Report: Golden Bachelor's secret history – from a shady LinkedIn résumé to hush-hush girlfriends

The Golden Bachelor ABC/Brian Bowen Smith
The Golden Bachelor ABC/Brian Bowen Smith
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Turns out Gerry Turner, the swoon-worthy, 72-year-old star of ABC’s “The Golden Bachelor,” isn’t as “golden” as fans have been led to believe.

In anticipation of the show’s finale on Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter released a deep dive into Turner’s past, revealing inconsistencies regarding his career and romantic relationships that allegedly took place shortly after his wife’s death. The self-described “hopeless romantic” quickly garnered public sympathy during the show’s first episode, when he tearfully spoke about Toni, his wife of 43 years, who died of an infection just one month after the pair moved to their dream retirement house on Big Long Lake in Hudson, Indiana.

Much of Turner’s story centered on the fact that Turner loved his wife both deeply and passionately — so much so, that he said he was incapable of being ready for a new relationship a year after his wife’s 2017 passing. “I mean, I haven’t dated in 45 years,” he told Entertainment Tonight.

The ladies competing for Turner’s heart on the show fell for him fast – as did viewers. Turner’s past and persona all seemed too good to be true. And although many hailed him as the quintessential “Perfect Man,” recent revelations suggest otherwise.

According to the report, Turner allegedly had a three-year-long relationship with an undisclosed woman (The Hollywood Reporter calls her “Carolyn”) just a month after his wife’s death. Carolyn (who requested not to be named to protect her privacy) is 14 years his junior and worked as a staff accountant at the Vera French Mental Health Center, where Turner was once employed as a maintenance man.  They reportedly dated for 10 months and then lived together for one year and nine months. One friend named Susan was shocked when on the show Turner claimed he hadn’t been kissed in six years: “And I’m like, what? He’s got to know that people are paying attention to this show. I’m just flabbergasted.”

Although Carolyn initially stayed mum about her past relationship with Turner, she decided to come forward with her story after seeing Turner pull similar shenanigans with the bachelorettes on live television.

“The idea that I’d go out with a recent widower just mortifies me,” Carolyn told THR. “I just really didn’t see it. Until I went back and looked at my text messages, I never realized Gerry’s texts had turned hot and heavy so relatively soon.”

In one exchange, Turner texted, “I got LUCKY when you first said you would go to dinner with me two weeks ago. I mean how often does an old geezer get the beautiful girl?” He later wrote to Carolyn, “You are the right woman for me. No need to look further.”

On Sept. 2, 2017, less than three months after Toni’s death, Turner texted Carolyn, “Damn, I go to bed at night thinking of you and wake up in the morning thinking of you.”

Those who watch “The Golden Bachelor” may recognize that infamous line. Turner recently said something similar to Leslie Fhima, the Minneapolis-based fitness instructor, who became one of Gerry’s two finalists: “I have to have you with my morning coffee, I have to have you when I go to bed at night,” told her in Costa Rica.

At the peak of Carolyn and Turner's relationship, the topic of marriage was floated, and she even changed jobs to be closer to him. However, things took a turn for the worse soon after. In October 2019 Carolyn claims Turner shamed her for putting on 10 pounds. After the breakup, Carolyn says she was was injured falling down the stairs, and Turner accused her of using the injury to lengthen her stay at his place. He eventually kicked her out, forcing her to check into a hotel.

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Turner’s dating history didn’t just include Carolyn, according to Heather Lanning-Adams, a waitress at The Shady Nook, a bar and restaurant located next door to Turner’s lake house who talked to the U.S. Sun.

“He dated a couple of women. They weren’t all long-term, but they . . .weren’t short-term either,” Lanning-Adams said.

In addition, The Hollywood Reporter found additional inconsistencies with his work history. The show describes Turner as a “retired restaurateur,” but that’s far from the actual truth.

A quick scan of his LinkedIn found that Turner last owned a restaurant in 1985, when he sold his Mr. Quick hamburger drive-in franchise in Iowa. He then held several sales and management positions in the meat business with undefined timelines.

Turner’s claim that he retired at the young age of 55 also doesn’t match up. He held several “post-retirement” positions, including installing hot tubs at Gannon Pools near Davenport, Iowa, and working as a maintenance man at the Vera French Mental Health Center.

The major bombshells couldn’t have come at a better time as Turner gears up to propose to one of his eager ladies. As for whether the finale will promise even more drama than expected . . . only time will tell.