Bachelor Nation might have had its most dramatic year yet in 2023.
The year kicked off with Zach Shallcross’ Bachelor stint. The season was full of drama, thanks in part to his finale confrontation with Gabi Elnicki over their fantasy suite date.
“It’s honestly worse watching it back,” Gabi said during the live finale, reliving their breakup and calling it “violating” that Zach had revealed to the “entire nation” that they had sex. After their onscreen split, Zach proposed to Kaity Biggar, to whom he’s still engaged.
Zach and Kaity weren’t the only Bachelor Nation success story of the year. Charity Lawson became the Bachelorette in June, and when her season came to an end in August, she was engaged to Dotun Olubeko. The couple stayed strong while Charity competed on Dancing With the Stars, and they’re still together.
Come September, the first-ever Golden Bachelor season premiered with Gerry Turner at the helm. Bachelor Nation watched as he fell in love with three women — Theresa Nist, Faith Martin and Leslie Fhima — but ultimately proposed to Theresa. The couple has a Golden Wedding special set to air early next year.
Bachelor in Paradise season 9 finally premiered in September, with tons of former contestants hitting the beach. The finale premiered in December with three happy couples — Kylee Russell and Aven Jones, Eliza Isichei and Aaron Bryant and John Henry Spurlock and Kat Izzo — but they all announced their respective breakups days later.
Even when the cameras weren’t rolling, former leads and contestants were making jaw-dropping headlines. Keep scrolling for a full breakdown of the biggest Bachelor Nation moments of 2023:
Podcast Shakeups (January)
The year kicked off with Natasha Parker announcing that she would no longer be part of the “Click Bait” podcast — or the franchise at all. Not long after that, the Bachelor-produced podcast stopped releasing episodes altogether. Warner Bros. ended the show and subsequently moved host Joe Amabile to “Bachelor Happy Hour” with wife Serena Pitt, meaning Becca Kufrin and Michelle Young were out of a gig. Becca’s now-husband, Thomas Jacobs, later slammed the show online, but Joe told Us in July that the couples are still on good terms.
Gabi Confronts Zach (March)
Season 27 of The Bachelor may have started off slowly, but things really picked up when Zach had sex with Gabi — and then picked Kaity — after declaring earlier on that he wasn’t going to be intimate with anyone on the series.
Peter Weber and Kelley Flanagan Split for Good (May)
Peter, the season 24 Bachelor, and Kelley, one of his contestants, dated on and off for three years after he ended his engagement to winner Hannah Ann Sluss in 2020. The twosome called it quits for good in 2023, with the pilot finally confirming his single status in May. Kelley, for her part, has since started dating Ari Raptis.
Brandon Jones and Serene Russell Don’t See Eye to Eye on Their Split (May)
Brandon and Serene announced their “painful” breakup in May, splitting less than one year after he proposed during the Bachelor in Paradise season 8 finale.
“We are deeply hurting and can only ask that there be no hate,” the exes wrote in a joint social media statement. “The best path for us at this time is to try and move forward and heal from this as individuals.”
In October, Serene addressed the rumored infidelity surrounding their breakup. She claimed that a video surfaced that confirmed Brandon had cheated on her prior to their split. Brandon, meanwhile, took a stand against the “false” narrative but “took ownership” for his actions.
“She felt that I had cheated and wanted to make this news known,” he alleged in an Instagram Story statement. “For the record, in the early days of our official breakup, I shared one dance with a woman … nothing else, just a single dance before leaving with my friends.”
Kaitlyn Bristowe and Jason Tartick Call Off Their Engagement (August)
In perhaps the most jaw-dropping Bachelor Nation breakup of the year, Kaitlyn and Jason announced their “heartbreaking” split after four years together with a joint Instagram statement in August.
“I think people assume if people break up, something bad happened. And I think that’s the hardest part of this whole breakup — nothing bad happened,” Kaitlyn shared during an August episode of her “Off the Vine” podcast. “We have both not made each other a priority. And this is what happens.”
The pair have no bad blood — the exes reunited for the first time at Chris Harrison and Lauren Zima’s wedding in November — but Jason has since admitted to crying more over the breakup than anything in his life.
“Kaitlyn meant so much to me and still currently does,” he shared on Chris’ “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever” in December.
Charity and Dotun Get Engaged (August)
The season 20 couple are still going strong after Dotun popped the question during the August finale, making Charity the first Bachelorette since Rachel Lindsay on season 13 in 2017 to still be with her final rose winner.
Gabby Windey Finds Love With Robby Hoffman (August)
During an appearance on The View, the season 19 co-Bachelorette revealed she is in a relationship with the female comedian. The announcement came less than one year after she ended her engagement to winner Erich Schwer in November 2022.
“The best thing [about our relationship] is that we’re both girls. I mean, I feel like we’re best friends and we can talk for hours,” Gabby later gushed to Us. “We have a lot of the same views. We have similar experiences. So, it really feels like an ideal relationship where you’re friends first, but also with a connection and an attraction. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Josh Seiter Is Alive After Death Hoax (August)
Josh — who appeared on Kaitlyn’s Bachelorette season in 2015 — made headlines in August when a since-deleted Instagram statement falsely announced his death. The following day, Josh revealed that he was still “alive and well” in a separate Instagram video.
