The Bachelor franchise and its various spinoffs dominate both prime time television ratings and water cooler conversations. Nothing short of a cultural phenomena, the conceptually seedy show that seeks to pair a “bachelor” with a romantic interest keeps people incredibly entertained. In the category of reality T.V. The Bachelor is king.
However, viewers constantly speculate about just how real the show is. Well, contestants are sharing their behind-the-scenes stories, diving into the all-important contract that each participant must sign before stepping on set. Here are the most insane contractual clauses that show how crazy things can get in “reality.”
1. No access to internet, T.V. or phones: Every contestant must be willing to completely cut themselves off from the rest of the world. When you’re on the show, your life consists only of what goes on in the infamous mansion.
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2. Check the politics at the door: No Bachelor contestant is permitted to discuss politics on camera. They must stay away from controversial political topics such as immigration and abortion — even feminism. Specifically the discussion of “misogyny,” is frowned upon.
3. Prepare to sell your soul to the editors: In the contracts, editors and producers reserve the right to twist and manipulate anything you say and do for their own purposes. Anything you say can and will be held against you.
4. The ring isn’t yours: One major perk of the series is that big ole diamond you receive on ABC’s dime if you make it to the engagement portion of the program. However, if you break up within two years, they get it back.
5. Say goodbye to personal autonomy: The contract for The Bachelor stands for a full year after the run of the season. This means producers have a say in your career choices for a full 365 days beyond your bachelor run.
6. Can’t buy me love: Even when they are expected to give up so much and jump through various hoops, the contestants do not get paid on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Of course, the stars make a pretty profit.
7. Dates are required: No matter how random and weird the dates may be, contestants are contractually obligated to participate in the planned events. From sky diving to rollerblading, you have to be ready for anything.
8. Only have eyes for the star: The contract strictly prohibits contestants from getting romantically involved with producers. Even in real life, having someone on the back burner is generally frowned upon regardless of contractual requirements
9. Your wardrobe must be limited: Even though contestants are instructed to pack for all types of weather and varying degrees of formality, they are limited to only two suitcases each. Truly vexing based on the number of wardrobe changes they have.
10. Giving up your right to trial: In the contract, contestants must make a legally binding promise not to sue the producers of the show. All your woes will have to be settled without a judge. This seems suspicious, but anything for love.
11. You are putting your privacy at risk: Of course, going on national television requires you to put yourself out in the open, but producers have you sign away your privacy in a different way. They can distribute your private information to third parties.
12. Only first-timers are allowed to participate: Part of the eligibility requirements state that people who have already starred on a reality television show will be disqualified. This is about true love, not chasing fame, of course. Not at all.
13. Producers can and will provoke you: It’s widely accepted that in addition to editing you in whatever way they see fit, they can add drama for entertainment purposes. One of their tricks is adding alcohol into a situation to get people talking (fighting).
14. The cameras are always rolling: Every single hour of the day, you will have a camera watching your every move. The only reprieve from the all-knowing lens is when you’re using the restroom. Nothing says romance like a camera in your face.
15. Consult with your shrink: To make sure you’re fit to compete on the show, contestants undergo a rigorous psychological examination before they begin filming. If you’re an avid watcher, this may come as a surprise considering the craziness that takes place.
16. Hopefully you paid attention in gym: Ladies and gentlemen alike have to pass the physical fitness test to get on camera. This also includes testing for various STDs. You really are expected to kiss your privacy goodbye.
17. There are no maids in the mansion: Unlike a luxury hotel stay, the people who stay in the house are fully responsible for their own cooking and cleaning. Laundry, vacuuming, and dishes are all a part of the daily agenda for mansion-dwellers.
18. No professional glam team: The ladies of The Bachelor always look expertly made up from their pristine outfits to every hair on their head being in place. Amazingly, they do their own hair and make up. Just simple, everyday looks like this one.
19. The star must build tension: Even if the bachelor or bachelorette of the season knows who they really like on day one, they are mandated to make it appear like they could choose anyone. It keeps the viewers coming back for more!
20. Confidentiality is key: The men and women of the series are beholden to an intense pact of secrecy. Until the finale premieres, couples can’t even appear in public together. This is so the surprise (and the ratings) aren’t spoiled about who gets the rose.
