The Bachelor franchise has revealed its next leading lady! Joan Vassos was announced as the first ever Golden Bachelorette during the ABC upfront on Tuesday, May 14. Fans watched the beauty self-eliminate during season 1 of The Golden Bachelor with Gerry Turner.

“The secret’s out,” Joan, 61, shared via Instagram following the announcement. “I’m honored to be #TheGoldenBachelorette.”

Gerry formed a deep connection with Joan during their onscreen romance, but she had to decline her rose and go home after she learned 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 in a confessional during 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.”

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Later, Joan gushed that her “heart maybe got a little fix from Gerry.”

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

After the episode aired in October 2023, Joan received love from Bachelor Nation fans regarding her daughter’s well-being.

“A huge thank you to everyone expressing their concern for my family,” Joan wrote via Instagram at the time. “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.”

As Joan’s family life seemingly improved, she was announced as The Golden Bachelorette – and Gerry publicly congratulated her minutes later via Instagram.

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

The former lead proposed to Theresa Nist during the finale and said goodbye to Leslie Fhima. Gerry and Theresa got married in a televised wedding in January. Three months after Bachelor Nation celebrated their love, the pair called it quits on their relationship and announced their divorce.

“We’ve kind of come to the conclusion mutually that it’s probably time for us to dissolve our marriage,” Gerry told GMA host Juju Chang during a joint interview with Theresa in April. “The thing that strikes me the most and in our conversations it’s been how dedicated both of us are to our families. So we look at these situations and I think we just feel like it’s best for the happiness of each of us to live apart.”