“My account was hacked for the last 24 hours. I had been trying desperately to get into it,” Josh said. “Somebody was playing a cruel joke and mocking my mental illness and the struggles I’ve gone through with depression and suicide attempts. I am sorry for the pain they caused when they made that post.”
Josh’s ex Monica Beverly Hillz (real name Monica Dejesus-Anaya) alleged to Entertainment Weekly that “there’s no way in hell” his account was hacked. Josh subsequently denied Monica’s claims. (Reality TV superfans may also remember Monica from her season 5 turn on RuPaul’s Drag Race.)
Weeks later, Josh announced that he had checked himself into a mental health facility after receiving “hundreds of hateful messages” regarding the death hoax.
Clayton Echard Is Not Going to Be a Father (September)
Former Bachelor Clayton made headlines in September after news broke that an unnamed woman filed court documents one month prior alleging that she was pregnant with his twins. In the docs, filed on August 1, the woman claimed she had “engaged in sexual activity” with Echard in May and hadn’t “hadn’t been with anyone since March of 2022.”
In a response to the initial filing, Clayton claimed that the case was “groundless and lacking in merit.” He also alleged in a statement to Us Weekly that he “did not have sexual intercourse” with the woman. He subsequently agreed to take a paternity test.
In an October Instagram video, Clayton announced to Bachelor Nation that he is not the father of the twins. “I got the good news today,” he said. “The test results came back early, and they said little to no fetal DNA present. Let’s go, baby!”
The woman subsequently claimed in a statement to Us that Clayton was “lying” about the results.
Danielle Maltby and Michael Allio’s Breakup Turns Messy (September)
After weeks of speculation, Michael confirmed his and Danielle’s unplanned breakup during an episode of Jason’s “Trading Secrets” podcast in September.
“We’re not together anymore,” he said at the time. “We both threw a lot into this relationship, and it’s really awful when it doesn’t work out.”
Danielle spoke out about the split days later, revealing it was “not a mutual decision” in an Instagram Story. Danielle further discussed the breakup on “The WoMed” podcast, revealing that she was “blindsided” when Michael broke up with her “the day after” they froze her eggs.
Michael, for his part, claimed that he had previously expressed that he did not want to have more kids. (Michael shares 7-year-old son James with his late wife, Laura.)
Gerry Says ‘I Love You’ 3 Times (November)
The first-ever senior Bachelor may have been older, but he wasn’t much wiser than the younger Bachelors before him. While he is now happily engaged to winner Theresa, Gerry had to face the music when he said “I love you” to all three of his finalists: Theresa, Leslie and Faith. Runner-up Leslie subsequently put him on blast during After the Final Rose and in interviews that followed, claiming that Gerry promised her she was The One during their overnight date.
Brayden Bowers Debuts Surprise Christina Mandrell Relationship (December)
Brayden from Charity’s season revealed that he is dating Christina from Zach’s season during the Bachelor in Paradise season 9 finale in December. After the finale aired, Christina gushed over her “truly special” relationship with Brayden.
“In each other, we have a space where being unapologetically ourselves is not just accepted but celebrated!” she captioned an Instagram post. “Something I never knew I was missing until I did.”
All 3 ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Season 9 Couples Implode … (December)
Bachelor in Paradise season 9 ended with three seemingly happy couples. While Kylee and Aven left the beach in a relationship, they — much to Kylee’s chagrin — did not get engaged. After the BiP finale aired, Aven posted a photo announcing that he and Kylee were still together. One day later, however, Kylee announced on social media that she and Aven broke up after their relationship “dissolved due to multiple infidelities.” Aven, for his part, apologized to Kylee in his own statement, noting that he’s in an “extremely low place.”
Aaron proposed to Eliza during the BiP season 9 finale. The duo stayed silent about the status of their relationship after the finale aired. Days later, Aaron announced that he and Eliza had called off their engagement with an “amicable split.” Eliza has yet to address the breakup.
Lastly, John Henry and Kat left the beach engaged. On BiP finale night, she played coy about the status of their relationship, sharing photos of herself and John Henry. Days later, however, they released a joint statement announcing they had called off their engagement due to their “career goals not aligning.”
… While Former Leads Find The One Off Screen (All Year Long)
Several former Bachelor and Bachelorette leads found their happily-ever-after off screen in 2023. Season 14 Bachelorette Becca married Thomas and welcomed their first son, while season 16 co-Bachelorette Clare Crawley married Ryan Dawkins. The couple are expecting their first child via surrogate. In May, season 10 Bachelorette Andi Dorfman married Blaine Hart in Italy. Tayshia Adams, who took over for Clare on season 16, started dating Summer House alum Luke Gulbranson, while season 15 Bachelorette Hannah Brown got engaged to longtime love Adam Woolard. Season 21 Bachelor Nick Viall is going to be a dad in the new wear when fiancée Natalie Joy gives birth to their daughter, while season 16 Bachelor Ben Flajnik got married in November (and opted not to announce his bride’s name). Season 23 Bachelor Colton Underwood and former host Chris Harrison rounded out the year of Bachelor Nation weddings when they exchanged vows with Jordan C. Brown and Lauren Zima, respectively.