There are very few reality shows out there that manage to maintain both a loyal fan base and a rotating cast of people willing to be filmed for the entertainment of others. Somehow, The Bachelor franchise has accomplished both of those feats for nearly two decades, all while keeping viewers on their toes about whether or not true love would prevail.
Of course, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are all about finding the love of your life (and possibly even getting engaged at the end of the show), but there have been more than a few contestants whom the fans ended up calling villains — and for a multitude of reasons. Whether they’re constantly causing drama, seem to have a terrible personality, or are clearly not there for the right reasons, there’s pretty much always a proverbial “villain” on every season of these series. But while some of these love-to-hate-’em stars make their way out of The Bachelor franchise and redeem themselves, there are plenty that remain straight up hated by fans even years after appearing in this hit ABC reality TV realm.
Ready to relive the drama? Let’s reminisce about the most hated villains in Bachelor history.
Trish Schneider was an early Bachelor trainwreck
To be fair, when The Bachelor first started out in 2002, the people who went on the show were far more likely to actually be looking for a spouse than the contestants on the show these days. Back then, Instagram influencers didn’t even exist. Even a few seasons in, the idea of making a career out of your social media presence after appearing on The Bachelor likely seemed preposterous. Still, there were people who seemed to go on the show for the wrong reasons and got plenty of attention for it … like one Trish Schneider.
Schneider appeared all the way back during Season 5 of The Bachelor. In 2018, over a decade after her memorable reality TV turn, Reality Steve described her as “arguably the first true villain this franchise ever had.” Longtime fans may remember how Schneider made viewers uncomfortable for many reasons, but perhaps the most iconic was when she donned a t-shirt, which read: “Gold Digger — Like a hooker … just smarter.” Um, yikes? However, during an interview with the media outlet’s podcast, she explained that the “hysterical” wardrobe choice was not actually a big deal, saying, “It was so unintentional … It really was innocent.”
Although Schneider will go down in reality TV history as The Bachelor‘s OG villain, she maintains a minimal social media presence these days, making it clear she isn’t looking to make a career out of her time on the show.
Ed Swiderski was seriously disrespectful on The Bachelorette
During Season 5 of The Bachelorette, Ed Swiderski made waves for all the wrong reasons when he decided to leave the show for work during week five, and then returned to try and win over the heart of that season’s star, Jillian Harris (via ABC News). It was a move that angered many viewers at home, but Harris herself didn’t seem too upset by it. In fact, in a shocker of a finale, Swiderski ended up popping the question, and the two stayed together for a while … that is, until rumors that Swiderski had allegedly cheated on Harris started to surface in 2010.
After Harris finally ended things that year, she explained to Us Weekly why it was so hard for her to call off their engagement. “It was the last thing I wanted to do,” she said. “It’s terrible to leave because the other person doesn’t know what they want.” Despite the fact that Swiderski had been spotted out and about with other women in the midst of their breakup, Harris went on to insist, “He’s not a bad guy. He’s just not quite ready to grow up.” We’re not the only ones who aren’t exactly convinced.
The Bachelorette's Kalon McMahon deserved to go
For fans of The Bachelor franchise, Emily Maynard is beloved. The single mother had quite the traumatic backstory when she first appeared on Season 15 of The Bachelor: Maynard’s former partner, Ricky, tragically died in a plane crash while she was pregnant with their daughter, whom she named Ricki.
When Maynard later appeared as the star of Season 8 of The Bachelorette, Ricki was 7 years old and the light of the reality TV star’s life. However, according to controversial contestant Kalon McMahon, the little one was “baggage” — an off-camera comment that got him swiftly sent home once Maynard heard of it. As much as fans were upset with McMahon, they loved the way Maynard handled the situation. According to host Chris Harrison’s Entertainment Weekly blog, once the bachelorette was told what McMahon had said, she reportedly responded with: “I want to go out and rip his limbs off and beat him with them.” But the proud mama bear wasn’t done, adding, “I wanna go West Virginia hood-rat backwards on his a**.”
All the cringe-worthy drama was pretty entertaining — even Harrison wrote, “Now, I have no idea what that means … But the icing on the cake was Emily going West Virginia hood-rat on his ass and telling him to get the ‘F’ out” — and McMahon, who eventually returned to the franchise twice, later apologized for the remark. But viewers were probably happy to see him go.