The secrets of the show don’t end with the contract, either. The couples are basically strangers: What seems like two to three months is only six weeks. Over the course of the entire show, the couple really only spends about 72 hours together.
2. People quit good jobs for their shot at love: JJ Lane, from Season 11 of The Bachelorette, said, “I didn’t know how hard it is to get a real job [afterward].” But if you make it far enough, you may get promotional money after.
3. Contestants are picked before the Bachelor/ette: When they are announced contestants are allowed to notify ABC and back out of the show. Seems like many women would have loved to go back and do that on Juan Pablo’s season, but “it’s okay.”
4. “The Bachelor” mansion is someone’s house: Twice a year, 59-year-old Marshall Haraden and his family move out of their home so ABC can transform the villa into the set and mansion that we see on T.V. They film inside the home for 42 days out of the year.
5. Limo order matters: Sean Lowe found this out while filming The Bachelorette. “Producers said to me, ‘You are going to be the first one out of the limo… everyone here thinks you are going to do well.’ They want you to get the show started off on the right foot.”
6. It’s not as magical as it looks: That sparkling driveway? It must be super expensive and made out of gold and diamonds, right? Nope. The camera crew hoses down the driveway throughout the night so that it looks that way during filming.
7 Romantic dates without food: Those pretty dinners might seem romantic, but contestants aren’t really supposed to eat them. They actually feed the pair while they are getting ready. Why? Who wants to hear someone chewing into their microphone instead of opening up and forming a connection.
8. All the booze you can drink: One contestant recalls, “It’s weird, but the mansion becomes your home so it’s kind of like a really jacked up, well-stocked sorority house. The pantry, fridge, freezer, etc. were all overflowing with food to accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions.”
9. There’s no gym at the mansion: But there is a large hill in the back of the house that many of the contestants run up and down for exercise. When traveling, the hotels have small facilities, but sessions must be scheduled through the producers.
10. Cameras never stop rolling: You are made fully aware of this when you enter the house. Even if you’re sleeping, you’re being filmed. The only time the cameras stop rolling is during the overnight “Fantasy Suite” dates.
11. Rose ceremonies are endless: They take hours to film and oftentimes run until the sun comes up. Sean Lowe stated, “In reality, there’s about three to five minutes in between each rose because all 15 cameras have to reposition.”
12. It’s crowded: When you have to get ready on a date you do it yourself in the bathrooms available in the mansion. On average, there are 25 contestants on night one. There are only four bathrooms in the entire mansion. Good luck getting some private time.
13. Producers get their own rose: It’s no surprise the producers keep certain people around, A.K.A. the villains of the season. In the end, they can’t force you to get engaged to someone you don’t want to, but they can leave extra room in the group selection for that certain someone who just stirs up the drama.
14. Producers forbid certain words: One of those “no-no words” is process. They do not like to refer to the show as a “process” that you have to go through to find love; rather, it’s your “journey” to find love. Process makes it sound less natural.
15. ABC loves a Bachelor wedding: If you let ABC air your wedding on a T.V. special, they’ll pay you upwards of six figures. They’ll also help you pay for your big day and make sure that everything is perfect for you.
We know what it takes to make quality television out of 25 bachelors in a mansion; but what if, for instance, you put four fist-pumpin’, muscle-bound guidos, four high-heeled, bickering guidettes, and enough alcohol to drown a small village into one New Jersey beach house? You get these juicy secrets…
1. Jersey Shore producers searched far and wide for the perfect cast and narrowed their options down to 12 candidates… the day before filming started. That’s right, the cast you’ve come to love were notified they’d be on the show right before cameras rolled.
2. Cameras were rolling almost 24/7, and to capture as much TV-ready footage as possible, producers barred the cast from watching TV, using cell phones, reading, or passing notes. They had to interact with each other non-stop to create maximum dramatic potential.
3. The shore house was “kind of like being in jail,” Snooki said. That’s because the casr couldn’t go anywhere on their own. “You can’t leave without a film crew,” she said. “If you want to leave, you have to tell them an hour before so they can get ready”
4. The only phone the crew had access to was, of course, the duck phone. Now an iconic piece of reality television history, the phone had humble beginnings: producers found it in a thrift store.
5. Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano — who’d just been released from Real World: Miami — was originally instructed to create a show called Guidos, which featured an all-male cast trying to “out-guido” one another. Luckily, she did not do this.
