The Golden Bachelor star Gerry Turner‘s marriage to Theresa Nist was over long before he filed for divorce on April 12.

Sources exclusively tell Life & Style the 72-year-old — who stretched the truth about his career as a restaurateur and claimed he hadn’t been in love since his wife Toni‘s death in 2017 — joined the show in hopes of some major returns.

“His real goal was to set himself up as a Hollywood player and be rich and famous,” says an insider. “He never had any interest in finding a bride or in the feelings of the women he courted on the show.”

ABC’s inaugural Golden Bachelor aired a heartwarming finale showing Turner choosing vulnerable widow Nist as his bride — only to see him back out of the marriage days before the wedding before finally going through with things.

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“Theresa was warned not to marry Gerry because of his history of lies and fraud,” says a source. “She really loved him, but she’s been played for a fool. She must have seen the writing on the wall when Gerry refused to move in with her” after their January nuptials.

gerry turner, theresa nist
Courtesy of Gerry Turner/Instagram

Adds the insider, “They were living separate lives, with Theresa in New Jersey and Gerry holed up at his Indiana lake house. Her head has to be spinning from all his deceit!”

One source says Turner is reveling in his new role as “villain” in the reality TV universe — and that he planned it this way.

“Gerry learned from the whole Vanderpump Rules scandal,” says the insider. “That’s when he set out to ride the same gravy train, and his reps are already pitching him as TV’s newest bad boy!”