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He’s the man of the (golden) hour! As the newest lead in Bachelor Nation history, there’s a lot of interest in who Gerry picks on The Golden Bachelor and if he’s still together with his winner from Season 1.
The Golden Bachelor is a spin-off of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette featuring single men and women aged 65 and older. “Some of the casting interviews we got, they were just so touching,” ABC unscripted executive Rob Mill told Variety in 2020 about why the network wanted to create The Golden Bachelor. “It’s such a different way of doing The Bachelor because these people are just at a totally different place in their lives. There is an interesting thing about people who have hit the other end of the spectrum, who’ve lived their lives, they’ve raised their kids, some have been widowed or divorced and maybe some have never been in love. We thought that would be an interesting dynamic through the Bachelor prism.”
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Gerry Turner, a 71-year-old restaurant owner from Indiana, was announced as the Season 1 Golden Bachelor on Good Morning America in July 2023. “It’s never too late to fall in love again,” he said. Gerry is a father, grandfather, and widower. He married his wife and high school sweetheart, Toni, in 1974. They share two daughters, Angie and Jenny, and two granddaughters, Charlee and Payton. Gerry and Toni were married for 43 years until her death from an illness in 2017, six weeks after her retirement. “She got robbed,” Gerry told Good Morning America about Toni. “Every day that goes by, that’s the thought I have.”
When asked what Toni would think of him starring on The Golden Bachelor, Gerry told Good Morning America that he believed his late wife would be “rooting” for him. “I have her picture on a dresser in my closet,” he said. “Every morning I give her the nod, ‘So what do you think about this?’ For a while it was like I was having a hard time figuring out if she would be OK. But we always told each other, when one of us goes, we want the other one to be happy.” He continued, “She’s saying, ‘Yeah Gerry, do this.’”
In an interview with Glamour in September 2023, Gerry revealed that his first love from even before he married Toni contacted him after news he was the Golden Bachelor. “There has been one, yes. And actually someone that I had that early first love with, even before Toni. I have heard from one. It was more of a well-wisher than anything else, but it was kind of interesting that after all these years we hadn’t had much contact,” he said.
Gerry also told Variety in November 2023 that he was intimate with two women during his Fantasy Suite dates, which led to a breakdown seen in The Golden Bachelor trailer. “I’ve always tried to commit to myself to only try and say ‘I love you’ to one person for the rest of my life. I only wanted to be intimate with one person for the rest of my life. I failed at that,” he said. “That’s what I alluded to about being in the moment and getting all excited about the concept of being in love. I so regretted it, because I felt like I wasn’t true to myself at that moment. This is what I expected of myself and I failed. When you say that to someone, it can become very destructive.”
But back to Gerry’s winner on The Golden Bachelor. So who does Gerry pick on The Golden Bachelor Season 1 and is he still together with his winner? Read on for what we know about Gerry picks and ends up with on The Golden Bachelor.
1. Who does Gerry pick on The Golden Bachelor?
Who does Gerry pick on The Golden Bachelor? Gerry ended up with and got engaged to Theresa Nist, a 69-year-old financial services professional from Shrewsbury, New Jersey, in The Golden Bachelor Season 1 finale, according to Reality Steve. Gerry gave his final rose and proposed to Theresa at the Final Rose Ceremony after rejecting his runner-up, Leslie Fhima, a 64-year-old fitness instructor from Minneapolis, Minnesota. His third place finalist, Faith Martin, a 60-year-old high school teacher from Benton City, Washington, was eliminated after Hometown Dates.
For Gerry’s engagement, it’s almost certain the ring was designed by Neil Lane, a celebrity jeweler, who has created engagement rings for The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise since 2008. In a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, former host Chris Harrison revealed that Bachelor Nation couples have to stay together for a certain amount of time, otherwise they have to return the free engagement ring to Neil Lane. “There’s some rule, after a certain number of years, you get to keep it anyway,” he said. “But after months… it goes back.”
Before who Gerry picked on The Golden Bachelor was confirmed by Reality Steve, fans speculated that Gerry chose Leslie based on a TikTok video Leslie posted in September 2023 of her and her granddaughter, Kiki, dancing, which fans believed Gerry recorded. “Whoever is filming starts to laugh and it weirdly sounds like Gerry’s laugh,” a Reddit user wrote. “I think he ends up with Leslie just from that video… that’s my guess!” Another commented on Leslie’s Instagram, “Ummm did I hear a tiny Gerry laugh from behind the camera?”
