“I thought, ‘No, that’s absolutely not possible. That’s silly.’ How wrong I was,” Gerry, 72, told Us Weekly in an interview published on Wednesday, September 27. “Because through the course of the journey, I really felt strong feelings for several of the women.”
While Gerry acknowledged many Bachelor Nation stars have fallen for a handful of contestants on their seasons, the Indiana native assured fans that he wasn’t fully “in love” with several of the ladies competing for his heart.
“In retrospect, I realized that in that particular moment, whenever it was — the setting was such that, ‘Yeah, it was easy to look at someone and tell ’em that you loved ’em,” the reality star said. “But once you get through it all and you look back, then you realize that there is just really one person that really meets the standard in all situations that you want it to be.”
Gerry also shared that he went into the experience by setting rules for himself, though he ultimately didn’t follow them.
“I had a few rules, but I was breaking them all. That was the problem. So I decided I would stop,” he said. “[My daughters and granddaughters] were worried that I was going to be that guy that was kissing everybody on the first night. And I said, ‘Nope, I’m not going to kiss anyone on the first night. You’re not going to see that. Maybe not even as we get into it.’ Well, as you’ll see, I failed on the very first night, but I don’t feel bad about it at all.”
Gerry added that he has “no regrets” about how he handled the physical part of looking for love while dating multiple women at the same time. “As time went on, many of those kisses were of affection,” he said. “I really wanted to be supportive of all the women. I wanted them to feel good about themselves.”
He also shared a glimpse into how he handled fantasy suites, which allows the suitor and his contestants to spend time together without the cameras.
“And the reality is I kept trying to explain to them that as you get older, the priorities for a situation like that are more intellectual, more emotional rather than physical,” Gerry stated. “And indeed, it did turn out to be exactly that … I was happy how it turned out. Being able to have a conversation off camera was critically important.”
Before searching for love on reality TV, Gerry was married to his high school sweetheart, Toni, for 43 years until she died in 2017.
While discussing his late wife on “The Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast on September 17, Gerry said he thought Toni would approve of his stint as the Golden Bachelor.
“I have a picture of her in my walk-in closet, so every night I’m in there and I see her picture. It’s the only one now that I have in the house and in the mornings, I see her picture and you know, we talk,” he told Bachelor in Paradise season 7 couple Joe Amabile and Serena Pitt. “I’ll make a brief comment — or sometimes that talk is silent. But here, lately, in the last couple of months, you know, my question for her is always, ‘So what do you think of this? Am I doing the right thing?’ And I really have strong positive feelings about it. I think she would be very happy.”