Producers might not print out scripts for the stars of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and their contestants to follow, but they’re definitely pulling the strings on each season’s ~journey~ to find love. In fact, these behind-the-scenes masterminds even coach contestants on what to say and do.

Former contestant Catherine Giudici — who ended up marrying season 17 lead Sean Lowe — revealed insight into this question that clouds Bachelor Nation. “Do producers make people do things or act a certain way on Bachelor/Bachelorette?” a curious fan inquired during an Instagram Q&A in January 2020.

Catherine Giudici Answers if The Bachelor Is Scriptied
Courtesy of Catherine Giudici Instagram

“Nope! They can ask questions and maybe guide you in an answer, but you are completely your own person and responsible for what you say and do,” she assured. However, the seasoned producers behind the scenes know how to point contestants in the right direction.

In season 14 of The Bachelor, for example, a staffer on the show prepped contestant Tenley Molzahn with “conversation starters” to make sure she got Jake Pavelka‘s attention. “A producer asked me if there was something memorable I wanted to tell him, and because my name is so unique, I opted to play off that,” she told the New York Post in 2015.

“I did a list of ’10 things to know about Tenley,’ with the final item being that I was a good kisser,” she continued. “I was encouraged to be the first kiss, and I was the first kiss. I surrendered myself to the producers.”

Meanwhile, Bachelor season 16 contestant Jamie Otis says her seemingly spontaneous makeout sesh with Ben Flajnik before one of the rose ceremonies was also arranged by producers — after she told them that she wanted to “open up” to him.

They told her Ben would ask her for some one-on-one time, and they brought her two vodka sodas to calm her nerves. “Then we were talking about what I’m going to do and that he’s going to pull me [to the side] first and I would just go and I would kiss him and make out with him,” she recalled. “And I had barely spoken [on the show] … and then the rest is history.”

Once Ben gave her the heave-ho, though, the producers meddled again to make it seem like she was crying over Ben. “During my exit interview, a producer asked, ‘Don’t you miss your family?’ and I just lost it,'” she said. “So, as I’m talking about my family and how I miss them, I’m then asked about how I feel about Ben. I’m crying, and it appears that I’m devastated that Ben didn’t choose me.”

In another case of false pretenses, season 6 contestant Justin Rego didn’t actually trek two miles on crutches to get alone time with Ali Fedotowsky, as fellow contestant Craig Robinson revealed. “The producers made it look like Justin Rego walked up to her house, but the producers drove him,” he said. “They had him get out of the car and filmed it as if he was walking past houses.”

So now you know: A lot of what you see on the ABC reality franchise isn’t in fact completely real. Instead, we’re seeing the work of skilled romance wranglers. But hey, what fun is actual reality anyway?

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