Kelsey Poe was confusing, to say the least
Season 19 of The Bachelor saw Chris Soules face a wide array of women with whom he could fall in love. One of those contestants vying to win him over was one Kelsey Poe, who infamously experienced a breakdown of sorts after opening up to the bachelor about her past — specifically revealing how her late husband passed away. However, things took a bit of an uncomfortable turn for viewers during a follow-up confessional, when Poe told the camera, “Isn’t my story amazing? It’s tragic, but it’s amazing. I love my story.”
Per Bustle, Poe’s widowing reveal led to Soules telling “the group that his chat with her really made him rethink things.” While his meaning here was unclear, the announcement brought on a panic attack in Poe, who ended up lying on the floor and crying, while paramedics rushed to attend to her. Shortly after, however, she appeared so calm on-camera that viewers at home couldn’t help but wonder whether she’d faked the entire thing for attention and to stay in the running for Soules’ heart.
Poe later denied the accusation while speaking with host Chris Harrison on Chris Tells All, saying (via E! News), “It was such an emotionally tumultuous day, good and bad. I felt flooded, like when there are too many emotions amassing.” Even so, the entire ordeal rubbed Bachelor fans the wrong way.
Juan Pablo is a notorious star-turned-villain in Bachelor Nation
As the titular bachelor on Season 18 of The Bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis seemed to be, at least initially, a great pick for the franchise: he was a single father, his Venezuelan heritage meant that he’d diversified the cast, and fans already knew him from a previous season of The Bachelorette. However, the star-turned-villain quickly became someone viewers couldn’t stand after a series of PR faux-pas and the controversial ways in which he treated women on the show.
As detailed by The Cut, Galavis made homophobic comments (for which ABC had to publicly apologize), and also made multiple contestants feel uncomfortable when it came to sexual encounters — including future Bachelorette star Clare Crawley. Fellow contestant Andi Dorfman left the show on her own terms after Galavis bragged about hooking up with Crawley during their date. Meanwhile, Crawley famously told him off during the finale for making an “insulting” and “offensive” sexual comment to her during their last one-on-one helicopter date, telling him in part, “I would never want my children having a father a father like you.”
We can’t really mince words around it: public opinion was that Galavis came off as a jerk on- and off-camera, and fans still aren’t over his behavior even years after his season aired.
Olivia Caridi learned a lot from being a Bachelor villain
On Season 20 of The Bachelor, Ben Higgins was looking for his future wife. And while he would go on to say some admittedly questionable things to his contestants, it was Olivia Caridi who captured the audience’s attention and soon became the season’s villain.
However, looking back, she explained in an interview with former Bachelor winner (and fellow villain) Courtney Robertson, that she had no idea this would become her role. Saying that she “obviously knew during filming that I was struggling and that I might have a funky edit,” she didn’t think the editors would turn her into a villain. “It’s not like I walked into the experience thinking there was a possibility I could be a villain,” Caridi said. “I was a bit naïve in that sense, thinking that everything would play out the way it happened.”
Still, Caridi walked away from her Bachelor experience learning quite a bit about herself, telling Robertson, “I can look at it with a journalistic eye and say that I’m now better educated about our culture and how reality television has changed society.”
Corinne Olympios was at least entertaining during her Bachelor tenure
Season 21 of The Bachelor was controversial for a lot of reasons. First of all, Nick Viall was the titular bachelor, and he wasn’t exactly the most beloved guy to hold that title. But apart from all the Viall drama, there was contestant Corinne Olympios, who became instantly iconic within The Bachelor realm when she made more than one interesting facial expression, explained that she still had a nanny back home (she was 24, at the time of filming), and simply acted “entitled” during her first Bachelor outing, at least in The Washington Post‘s words.
Whether or not the audience or the other contestants grew sick of her may be up for debate, considering Olympios then went on to appear on the franchise’s spin-off, Bachelor In Paradise — where she was infamously, once again, at the center of drama. In fact, production on the show shut down because of reported misconduct during a hot tub incident involving Olympios and castmate DeMario Jackson, according to Entertainment Tonight. The fallout was a lot for the reality star to handle, who told the media outlet a year later, “People don’t realize what I actually went through going through something like that. It’s heartbreaking.”
No matter how you feel about this Bachelor villain, there’s no denying Olympios was a complicated, yet entertaining, force to be reckoned with during her time in Bachelor Nation.
