nist Says She Would Invite Runner-Up Leslie to Her Wedding to Gerry Turner
Courtesy of Gerry Turner/Instagram

That wasn’t his only romance. “He dated a couple of women…. They weren’t all short-term, either,” says Heather Lanning-Adams, who worked at his favorite bar. So when Gerry claimed on screen that he hadn’t been kissed in six years, Carolyn added she was “flabbergasted.”

How much did the show know? The 72-year-old — who was labeled a “retired restaurateur,” but last owned a burger joint in 1985 and had since worked in sales and management, and as a hot tub installer and maintenance man — claims he went through an extensive background check. “But obviously it wasn’t good enough,” says the source, adding that he’s not the first liar to show up on the franchise. “So if producers were aware of his past, it’s naive of them to assume no one would find out.”

It’s too late now. “The Golden Bachelor generated so much excitement and great ratings that they’ve already started planning The Golden Bachelorette, but this news has ruined all that momentum,” says the source. “They definitely have egg on their face.”