Who Is Joan Vassos? 5 Things to Know About the 1st Golden Bachelorette

Who Is Joan Vassos 5 Things to Know About the 1st Golden Bachelorette 071
Joan Vassos. Disney/James Clark
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The Golden Bachelor’s Gerry Turner is passing the torch — or rose — to Joan Vassos as the first Golden Bachelorette.

News broke in May that Joan was crowned as the leading lady of the ABC spinoff series. The Golden Bachelorette will premiere on Wednesdays in fall 2024.

“The secret is out!” Joan wrote via her Instagram Story at the time. “I’m honored to be #TheGoldenBachelorette.”

Bachelor Nation first met Joan when she vied for the affections of Gerry during The Golden Bachelor, which aired in fall 2023. Joan ultimately self-eliminated to support her daughter, who had recently given birth.

Gerry, for his part, ended his season engaged to Theresa Nist, whom he wed in a January televised ceremony. The pair announced their split during an interview with Good Morning America three months later. (Us Weekly broke the news that Gerry filed for divorce the same day the GMA interview aired.)

Scroll down to learn more about the first Golden Bachelorette:

Who Is Joan Vassos 5 Things to Know About the 1st Golden Bachelorette 070
Disney/John Fleenor

How Many Kids Does Joan Have?

Joan is a proud mother of four: Nicholas, Erica, Luke and Allison. During her brief stint on The Golden Bachelor, she opened up about how much her kids and grandkids mean to her — and ultimately chose them over pursuing a connection with Gerry.

“My daughter just had a baby and it wasn’t a normal, you know, everyday delivery, at all. Things go wrong. And even if everything went right, you need your mom,” Joan said in a confessional. “My family will always be first. Once you become a mom, you’re always a mom even when your kids are older. Nothing is more important.”

Bachelor Nation Couples Who Are Still Going Strong

Was Joan Previously Married?

Joan was married to John for 32 years. He died in January 2021 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Three years later, Joan reflected on the anniversary of his death via an emotional Instagram post.

“Some days it seems like it just happened and I can't catch my breath, still feeling the shock of it. Other days it feels like he's been gone a lifetime, those days are worse because I'm afraid the memories are fading,” Joan wrote. “I think that's what scares me the most. I always knew that the hole he left in the universe when he passed away could never be filled, but I didn't realize that maybe people might just stop noticing it was there.”

She continued, “He was the husband that always made me feel safe and cherished. He was the parent that was always the fun one because that's all he knew how to do … lucky kids because fun in his book was generally epic. I could go on for hours, you all know that though. Honestly, I think that's how he would want to be remembered … by not forgetting him. Please keep telling the stories, don't worry, they don't make me sad … let's be honest, most of them are funny! As the Greeks say, ‘May his memory be eternal.’”

What Is Joan’s Job?

Joan works in Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at a school in Bethesda, Maryland, per her LinkedIn.

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Is Joan Friends With Her Fellow 'Golden Bachelor' Contestants?

Joan has shared several snaps on social media alongside her fellow The Golden Bachelor contestants. In April, Joan and many of the women from the series made an appearance on Celebrity Family Feud.

“Never imagined we’d be on Celebrity Family Feud but yesterday we got to meet Steve Harvey and play to win funding for a charity of our choosing,” she wrote via Instagram. “So thankful to have had this amazing opportunity with my Golden Bachelor ladies!”

The Golden Bachelor’s Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist Divorce: All the Split Theories Explained

What Was Joan’s Reaction to Gerry and Theresa’s Divorce?

Joan addressed Gerry and Theresa’s divorce during an interview with CNN after it was announced that she was cast as the Golden Bachelorette.

“I was surprised. I loved watching their journey. I saw them fall in love,” Joan said. “I believed, just like they did, that they were the perfect couple. And I applaud that they jumped into this process with both feet and they were ready to find love. And they knew what true love was, they both had it in their previous lives.”

She continued, “So I applaud them for doing that. And I also applaud them that when they discovered it wasn’t perfect, that they called it quits, and it’s not the end of the world. And we have to let them live their journey and follow their hearts and it wasn’t right for them, so they split up.”