14 Things You Never Knew About The Bachelor Contestants' Contractual Obligations

Being the star of ABC's The Bachelor or The Bachelorette might seem like a dream come true. You get to meet dozens of attractive suitors, travel the world, and gain instant fame - and potentially even meet the love of your life.

But what happens off-screen when the cameras stop rolling? What do Bachelor winners have to do? Every contestant on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette - not to mention spin-off shows like Bachelor in Paradise or Bachelor Pad - signs a contract full of fine print detailing what they can and can't do on the show and beyond. For every long-running relationship the show produces, and every claim that "This process really works," there are a ton of backstage machinations.

As appealing as the fantasy might seem on television, the only way to get onto a Bachelor-related show is to essentially sell your soul to ABC. The Bachelor winners' contracts, and the contractual obligations of contestants, demonstrate just how far you have to go to get a shot at the final rose.

Photo: ABC

  • Producers Get A Say In Who Stays

    Producers Get A Say In Who Stays
    Photo: ABC

    If you've ever watched a season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette and wondered how the lead could possibly keep the crazy psychotic villian for yet another episode, the answer is they might not have wanted to.

    The shows' contracts state that the lead agrees "to follow all of Producer’s rules, directions and instructions in all matters, including Participant selection." Ultimately, if the producers wanted to dictate who each and every rose goes to, it's within their rights.

    That being said, it's in the producers' best interests to have a happy and cooperative lead. A star who isn't invested could sabotage the season. The Bachelor or Bachelorette also has the option to quit the entire season at any point if they so choose. So while producers likely have a hand in keeping a ratings darling around a bit longer, the lead still ultimately holds the power.

  • There Are Hidden Cameras And Microphones

    There Are Hidden Cameras And Microphones
    Photo: ABC

    As specifically stipulated in the Bachelor/Bachelorette's contracts, the show's producers have the right to film the lead 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also have the right to record stars secretly with hidden cameras and microphones.

    Rest assured, though, the contract does specify that these hidden cameras "shall not be positioned to intentionally capture images of you urinating or defecating in the bathroom."

  • It Has To Look Like A Tight Race

    It Has To Look Like A Tight Race
    Photo: ABC

    Many Bachelors and Bachelorettes have admitted later that they knew who their final pick was going to be much earlier than the finale. But of course, that's not as entertaining as a neck-and-neck competition for one person's heart.

    The lead is contractually obligated to adhere to the format of the show, which includes weekly eliminations of a certain number of contestants. While they might be allowed to make a random or out-of-order cut here and there, the show is slated for a certain number of episodes, and therefore a certain timeline.

    Trista Sutter, the first Bachelorette, later lamented that she didn't tell her now-husband, Ryan Sutter, how she felt about him on the show. She didn't share her feelings at the time because she was worried about the money on the line if she broke her contract with ABC. The leads can't just express their love for a contestant willy-nilly.

  • Contestants Are Supposed To Keep It Confidential

    Contestants Are Supposed To Keep It Confidential
    Photo: ABC

    The Bachelor/Bachelorette and all contestants on the show sign contracts with an extensive section on confidentiality. They are not allowed to discuss what happened on the show until it's finished airing, even to family members. If they breach this part of the contract, ABC is within its bounds to seek legal recourse or monetary compensation. If you're the star, you can be on the hook for up to $5 million. Yikes

    Of course, secrets come out. Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe inadvertently spoiled the ending of her own season by Snapchatting the winner, Shawn Booth, in bed with her. ABC didn't comment on the incident, even though Bristowe owned up to the mistake. She wasn't sued by the network.

  • The Winner Gets To Keep The Ring, But Only If They're Together For Two Years

    The Winner Gets To Keep The Ring, But Only If They're Together For Two Years
    Photo: ABC

    Every season, jeweler Neil Lane swings by in the penultimate episode to show rings to the Bachelor or remaining two Bachelorette contestants. These rings cost a pretty penny (the ring Jef Holms picked to propose to Emily Maynard cost an estimated $150,000) but the huge advertisement for Neil Lane is worth the cost. 

    Contestants only need to stay together for two consecutive years, and the ring is theirs to keep - no marriage required. If they break up before this time period is up, they're contractually obligated to return the ring. This system has led to fan accusations of winning couples staying together just to keep the ring, but the numbers don't make a strong case. After a combined 33 seasons, only a few couples have made it past two years.

  • The Stars Don't Choose The Dates

    The Stars Don't Choose The Dates
    Photo: ABC

    Being scared of heights is a luxury the Bachelor/Bachelorette doesn't have. The dates they take contestants on cover everything from the weird (Andi's miming date) to the heart-pounding (Ben's date scaling the Golden Gate Bridge). And while the lead always puts on a show of having personally crafted the date for this particular contestant, that's not quite the case.

    Their contracts specify that they are required to participate in any and all dates, despite the involvement of potentially dangerous physical activity, such as skydiving and parasailing.