Bachelor villain Jed Wyatt was more interested in his career than finding love
It’s no secret that Hannah Brown had quite the season when she was The Bachelorette for the show’s 15th season. Brown was fearless in her pursuit of love, but when she ended up with Jed Wyatt — and not, say Tyler Cameron or future Bachelor Peter Weber — fans were confused. However, the audience grew concerned when it came to light that Wyatt had a girlfriend back home … whom he didn’t exactly break up with before going on the show. Yikes.
The now-ex in question, Haley Stevens, opened up to People about what went down before Wyatt appeared on The Bachelorette, and it was admittedly sketchy. While he was upfront about applying to compete on the series from the start, she said, “The hardest part is that he ghosted me.” Perhaps the worst part of it, though, was Wyatt’s alleged intentions for going on the show in the first place. “He said, ‘It’s probably not going to happen, but it’s a huge opportunity. I’m only doing this for my music,” Stevens claimed. “He only did it for his career.”
Luke Parker proved Hannah Brown had to deal with a lot on The Bachelorette
Sadly, Jedd Wyatt wasn’t the only rotten egg Hannah Brown had to deal with during her stint on The Bachelorette. As BuzzFeed reported, viewers were not having it when competitor Luke Parker told Brown that he would’t feel comfortable if she had sex with any of the other contestants during Fantasy Suite week, even going so far as to claim she wouldn’t be a good Christian if she did. Oof.
While appearing to slut-shame anyone is clearly problematic, Brown fortunately had no problem telling him off. Standing up for herself, Brown told Parker, “You’re questioning me, and you’re judging me, and you feel like you have the right to, and you don’t at this point … I have had sex, and Jesus still loves me.” Adding that she had already engaged in sexual relations with another contestant, she added, “Obviously with how you feel, me f**king in a windmill, you probably wanna leave.”
In the end, Parker faced backlash for his comments, while Brown was praised for how she dealt with the situation, leading ABC executive Rob Mills to tell Variety, “I think it sends a message that we are up to date with the times. Women need to feel that they are as equal to have sex or not have sex, and not be ashamed of talking about it.”
The Bachelor's Tammy Ly went from fan-favorite to villain
Peter Weber, the star of Season 24 of The Bachelor, admittedly made some “dumb decisions” during his time as the titular bachelor. He seemingly rewarded dramatic behavior and opted to forgo several cocktail parties where he would have gotten to spend more time getting to know the women. For these reasons — and, to be fair, many other factors — PopSugar called his season a “disappointing mess.” But as frustrating some viewers may have found Weber to watch, one particular contestant was busy making her own negative headlines: Tammy Ly.
At first, Ly seemed like a total fan-favorite. Per Refinery29, she made hilarious facial expressions, didn’t insert herself into drama, and seemed like an all-around nice person. But all that changed when she started to attack fellow contestant, Kelsey Weir. Accusing Weir of drinking in excess, Ly at one point told her to “wither away in bottles of wine,” and stirred up drama when she told Weber about Weir’s alleged “mental breakdown” (via People). Following another feud with contestant Mykenna Dorn, Weber sent Ly home packing.
Amid subsequent backlash from Bachelor Nation fans, Ly took to Instagram, writing in part, “My goal was to never hurt anyone. I am a strong woman and I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in … I’m not a bully and I’m sorry if I came across that way.”
Arie Luyendyk made some questionable decisions on The Bachelor
Throughout Season 22 of The Bachelor, fans seemed to warm up to the lead, Arie Luyendyk. At first, it seemed odd that ABC had brought back the former contestant from Season 8 of The Bachelorette, but it soon became clear that Luyendyk was on the show for the right reasons. … Then he did the unthinkable.
Months after proposing to contestant Becca Kufrin, Luyendyk felt that he’d made the wrong choice and brought the cameras along as he broke up with her, per Variety. It was very uncomfortable to watch, especially since Luyendyk refused to leave after breaking Kufrin’s heart — but was even more awkward when Luyendyk decided to propose to another contestant, Lauren Burnham, on live television … just after the Kufrin breakup had aired.
Naturally, fans quickly turned against the flip-flopping bachelor, who faced severe backlash in the Twittersphere. There were even anti-Luyendyk fan-financed billboards that cropped up in Kufrin’s home state of Minnesota. Speaking out on the matter, host Chris Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter, “Even I say, he [Arie] was a knucklehead. He made some really dumb decisions. He didn’t perform as perfectly as he probably would’ve liked.”
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