Fans also suspected that Gerry chose Leslie based on a video interview Gerry did with Us Weekly, which showed a woman in a mirror behind Gerry that looked like Leslie. “From the hair color, I think it’s Leslie,” a user commented on a video of TikTok account @ShesAllBach’s repost of the video.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada in August 2023, Gerry explained how Fantasy Suites—which often happen with leads’ two or three finalists—were different on his season of The Golden Bachelor. “I just think that a Fantasy Suite for someone of my age may look quite different,” he said. “The activities could be quite different than for someone in their 20s and 30s.”
Gerry also told Entertainment Tonight that Fantasy suites “really don’t” make him nervous. “They make my daughters a lot more nervous than me,” he said, revealing that his daughters told him to not be physical with any of his contestants. “That they said absolutely none of that. They said don’t do it,” Gerry said, adding that he’d “been ignoring that part of the advice.”
Gerry also told BachelorNation.com in September 2023 about why he was both “nervous” and “excited” for his Fantasy Suites to air. “I am both nervous and excited about the Fantasy Suites, because the general assumption about Fantasy Suites is that it leads to or is the stage for a physical intimacy. And the reality was not that way at all for me,” he said.
He continued, “The Fantasy Suites that I had were the perfect opportunity for the connection to develop on a more emotional and intellectual level. It was an exchange of ideas and beliefs and values, and all of that, and those nights were genuinely watershed moments for me.”
He also confirmed that his Fantasy Suites were more for fostering an “emotional” connection with his contestants than a physical one. He said, “I think that’s the perfect way of putting it. In your 20s and 30s, you might have a different priority about the Fantasy Suites, whereas in your 70s, it’s more about an emotional connection.”
2. Who is Theresa from The Golden Bachelor?
Who is Theresa from The Golden Bachelor? Theresa Nist is a 70-year-old Financial Services Professional from Shrewsbury, New Jersey. She was one of Gerry’s two finalists on The Golden Bachelor Season 1.
Read Theresa’s biography for The Golden Bachelor Season 1 ahead:
“Theresa is a gorgeous catch with a huge heart. She is very close with her children and grandchildren, and loves nothing more than seeing them all thrive. Theresa describes herself as optimistic, encouraging, and ready to love again after loss. She hopes to meet a partner who will be her best friend in this next chapter of life and will appreciate all the little moments with her. When she’s not spending time with her family, Theresa enjoys playing board games, gardening, reading romance novels, and hula hooping. Theresa is here for the real deal, and fingers crossed it’s all fireworks when she meets the Golden Bachelor!
● Theresa loves to sing … alone in her car.
● Theresa taught herself all about the stock market
● Theresa loves ’70s rock, both soft and hard.”
3. Who is Leslie from The Golden Bachelor?
Who is Leslie from The Golden Bachelor? Leslie Fhima is a 64-year-old Fitness Instructor from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was one of Gerry’s two finalists on The Golden Bachelor Season 1.
Read Leslie’s biography for The Golden Bachelor Season 1 ahead:
“Leslie may best be known as a former professional figure skater, but this woman has way more going on than what meets the eye. Outside of her love for figure skating and dancing, Leslie is now a personal trainer and is passionate about helping others live their best lives. She has run 10 marathons and is looking for her running buddy for life. When she isn’t working at the gym, Leslie is an incredible mom to her three kids and “glama” to her three grandkids. She also loves spending time with her mini Aussiedoodle, Billie. Leslie is looking for a real man who will enhance her life, and she’s ready to put it all on the line to pursue love.
● Leslie absolutely hates mice.
● Leslie is a former aerobics champion.
● Lady Gaga & Post Malone are at the top of Leslie’s Best Concerts Ever list.”
4. Who’s in The Golden Bachelor cast?
Read on for a full list of contestants in The Golden Bachelor Season 1 cast below.