6. Salsano, left, drew on her own life for show inspiration: “I had the giant hair,” she said. “The car with the pinstripe and my name inscribed in the door, the Italian horn that hung from the rear-view mirror.” She knew how entertaining the guido lifestyle was to watch.
7. In the mix for a spot on the show was a guy literally named Joey Fist Pumps. “He was one of those people that would fist pump on a dance floor and throw down in a dance circle of six dudes,” the casting director said. “He had arms that were tremendous.” Because he was a union contractor, he couldn’t do the show.
8. Snooki auditioned for a show called Guidos and Guidettes. “I went there drunk,” she said, “because it was at a bar.” There, she said exactly what producers needed to hear: “When I get drunk, I get bad.” She allegedly did cartwheels and flips.
9. Producers knew Snooki was perfect for the show when, after she handed over some release forms, they found it covered with orange fingerprints: her bronzer was that thick. She stood out, and the casting director liked that.
10. In the first season, the cast and crew worked for just a few hundred dollars per episode. By season two, however, their paychecks grew to $10,000 per episode, and in the final seasons, they were each making $100,000 per episode. They could live like kings and queens.
11. Hordes of fans collected outside the Shore house, hoping to overhear a bicker session or catch a whiff of bronzer. GTL-enthusiasts followed the crew to the gym and laundromat. Eventually, MTV hired security and installed a police barricade outside the house.
12. The crew smooshed often, so naturally, producers had to take some precautions to make sure the cast didn’t become an incubator for disease and then sue MTV: everyone on the show signed waivers acknowledging the network didn’t perform health screenings on those visiting the Smoosh Room.
13. Seaside Heights police arrested Ronnie in 2010, not for punching someone or partying too hard, but for an outstanding warrant due to unpaid parking tickets. He paid them eventually.
14. In 2012, Deena went out to the club by herself and got so drunk authorities had to pick her up off the street and toss her in a drunk tank. Eventually, she made it back to the Shore House.
15. In Italy, Snooki crashed into a traffic patrol car assigned to escort the reality TV star. Because the two Italian officers sustained minor injuries, authorities revoked Snooki’s international license.
16. In the later seasons, the people shopping in the Shore Store were show-obsessed fans. A production team set up outside the shop, checked IDs, handed out waivers, and let the Shore-heads shop. They had to behave like they didn’t know the show, though.
17. Salsano lived in the attic of the shore house, with a 14-camera feed and access to microphones. This way, she stayed involved with the show even when the rest of the crew broke for the day.
18. Mike was furious when he learned Snooki — who he’d recently hooked up with — had a boyfriend named Jionni. Seeing drama potential, Salsano convinced The Situation honesty was his best quality, and this encouraged him to tell Jionni the truth. Salsano was a master manipulator.
19. Salsano kept in contact with the cast’s parents throughout filming, especially Snooki’s dad, otherwise known as “Papa Snooks.” He called Salsano to make sure his daughter was doing okay after The Situation told Jionni she cheated on him.
Michael Falco / The New York Times
20. Some involved with the show alleged The Jersey Show was heavily scripted. One 19-year-old extra said the crew re-shot a fight between Paulie D and Vinny, making sure to capture every angle possible.
21. During season 1, Vinny wanted out of the Shore House and off the show. The laid-back cast member — who aspired to be a lawyer before joining the show — couldn’t handle invasive cameras and the constant attention.
22. Seaside Heights was the only town willing to host MTV and the crew for a TV show — and that paid off for the small town in the long run. Locals admitted the show’s popularity brought swaths of new tourists to the shore and boosted the economy!
23. The Situation made over $9 million within two years from TV appearances, but didn’t feel like paying taxes on that income. He says everybody loves him, but the IRS does not. He was sentenced to prison time, like a slew of other reality TV stars.
24. Abby Lee Miller (Dance Moms): This TV star wasn’t as successful at hiding the money she earned from the show as she was teaching young dancers. Eventually being found guilty of hiding $755,000, Miller was sentenced to 5 years in prison and $5 million in fines. Not a very good trade-off, is it?
25. Big Ang (Mob Wives): Angela Raiola was the niece of Salvatore Lombardi, a drug dealer in the Genovese crime family. She got her own show after becoming popular on Mob Wives, but was later convicted of taking part in a narcotics operation that distributed cocaine and marijuana to Brooklyn and Manhattan.
