Passing the golden torch! The Golden Bachelor star Gerry Turner reacted to the news that ABC selected Joan Vassos, who self-eliminated on season 1 of the Bachelor spinoff series, as the very first Golden Bachelorette lead.

“Dear Joan, Congratulations on being named the first-ever Golden Bachelorette,” the retired restauranteur, 72, wrote in a statement on Instagram on Tuesday, May 14. “You will be phenomenal as the new representative of a generation. From one golden to another … relax, breathe and enjoy. Gerry.”

In the caption, Gerry added, “And, ABC makes History, once again!!!”

Joan, 61, was revealed as the first Golden Bachelorette lead during the ABC upfront on May 14. The network also shared a video of the Rockland, Maryland, native wearing a gold sequinned dress and picking up a gold rose.

Who Do You Want to See as the Next Golden Bachelor?

Fans took to the comments to express their excitement, with one user writing, “LET’S GO JOAN!!!!”

“She put family first and ended up winning in the end,” another user added.

Following the announcement, Joan took to Instagram to share the news herself. “The secret is out,” she wrote via her Instagram Stories, sharing ABC’s video. “I’m honored to be #TheGoldenBachelorette!”

Golden Bachelor Cast meet the women
ABC/Ricky Middlesworth

Joan and Gerry formed a connection during The Golden Bachelor season 1, but she ultimately decided to remove herself from the competition when she learned that her daughter wasn’t doing well after giving birth.

​​”It wasn’t a normal, everyday delivery at all. Things go wrong. Even if everything went right, you need your mom,” Joan said on the show before her exit. “My family will always be first. Once you become a mom, you’re always a mom, even when your kids are older. Nothing is more important.”

Joan later said that her “heart maybe got a little fix from Gerry,” who went on to marry season 1 finalist Theresa Nist, although the two announced in April that they are planning to divorce.

“He’s helped with the journey, because as you get older you become more invisible,” she said. “People don’t see you anymore. You’re not as significant as when you’re young.”

Fans of Joan took to Instagram following her departure from The Golden Bachelor to wish her well, and she thanked them for their support.

“A huge thank you to everyone expressing their concern for my family,” she wrote in October 2023. “It’s a privilege to be a mom to four amazing kids and a grandmother (they call me Jojo) to two beautiful grandchildren. But once a mom, always a mom and sometimes the timing doesn’t work out with finding love.”