Anna Zalk, 61; Summit, New Jersey — Retired Nutritionist
April Kirkwood, 65; Port St. Lucie, Florida — Therapist
Christina Kempton, 74; Sierra Madre, California — Retired Purchasing Manager
Edith Aguirre, 60; Downey, California — Retired Realtor
Faith Martin, 61; Benton City, Washington — High School Teacher
Jeanie Howard, 65; Estill Springs, Tennessee — Retired Project Manager
Joan Vassos, 60; Rockville, Maryland — Private School Administrator
Kathy Swarts, 70; Austin, Texas — Retired Education Consultant
Leslie Fhima, 64; Golden Valley, Minnesota — Fitness Instructor
Mara Trice, 60; Teaneck, New Jersey — Health & Wellness Director
Marina Perera, 60; Los Angeles, California — Educator
Nancy Hulkower, 60; Alexandria, Virginia — Retired Interior Designer
Natascha Hardee, 60; New York City, New York — Pro-Aging coach & Midlife Speaker
Pamela Burns, 75; Aurora, Illinois — Retired Salon Owner
Patty James, 70; Raleigh, North Carolina — Retired Real Estate Professional
Peggy Dercole, 69; East Haven, Connecticut — Dental Hygenist
Renee Halverson-Wright, 67; Middleton, Wisconsin — Author
Sandra Mason, 75; Doraville, Georgia — Retired Executive Assistant
Susan Noles, 66; Aston, Pennsylvania — Wedding Officiant
Sylvia Robledo, 64; Los Angeles, California — Public Affairs Consultant
Theresa Nist, 70; Shrewsbury, New Jersey — Financial Services Professional
5. Who’s The Golden Bachelor host?
Who is The Golden Bachelor host? The Golden Bachelor Season 1 host is Jesse Palmer, who was the Season 5 Bachelor in 2004 and was the youngest Bachelor in Bachelor Nation history at 24 years old. Jesse hosted his first Bachelor franchise show in 2022 with The Bachelor Season 26 with Clayton Echard. During The Bachelor Season 5 finale, Jesse gave his Final Rose to Jessica Bowlin, but didn’t propose to her. Jesse and Jessica continued to date, but ended their relationship a few weeks after the finale of their Bachelor Season aired. In June 2020, Jesse and his girlfriend, Emely Fardo, married in an intimate wedding in New York City. Jesse told Us Weekly in November 2021 that he and Emely planned to marry in Provence, France, before the current health crisis cancelled their wedding date. “We had originally planned a wedding in Provence, France, for summer 2020, which was postponed until summer of 2021 due to the pandemic, but we didn’t want to wait any longer,” he said at the time. “So, we had a small, private and intimate ceremony with close friends who lived in New York City.”
Jesse graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played football for the Florida Gators, in 2001 with a bachelor’s of arts degree in political science and a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing. After graduation, Jesse was drafted by the National Football League to play for the New York Giants. He played with the team for four seasons from 2001 to 2005 as a quarterback. After the New York Giants, Jesse was drafted by the Canadian Football League to play for the Montreal Alouettes. He played with the team until 2005 when he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers. He then resigned with the Montreal Alouettes in 2006 before he retired from football in 2007 to pursue a broadcasting career. Since his broadcasting career started, Jesse has worked with networks like Fox, NFL Network, ESPN, ABC and SEC Network. He’s also guest starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and made guest appearances on shows like Recipe to Riches and Good Morning America, and hosted the Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship and Holiday Baking Championship.
Jesse was announced as The Bachelor Season 26 host in September 2021. “For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” he said at the time. “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this Season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.” The announcement came after Chris Harrison, the former host of Bachelor Nation, confirmed in June 2021 that he had retired as the franchise’s host after 19 years. “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”
Deadline reported at the time that Chris received a mid-range, eight-figure settlement as part of exit plan with ABC, the network that airs the Bachelor franchise, and Warner Bros. Television, the company that produces the Bachelor shows. The magazine also reported that Harrison’s settlement included a nondisclosure agreement. Chris’ decision to retire as Bachelor Nation’s host came after he was slammed for his response to Season 25 Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racism scandal in February 2021. Rachael, the winner of Matt James’ season, faced backlash at the time when photos resurfaced of her at an Old South Antebellum-themed party at Georgia College in 2018. Before the pictures went viral, Rachael was already under controversy after her former high school classmate accused her on TikTok of bullying her and other students for dating Black men. Other TikTok users then exposed Rachael for liking social media photos of her friends in culturally insensitive costumes and with Confederate flags.
Chris came under controversy after he was interviewed about the scandal by Season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra. During the interview, Chris asked fans to give Rachael “grace” and explained that he didn’t find the Antebellum party photos offensive because they just looked like pictures a college student takes at a party. Harrison also questioned whether the photos would be considered racially insensitive in 2018 when they were taken. After the interview, many fans slammed Harrison and accused him of excusing Rachael’s behavior.
ABC confirmed in March 2021 that Chris wouldn’t host Season 17 of The Bachelorette and would be replaced by Tayshia and Kaitlyn. “Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of The Bachelorette,” ABC said in a statement at the time. “We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing. In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season. As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within The Bachelor franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.” He officially retired as the Bachelor Nation’s host in June 2021.
The Golden Bachelor airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Here’s how to watch it for free.
To get more of an inside scoop, check out Los Angeles Times writer Amy Kaufman’s book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, for a deep dive into the Bachelor franchise. The book uncovers the secrets of Bachelor Nation, from how much the Bachelor and the Bachelorette are paid to the rules contestants have to follow, that producers don’t want fans to know. It’s a must-read for any Bachelor Nation member.
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