26. Mendeecees Harris (Love & Hip Hop: NY): This manager for aspiring rappers was first arrested for assaulting a teenage girl, and later for trafficking cocaine and heroin worth $2.5 million between 2005 and 2012.
27. Renee Alway (America’s Next Top Model): The pressure of the modeling world seemed to be too much for this young woman because in 2013 she was charged with drug possession, burglary, theft, and fraud. Still, things are looking up: she was recently released on parole.
28. Joshua Allen (So You Think You Can Dance): Allen won 1st place on SYTYCD in 2008, but was convicted of attacking his girlfriend in January 2013. Three months later, he struck again and now will serve five years of probation, and a year of domestic violence counseling.
29. Apollo Nida (Real Housewives of Atlanta): In 2014, this reality star was charged with a fraud and identity theft scheme that federal prosecutors say stole millions of dollars from at least 50 people over four years. Needless to say, his wife Phaedra Parks, ended their marriage.
30. Alexis Neiers (Pretty Wild): Alexis and her family starred in the show following the investigation of her burglarizing celebrities’ homes with her friends (aka The Bling Ring). The series ended after only 1 season when Alexis was found guilty.
31. Paris Hilton (The Simple Life & BFF): This hotel heiress and socialite hasn’t hurt anybody, but she should clearly stay away from her car before she does. Paris has been arrested for a DUI, speeding, and driving with a suspended license.
32. Duane “Dog” Chapman (Dog the Bounty Hunter): Dog, his son, and his associate captured an American fugitive in Mexico City, but instead of a “thank you” they received an arrest warrant because you can’t just hunt down criminals by yourself in Mexico…
33. Jenelle Evans (Teen Mom 2): The 26-year-old began raising her first baby on MTV at the age of 18. She has since been arrested 15 times, for driving without a license, heroin possession, and – most recently – pulling her gun in a fit of road rage.
34. Austin ‘Chumlee’ Russell (Pawn Stars): It seems that more was being bought and sold behind the scenes of this popular program. Turns out cast member Chumlee’s house was filled to the brim with guns, ammunition, weed, and meth!
35. Khloé Kardashian (Keeping Up With The Kardashians): Just after the Kardashians’ first reality show began filming, she was charged with a DUI. Luckily for Khloé, she got off with community service and only 3 hours in jail due to overcrowding. Keep it kool, Khlo.
36. Teresa Giudice & Joe Giudice (Real Housewives of NJ): In 2014, the real housewife and her real husband were sentenced to real prison for mail fraud, wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. That’s a lot of fraud.
37. Jason Wähler (The Hills): Jason Wähler basically became famous for being a rich kid, as well as Lauren Conrad’s boyfriend. He starred in MTV’s reality shows Laguna Beach and The Hills. Still, money and fame can’t buy happiness, and he has been arrested over 6 times for assault and alcohol-related charges.
38. Steven “Stevie J” Jordan (Love & HipHop Atlanta): Stevie J is a musician, songwriter, and music producer, who became a major TV personality. However, in 2014, he was arrested for owing $1 million in child support, and in 2018 again for driving with a suspended license.
39. Amber Portwood (16 and Pregnant): At 17, this mom gave birth to her daughter Leah. Sadly, she was found guilty of domestic violence against Leah’s father Gary, and for child endangerment due to possession of large amounts of weed and cocaine.
40. Adam Jasinski (Big Brother): Adam probably has a high tolerance for irritation, because he stuck it out in Big Brother 9 and won. Perhaps there was a special reason he kept his cool on the show because a year later, the DEA found 2,000 oxycodone pills in Jasinski’s home, a business venture funded with his Big Brother prize.
41. Keyshia Cole (The Way It Is and Family First): In 2014, Keyshia was arrested after she entered the condo of the man she was reportedly dating and assaulted another woman. The victim was punched and scratched in the face, and after sued Keyshia over the loss of use in her finger. Keyshia didn’t show up for court and lost the case.
42. Toby Willis (America’s Got Talent and The Willis Family): Toby Willis, his wife, and their 12 children started a family band. Their show was canceled during its 2nd season, however, when Willis was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting one his own daughters.