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Ahead of Thursday’s premiere of The Golden Bachelor, star Gerry Turner gathered with friends and Bachelor Nation fans alike on for an exclusive soirée in celebration of his history-making debut in the ABC franchise.
At the Tuesday night event, held at the Nicholas Braun-owned bar Jac’s On Bond in New York City’s NoHo, Turner seemed to have grown accustomed to his newfound fame swiftly, snapping selfies with Instagram-popular influencers Idiosyncratic Fashionistas and rubbing elbows with Love is Blind alum Nancy Rodriguez.
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“I don’t want to look back and feel like I wasted any time not enjoying something. So I want to enjoy every minute,” Turner told The Hollywood Reporter. “These events and everything else that gets thrown my way, I want to drink it in. I love it. I want to feel like I’m a part of it. But I also know it’s going to be short-lived.”
Though the 72-year-old retired restauranteur is relishing his self-described “15 minutes of fame,” he joined the Bachelor franchise with genuine hopes of finding love. His wife of 43 years, Toni, died from a bacterial infection in 2017. Three years later, while struggling to get back into the dating field, Turner decided to apply to become the first senior Bachelor.
“I didn’t have a good circle of friends. I wasn’t dating anyone,” he recalled. “I saw the ad on The Bachelor advertising for [it]. I answered the ad, then, through COVID, things went away. It went silent.” It wasn’t until February of this year that Turner received the call back, confirming that he’d get a second chance at love.
As someone who married his high school sweetheart and had not been romantically involved with anyone else, Turner was being ushered into the ultimate crash course in dating. He followed the advice from his daughters Jenny and Angie, who guided him through courting the 22 women.
“One of the pieces of advice my daughters gave me was to be genuine and be true to myself. So as I went through, whether it was the rose ceremonies, the dates, or just the one-on-one conversation, I really tried hard to just be myself,” he said. “In doing that, my emotions were very close to the surface a lot of the time. I’m not really going to apologize for it because I feel like I was sincere and honest. What people see is what I am.”
Throughout the show, Turner was surprised to learn that he was better at compartmentalizing his feelings for each of the women than he thought. “When I talked to one woman one day or one afternoon, I’d learn about her, and then I’d set that bit of information aside and start a whole new box for the next woman so that I’d learn more about that person without thinking about the previous one,” he explained.
Another thing he learned about himself? “That I’m pretty quick to tears,” he admitted.
Inside the event, the bar was given a Bachelor Nation makeover that felt like stepping into the villa from the show.
Guests were greeted with two themed cocktails, The Ger-Bear (vodka cranberry with a rose-shaped ice cube) and The Golden Hour (a classic margarita with gold flecks), as well as champagne. Attendees were also offered an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, which included shrimp and avocado lettuce wraps, artichoke tarts, and jamón serrano bikinis. The stairs to the bar’s lower level were lined with golden petals, leading guests to a cozier spot featuring a photographer taking polaroids, charcuterie and a second bar.
The Golden Bachelor premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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